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How Does Bing Rank Tweets?

Bing Tries to Bring Relevance Factor to Real-Time Search

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As previously reported, Microsoft has made deals with both Facebook and Twitter, which will see Bing feature updates from both networks in real-time search efforts. To me, this says that social media just became an even bigger part of search engine marketing, particularly with Google also on board with Twitter and rumored to be talking to Facebook.

Bing has already made a beta version of its Twitter search available to users at bing.com/twitter. The most interesting aspect of Bing’s Twitter search is that it offers something plain old Twitter Search (formerly Summize) doesn’t. That is a relevance factor (or at least an attempted relevance factor).

Twitter Search only shows you results displayed chronologically, which has really always seemed to be the essence of real-time search to me anyway. But Bing has a "Best Match" option, which attempts to give certain tweets more weight than others.

How do you put relevance on "real-time" results though? "Real-time" is based on time (obviously). The phrase even has the word "time" in it. A search for "WebProNews" on Bing’s Twitter Search gives me different results for "most recent" and for "best match". I can’t see that the "best match" results are any better than the "most recent" results, however.

Most recent results for WebProNews

Best Match results for WebProNews

The answer is: Bing weighs tweets by follower counts. "If someone has a lot of followers, his/her Tweet may get ranked higher," says Bing. "If a tweet is exactly the same as other Tweets, it will get ranked lower."

Sidenote: A commenter on this article made a point worth mentioning. What if a new Twitter user tweets about something highly relevant or important, but has not gotten many followers yet? That’s something to think about.

This is of course the earliest stage for any kind of algorithm Bing may have in place for its Twitter search feature. The feature is still in beta after all. It will be interesting to see if Microsoft makes more details available for how it ranks tweets moving forward. This could be a whole new nut to crack for SEOs. Consider that Bing results will be taking over for Yahoo if the Microsoft-Yahoo deal goes through (plus there is still Google’s Twitter results to worry about).

I’ll go out on a limb here either way, and suggest that providing good content will be the way to go moving forward. That will bring in followers, and probably do better for your relevance rankings in the future. That said, defining good content may be considered a little harder at 140 characters or less.

Related Articles:

Facebook/Twitter Use May Now Mean More for Google/Bing Rankings

Social Media Will Not Replace Search

Microsoft and Google Score Deals with Twitter

Don’t Lose Yahoo Traffic By Not Optimizing for Bing

Is ranking in search engines for Twitter results going to be a priority for you? Discuss here.

How Does Bing Rank Tweets?
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  • http://www.lexolutionit.com Maneet

    Hey.. This is interesting. But doesn’t the relevancy factor kill the essence of ‘real-time’? I mean what if a new Twitter user.. with a small following.. tweets important stuff? That will be totaly lost in search results.

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com Nick @ Brick Marketing

    Great information about how Bing ranks Tweets.

    I just referenced this blog post in my SEO blog at the following link:
    http://www.searchengineoptimizationjournal.com/2009/10/22/bing-search-twitter/

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/kanishmohan Kanish

    Hi Chris,

    Nice article. Thanks for posting!

    Will be interesting to follow how this partnership (social media and search engine) matures.

    http://www.linkedin.com/in/kanishmohan

  • http://www.sweetbusinesses.com Teasastips

    Great article. It gets anyone with social media intent thinking. The question becomes now, do I create tweets that are certain to get retweeted? Or do I try to become cutting edge, and blaze my own trail? Marketers now have a new set of variables guaranteed to enhance any marketing mix.

  • GoogleHearter

    If you type ‘twitter search’ into Google, the second link posted points directly to http://www.bing.com/twitter. If you search for the same thing using Bing, I still can’t find a link and I’ve looked about four pages deep. So much for stifling the competition!

  • http://note-news.blogspot.com/ Guest

    thanks for these important info
    i need it a lot

  • http://www.snerdey.com Snerdey

    Oh that was a red flag and someone overlooked something. Just because someone has 25,000 followers should not be the most important part of their measurements. There are just too many that use smoke and mirrors to get followers in 30 mins etc..

    Now, relevant and what the Twitter user account has is way more important..

    Are the followers relevant and if the following and followers are the same then what’s that tell you? Follow me I’ll follow you back. Why? I mean that does not make sense. A flock of followers that all relate would seam to be to have a more value to their tweets.

    What about the limit of 2,000 .. does that mean all the accounts grandfathered with larger numbers before the limit was set in place are all automatically higher in valued tweets?

    Oh.. the joy of the web :)

    Flock on over, Follow Snerdey
    http://www.twitter.com/snerdey

  • http://www.christssosoutreach.org Guest

    I dont think that it will be of any help if they add it to the seach engines. Most Tweets and stuff on face book is opinion or marketing attempts. I use the search engines to get information and if possible factual info not people’s opinions. I just dont see the value of adding tweets and facebook or othe social networking results to search engine results. I think they should make it a separate part of the search engines, that way if you are looking to find out what people are tweeting about or talking about on their facebook page you can access just that part. That way you will still get mostly good results from the searches you perform. I am a Google fan so I dont use Bing much at all, I did not like the results I got when I did try it. Google offered so much more in the results returns.

