Google starts ranking Twitter search results pages

  • 0
  • March 23, 2009
Patrick Altoft

Patrick Altoft

Director of Strategy

Over the last couple of weeks it appears that more and more Twitter search results pages have started ranking on Google for “news” type queries.

This is interesting because Twitter has made no efforts to ensure the search pages are SEO friendly and even goes as far as blocking Google from spidering the pages using robots.txt.

User-Agent: *
Disallow: /search
Disallow: /*?

Google has obviously decided, algorithmically or manually, that even thought they don’t know what content is on these Twitter pages they are probably high quality enough to warrant high rankings.

The screenshot below is from the “gaza” search result. You can see that Google isn’t spidering the page and therefore can’t generate much of a description or use the pages correct title.

Twitter Gaza

The actual pages are likely being discovered in two different ways. The first is via the usual link discovery method where Google spots lots of links to a page and ranks it based on link data.

The second method Google might be using is to generate the Twitter results pages themselves. If there is a particular keyword that Google wants more results for they can just plug that keyword into the Twitter search page and generate a brand new page to suit.

We know Google is filling in forms on thousands of websites every day to try and index the deep web so it comes as no surprise that they are doing the same with Twitter.

The only surprising thing is that Twitter is actually working against Google rather than embracing SEO and using it to build market share and perhaps even revenue.

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