This guest post was contributed by Christian Georgeou of Search Engine Watch, producers of the Search Engine Strategies San Jose Conference & Expo.
As Twitter has exploded onto the online scene, its search capabilities and usability has generated a constant hum of buzz in the search world, as on lookers try to gauge its implications for Google.
Albeit basic at its core thus far, searching keywords over the most recent user tweets, Twitter’s search has excited some as results are generated not from static sources but from fresh user–generated content. Twitter VP of Operations Santosh Jayaram has said that Twitter search will soon be crawling links and formulating ranks based off an algorithm.
A boon for small-business owners
Advances in Twitter’s search engine should have small and local business owners’ giddy with excitement as a powerful outlet to reach their local markets grows ever stronger. Michael Boland of Search Engine Watch in a recent article described how some local businesses are effectively using the service to gauge chatter about their products and market and to develop a focused following based on interested and/or geography.
With a more advanced search platform to work with, local businesses will be empowered with cleaner, more relevant search results (not lists of retweets). The new ranking algorithm also looks to go beyond just relevancy in search results to also measure user reputation and trends in topics. If successful, this will prove to be invaluable to businesses already focusing on brand building, and targeted behavioral marketing.
Shaping up to the competition
Boland does point out that Google spiders are quick to index new content, at a pace more than adequate for traditional product research. While Twitter’s search capabilities are still years away from those of major search engines of today, Twitter taps into a critical niche of trends as they happen. While traditional search engines index in hours, Twitter functions within minutes, capturing news in real time.
As our search habits evolve, it will be interesting to see if the direction user habits are adopting now will make Twitter search the future, or just one component of a larger world.
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