    Rose

    • http://www.toysonwheelsvariety.com Toy Man

      I totally agree with you. The social media marketing is taking over the factual info. Bing always brings up a bunch of nonsense and you have to go through pages just to find what you are looking for. I go back to Google and it gets me there right away.

    • http://www.pipthepip.com pips

      I too totally agree, this is gonna be a bad step for the SE’s, microsoft are just scurrying trying to find something to help out there weak ass bing, same as weak ass live and weak ass msn search, how long till it gets remarketed again under another useless name!

      Bing! Wrong results again.

      IMHO twitter is a pile of garbage. The problem is when garbage beomes the ‘in thing’ and has to be used accordingly for marketing.

      At least facebook has some real use (I hate it too mind) but it is what it is. Twitter is just pure marketing in a bag, from penny pickers to pop stars, I dont give a damn what your thinking, doing, thinking about doing, looking at, stuck at, why your bored.

      JEZZ give me a break from all this bs now controlling the web. And if not, please do not intergate it into the SEs so heavily, keep it seperate as the above poster suggests and leave it for those who want it.

    • http://www.signature.eu.com/website-design.html wed designer kent

      The majority of tweets are brief thoughts, comments in a texting style format. That’s what it’s primarily used for (they’ve taken the “what are you doing bit of facebook” and made an entire website out of it). OK nice idea, but why on earth would I want to search for it in a search engine. Search engines are already clogged with blog posts and directory listings, so I dpn’t really see the value for someone who’s searching for say “hotels in Kent” to see non relevant SERPS that devalues it, surely.

  • http://www.printingintegrations.com/solutions/solutions.html Guest

    I have been slowly seeing twitter pages show up in Google Searches with Search volumes over 1,000,000. They are showing up in top 10. Curious to see how google will change their algorithm to change these irrelevant searches from being highly ranked.

  • http://officialsafetyandsecurity.com Official Safety and Security

    I’ve been using social media for some time now to market my safety and security web site and raise awareness for its products. I think this is a good thing. Any way you look at it this will give those of us using social media to market our businesses greater exposure.

  • http://www.web-media.co.uk Rob Willox

    As a number of other commenters have highlighted there is a problem with relevancy and what it means for returned results.

    I don’t follow others because they have 1000′s of followers or follow 1000′s of others but how relevant their tweets have been relative to their bio and my own interests.

    If they start or continue to use no (#) of followers as one of the criteria in ranking tweets then I and I expect a good number of others will simply ignore them and a great opportunity will have been lost.

    It can only result in more *twam* (tweet spam) and it’s bad enough at the moment!

    There was a comedy in the UK back in the late 60′s (if memory serves, probably not) named Never mind the Quality, Feel the Width and that about sums it up!

    Search is about the quality not the width!

    • Bob

      I agree that relevance should be a matter of quality and not the number of followers one attracts. It is very hard to make a “relevant” statement that will be of some importance in 140 characters or less. Many ads of only a few words have a lot of small print to really explain their benefits and their limitations. We shouldn’t expect much of “tweeting” except a lot of “noise”, like a flock of birds in a tree.

  • http://www.lookman.co.uk Lookman

    This service is not available in the UK

  • http://www.ferreemoney.com Neil

    I Quit using those sites that grab Twitter Followers automatically

    I would rather have the 6500 followers I have now, than the 9500 followers I used to have, since the people in my social network are all “like minded” people vs. the generic send 99% junk people that I used to see in my Followers list.

    I suspect (and hope) the big search engines will create an algorithm that will be able to siphon out the API generated junk Tweets from the human generated tweets.

    This is why the Alexa score on Social Media Marketing Plus Site has gotten much better lately.

    • http://www.ferreemoney.com NEIL

      http://www.ferreemoney.com

      As a matter of fact, Bing is now my default search.

    • http://www.sauvage-feng-shui.com Vicki

      “I suspect (and hope) the big search engines will create an algorithm that will be able to siphon out the API generated junk Tweets from the human generated tweets.”

      What a fabulous idea – bring it on.
      Vicki

  • Liz

    At this point, I care less about rankings and more about how deep this search goes. Twitter search only goes back about 6 days and only has a user’s most recent 3200 Tweets available for viewing which, believe it or not, can only be a month’s worth of Tweets from some more active users.

    To be really valuable, Bing would need access to the 5 billion Tweets (reportedly) that have been posted but in my conversations, it is unclear to me whether even Twitter has ready access to messages in “storage”.

    Conversations move fast on Twitter and are often cyclical with some topics coming up over & over again. As a researcher, being able to see a logitudinal view of a conversation on a product or topic is more valuable than only being able to see what has been said (both the serious & trivial) over the past 6 days.

  • http://www.internet-pengar.se Internet Pengar

    The long-term statistics gathered from this will be interesting, seeing how #topics change over different hours of the day etc.

  • http://www.ellefagan.com Elle Smith Fagan

    Any data is valid for statistics and search manipulation, but is it a good idea?
    Cyberspace needs a really healthy range of things and not just one more ad SEO window.

    Elle Smith Fagan

  • http://www.internetbusinessesdirect.com Andre

    Does this relevancy not open the door for those generating advert based tweets to continually “spam’ the twitterverse with their sales message. Thereby generating interest via thier ranking tweets within the search results.

    • http://subliminalmentalperception.com Elly

      Twitter in my opinion is SPAM Universe! I’m sure it didn’t start off that way, but yet it’s very evident that this is what’s about to happen to them…

      What if you were able to gather a mass of followers by spamming the living sh*t out of people’s mailboxes until they sucumb to the spam pressure like mindless zombies and instead of deleting they join? I my self have received hundreds of spam emails asking me to join twitter and all the rest of social networking site that I have no interest in…even if it meant pushing my product and making money. I don’t need to join spam express to make spam money…I’m making a steady income…and if I decided to open up a twitter account just to pretend with empty emotionless texts here and there and finaly ultimately spam the shit out of twitter…what value am I bringing in then?

      Some one who has never visited twitter sees a spammer’s ad infested twitter page, will most likely have this impression of twitter for a good spell.

      No algorithms that I know of, can be able to decipher whether or not a person has achieved a high number of followers through spam or honest recruiting methods.

      I have my likes and dislikes about twitter…but the internet is now becoming more sales and affiliate push product oriented like never before…it’s so easy now to just build a website ugly or not, slap some google ads and sell products…this is what the internet is filled with now…and I predict it’s just going to increase because everyone is in need of money right now.

      With no real way to manage this growing trend, it will grow like wild weed until some one finds it ugly and cut it down. Metaphorically speaking.

      Such is life.

      Elly

      • http://www.webstar.com.my yurich

        Hi,

        Agreed. Didn’t see the benefit unless we, the internet users are still Kids below 10 years old.

        Designing website an trying to do business via website is getting squeeze by the “monster.”. An hence just paste google ads….to add colour to it.

        Yurich.

  • http://technology-web.blogspot.com/ William

    I Agree with your article Mr. Chris Crum

    Thanks

  • http://www.ioptimizemarketing.com Guest

    We are all making a lot of assumptions based on limited knowledge as to how Bing or Google will be reassessing their algos to accommodate “real-time” search. While Chis Crum makes this point, “Bing weighs tweets by follower counts,” he doesn’t back it up with any source document. While I agree that this could very well be the case, it is an assumption that needs to authenticated by the source.

    While I’m working on the development of a social media tool that helps create evangelists and buzz vis a vis Twitter and Facebook, I see this tool providing clients with an SEO advantage that heretofore they didn’t have, namely, the ability to have their ‘real-time’ messages blended into traditional SEO through increased linkbuilding. Others looking at this, might say the shortened URLs have no ability to pass strength. However, with bit.ly and some of the new shorteners, 301 directs are a permanent re-direct and search engine-friendly.

    Check out my blog on this topic and let me know your thoughts—> http://retwt.me/1jbsV

  • http://www.fortlaramierendezvous.com Guest

    Does your Firm either pay or compensate for requested opinions and/or feedback?

  • Guest

    Tweets are too short for relevancy. I can’t see that follower count would be of any use in finding information more useful. Date is always good. Other than that, forget it!

  • http://www.zuludigital.co.uk Zulu Digital

    As so many other people have said in response to this article, the potential for spamming is unbelievably high as a result of the simplistic algorithm Bing seems to be employing.

    I’d suggest that Bing should look to alter the algorithm in order to consider the ratio between the ‘Followers’ and ‘Following’ figures, rather than just basing the ranking of Tweets on the ‘Followers’ figure, as this article highlights: http://www.zuludigital.co.uk/blogs.php?id=45

  • http://www.becomeknown.co.uk James

    I agree that this very simple algo is very encouraging to spam and think this is one of the biggest challenges in real-time search. I can’t believe Bing are using the number of followers as a factor as this obviously encourages major spamming.

    Great article.

  • http://www.sweetbusinesses.com Teasastips

    I am going to have to play around more with my Tweets. Now you have to pick and choose your words carefully in order to get listed at the top of Bing. Its all about trends and what people are looking for. For Twitter to work successfully, you have to understand what people want. If you don’t have it, expect to be rejected quickly.

  • http://increasetargetedtraffictoyourwebsite.that-is-simple.com/IncreaseTargetedTraffictoYourWebsite/ Yevgeniy

    Ok… ) I mean thanks for help, that really makes sense.

  • http://www.photo-recovery-software.com/ photo recovery

    really a very good information.

  • http://www.redheadwriting.com Erika Napoletano

    I won’t follow you on Twitter just because you follow me. The grade school social media popularity contest is a total joke and Bing is saying that they’re rating followers like “backlinks” = more is better. This is the sheer antithesis of solid social media management skills and simply encourages poor use of the platforms. While this thing is still in beta, Bing should consider the effects their eventual weighting system will have on the platforms themselves. If Twitter & Facebook become (even moreso) overrun with spam and non-dialogue generating tactics, they could be killing the platforms they so desperately wanted access to. Put that in your multi-billion dollar pipe and smoke it.

  • http://www.gametou.com GametoU

    I’m really interesting this news.