There has recently been some interesting news that has dropped on the international front regarding search engine optimization and social media. Russian search engine and purported Google rival Yandex announced a partnership with the social media site Twitter that would allow public posts from the micro-blogging site to be included in Yandex’s Blog Search results.
This partnership comes on the heels of a public disagreement between Google and Twitter over the search-ability of the latter’s Tweets within the international search engine. Tensions rose when Google released its new “Search Plus Your World” in January 2012, which focused on enhancing the search engine experience for users by integrating Google+ updates into Google search results.
In effect, however, this meant that Google+ pages for businesses and individuals were promoted to the top of search results, regardless of their true authority or SEO value. Twitter handles, on the other hand, appeared much lower down on the list of results. This outraged Twitter, with the company releasing a statement that criticized Google for these changes. The company emphasized the point that Twitter was a primary source of news and information on the web, often breaking news before many major media outlets. Google’s exclusion of public Tweets was counterintuitive to its mission in helping people find information that they are looking for.
Google’s response to Twitter’s statement included two main points. The first was that Google had never in its history indexed the “@” in its search results. This means that, whenever people submitted queries in the “@” format, they were not immediately led to the appropriate Twitter handles. Google’s second point was that Twitter did not renew an agreement with Google that gave the search engine access to internal data of the social media site that would allow it to index public tweets. The agreement expired in July 2011.
Yandex will be going the opposite route by tailoring its Blog Search engine to indexing public tweets. Users can search by username and hashtag, and in multiple languages ranging from Russian to Kazakh. In its press release about the partnership, Yandex acknowledged the importance of Twitter to spreading important news about and to people everywhere. Whether Google decides to place a higher importance on Twitter over its own Google+ in its search engine is yet to be seen.