How Does Bing Rank Tweets?
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.
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.
Is ranking in search engines for Twitter results going to be a priority for you? Discuss here.