Study: Why, When & How Often Google Indexes Individual Tweets

twitter-gears-machine-600

Figuring out when and why Google indexes a specific Tweet has long been a conundrum and point of angst for many SEOs. Of course Google does index Tweets, but the methodology has seemed like a total crapshoot — until now.

The good folks over at Stone Temple Consulting have attempted to crack the Twitter indexation case with a detailed report chronicling more than 19,000 Tweets and from selection of various sized accounts.

The study used the site search operator (site:) combined with the inurl operator (inurl:) to identify the number of status’ that were in fact indexed by Google. It should first be noted that while this is the only way to find indexation data without breaking Google TOS, it isn’t completely accurate. With that said, this is still a significant metric and it does power all these results. The study analyzed 963 Twitter accounts with various sizes of followers for each with the following breakdown in size:

  • More than 5M followers – 26 accounts
  • 3M to 5M followers – 9 accounts
  • 1M to 5M followers – 23 accounts
  • 500K to 1M followers – 20 accounts
  • 100K to 500K followers – 71 accounts
  • 10K to 100K followers – 199 accounts
  • Under 10k followers – 615 accounts

Again, this data is a bit skewed, with the main majority falling in the 0-10,000k followers category (which in and of itself is quite a chasm).

Twitter-Indexing-By-Day

With that said, what exactly does the data show? Well, first off, according to the site: searches, there are less than 1% of Tweets in the Google index. These numbers display a declining linear regression the longer they last with 1.82% of Tweets from June indexed and just 0.10% of Tweets from January 2012 indexed.

Furthermore, the survey shows that 3.12% of Tweets are indexed within a week. There was a slight uptick to 3.62% indexation for Tweets more than a week old, but this number is still quite low. The overall indexation of Tweets peaked a hair above 6.0% on week four, then began to plummet significantly dropping below 3% on week 5.

Follower-Count

The more interesting fact, however, was the data on indexation and follower count. The survey shows a strong correlation with indexation and a following of 1 million+. If you fell within the 10,000 & under follower group, there was a minuscule chance (0.22%) that your Tweets would be indexed.

However, those with more than one million followers saw anywhere from a 30% to a 50% indexation rate. The study shows more than a 3x indexation jump between those with more than 1 million followers (more than 30% indexation rate) and those from a half million to a million followers (under a 10% indexation rate). So having 1 million plus followers correlates with enhanced indexation.

So is Twitter the rapid source of news distribution? Well, not when it comes to Google Search. With less than 2% of Tweets indexed within a day, you’re still best to write up those articles for Google News if looking to capture the real-time market on Google Search.

Of course, if you are looking to gain more attention to your Tweets through the medium of Google Search you may want to get working on audience development so you can get to at least 1 million followers.

Stone Temple Consulting dives in much further including Tweets by Category, Authority indexation over time and a look at inbound links and Tweets. For the full report, please see the official Twitter indexation study.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: Social Search | Top News | Twitter

Sponsored


About The Author: is the Chief Marketing Officer for Cypress North, a company that specializes in social media and search marketing services and web-based application development. He has been in the Internet marketing industry for 6+ years and specializes in Social Media Marketing. You can also find Greg on Twitter (@gregfinn) or LinkedIn.

Connect with the author via: Email



SearchCap:

Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  

Share

Other ways to share:
 

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest

 
 

Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States

Europe

Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech


Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!

 


 

Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide