Tweets in Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) have finally begun to roll out on mobile devices. The results of the deal Twitter struck with Google to include tweets in search results has finally begun to manifest itself publicly.
Twitter announced in a blog post last night that tweets would begin to appear for select search results within the Google App and the mobile web, with desktop search inclusion promised shortly. For now, this is strictly a US deal but more countries will be added in the coming months.
I, of course, took a quick look to give you some quick thoughts about how tweets are being displayed on mobile. Here’s what I found:
Use Images In Tweets
Now is a good time to start using images in your tweets, if you are not already. In this example of a #MadMen search, your eye is naturally drawn to the Vanity Fair tweet with the large image while the tweet next to it is far less prominent because it uses no image.
Tweets Indexed By Google In Real Time
You’ll see from this screenshot that the most recent tweet was timestamped with “14 secs ago.” While I didn’t conduct a scientific test, it does appear Google is indexing tweets in real-time.
We do know from the Google/Twitter deal that Google has indexed tweets in real time in the past, so the company is eminently capable of doing so technologically.
How Tweets In Google Searches Work
You can swipe through and read tweets in chronological order because they are rendered that way in a carousel format.
Tapping on the Twitter bird icon in the carousel will bring you directly to the tweet in question, tapping on the image will render the image in full screen mode within the Google app, and tapping on any links in a tweet will take you to the linked-to content.
This screenshot shows what the entire page of search results looks like for a search for Karwoski & Courage. As you can see, the Tweet Carousel appears at the bottom of the page.
Keep in mind that this is a personalized search result (note the Google+ posts), so results will differ. Search Engine Land reports that the Tweet Carousel may appear at the top, or even middle of the page of search results.
It seems logical that trending topics would get top placement and that brand searches would get bottom placement.
The global brand searches I conducted did not display a Tweet Carousel. The feature is not included by default in all brand searches. The frequency and recency of tweets from an account will likely play a role in whether tweets from that account is shown.
Mobile Voice Search
One thing you’ll need to think about is what are the likely keywords your target audience will be using in voice-activated searches, if you want to optimize your tweets for search inclusion on mobile. Google prompts you to use voice search on it’s mobile app with a prominent microphone icon:
I’ve been studying for years how social media contributes to search visibility and how search leverages social signals. This is another evolution of that dynamic.
I expect Google will use the data it collects about search engine users’ engagement with the new tweets in search feature to inform it’s overall algorithm in some fashion.
You’ll want to pay attention, as I alluded to above, to the growing use of voice search. Marketers will need to understand how users behave markedly differently when executing text searches as opposed to voice search.