Twitter’s chief financial officer Anthony Noto at its Twitter Analyst Day today reassured analysts that the social network has room for growth in the future, with one of the strategies being to generate more search engine optimization traffic from Google. The strategy is somewhat ironic, given that Twitter had one of the best SEO partnerships with Google until the deal fell apart around three years ago.
Twitter and Google reached an agreement in October 2009 for the social network to provide the search company with live tweets to be shown in Google’s Real Time Search service. Google had access to all tweets in real-time and would display them near the top of search results, and the search company even began displaying Twitter’s paid ads in what was an unprecedented and unrepeated move.
“By December 2009, Google had used the Twitter Firehose as the core of a new service called Google Real Time Search,” reports Marketing Land. “It was unveiled with great fanfare, through a special event. While Google Real Time Search included social updates from other services, Twitter’s content was the star. Anyone using the service got lots of links leading to Twitter. Also, Twitter’s content got featured within regular Google results, as well.”
For reasons largely unknown, the Twitter-Google romance fell apart by July 2011 and Twitter suffered a drop in search visibility and generated less traffic as a result. Google executives have also suggested that Twitter has outright blocked Google from crawling its social network, which makes it even more ironic given that Twitter is now looking for more search engine visibility as a growth strategy.
This time around, it looks like Twitter will have to go down the regular path of stepping up its SEO efforts. If the social network wants its so-called “firehose” deal back, the report claims it’ll likely have to offer up its tweets for free.
“Ultimately, if Twitter wants more Google traffic, restoring firehose access would be the way to go. But while Google once paid for this, after years of living successfully without it, I suspect it would feel like that’s something Twitter should just provide for free — especially if Twitter is now considering free traffic from Google to be more valuable.”