Thursday: Why Twitter is so Valuable to Google

Mobile’s Great Expectations: Part 3, Implications for Search
April 14, 2009
Search Happenings
April 17, 2009 Thursday: Why Twitter is so Valuable to Google

Posted by Dan Malachowski, Product Marketing Manager (Search and Performance Media)

This is an extreme of example of something that happens every day on the major search engines and proves Twitter’s potential value to the search results page.  Last week, the Web was abuzz when Lawrence Kutner, Kal Penn’s character on “House,” was suddenly killed-off the show.  When Kutner died, “House” viewers turned to Google for answers.  In fact, 22 of the top 25 hottest keywords on Google the night the episode aired were related to Kutner’s death:

Google Trends Dominated By House Guy Dying Keywords

But all the people searching Google on these terms at this time weren’t getting the best user experience on the SERP.  The first page on Google contained no results relating to Kutner’s death:

Google SERP Showing Nothing About House Guy Dying While the Topic Was Hot

Over on Twitter’s real-time search results, it was a different story:

Twitter Search Showing Lots of House Guy Dying Results When it Happened

Google’s spiders are fast and within a couple hours Google had indexed and ranked blogs and other news stories about Kutner’s death.  But Google’s spiders weren’t fast enough to satisfy the massive searcher demand in the minutes directly after Kal Penn’s surprising exit.  Twitter on the Google SERP changes that.  Of course we wouldn’t want real-time results all the time on Google, but it’s easy to imagine a day when a slot on the SERP is reserved for the most current Twitter search result, perhaps posted just seconds ago.  Or maybe if Google (or another search engine) detects massive sudden demand around a group of terms like the “house kutner” terms, Twitter results could be fed into the top of the SERP.  This creates a better searcher experience and will likely grow share for whichever search engine could pull it off.

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