The Twitter Search Landscape

Twitter reports serving 19 billion searches per month, and that doesn’t even count Twitter-powered searches at the major search engines of Google, Yahoo and Bing. Where are all those searches happening? Who are the big players in Twitter search?

No one really knows so far, which makes life tough for search marketers trying to decide where to begin with this growing market. But a good starting point is always traffic. Those with the most traffic usually deserve the most attention from marketers.

So below, my top list of Twitter search services to watch, listed in order of what I guess are most likely to send traffic to web sites. For each, I list how the editorial results are ranked, where ads come from (if any) plus some additional information that may be relevant.

Guess? Yes, at the moment, that’s the best I can do. We just don’t have good third party metrics yet. Google is obvious. Tweets get displayed right within some “regular” search results. Bing is moving this way, as well. Yahoo’s supposed to do this, but things seem so confused over there that I’ve tucked them at the bottom of the list. Twitter’s own properties seem important to watch. After that, I’ve listed some popular Twitter clients that have good usage, followed by a few third-party Twitter search tools.

Be sure to also see the important companion piece to this article, The Twitter Search Revolution: Popular & Promoted Tweets Mature The Service. It explains more about how the Twitter search space is shifting significantly to provide better relevance ranking as well as the inclusion of ads. Things like “Promoted Tweets” and “Popular Tweets” and “pure” Twitter search are all explained in that article.


Twitter Search



  • Editorial Results: Pure Twitter, ranked by time.
  • Ads: None (coming from TweetUp in near future)
  • More Info: A popular Twitter client. TweetDeck also has a “TweetDeck Recommends” column of tweets that shows by default. Unclear if these are editorial picks, paid ads or both.


  • Editorial Results: Pure Twitter, ranked by time.
  • Ads: None (coming from TweetUp in near future)
  • More Info: Makes a variety of popular Twitter clients on a range of platforms.


  • Editorial Results: Pure Twitter, ranked by time.
  • Ads: None (probably from Twitter in future)
  • More Info: Popular iPhone and desktop client recenly purchased by Twitter.


  • Editorial Results: Pure Twitter, ranked by time.
  • Ads: None
  • More Info: Popular Twitter client. HootSuite also has a “Featured Tweeps” column that shows by default, with no information on whether these are ads, editorial picks or both.


  • Editorial Results: Twitter mixed with other sources, focus on showing recent top shared links
  • Ads: Sold directly by OneRiot


  • Editorial Results: Pure Twitter, ranked by relevancy over past day, by default. “Featured Tweet,” an editorial pick, appears at top of list.
  • Ads: None


  • Editorial Results: Twitter mixed with other sources, ranked by time
  • Ads: None


  • Editorial Results: Pure Twitter, sorted by most relevant tweets over past three days (but still largely most recent tweets first)
  • Ads: None


Related Topics: Channel: Social | Features: Analysis | Search Engines: Real Time Search | Twitter


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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