Twitter can be an important part of a business’s social media strategy and help bring in quality traffic to websites. In recent weeks, Twitter has made a few changes that may impact how you use the site. Let’s take a look.
This update allows tweets and hashtags to be crawled by search engines. Twitter says, “This change will help people find popular and helpful Twitter pages, such as the #olympics hashtag page.” This will be particularly useful for those following major events at home and abroad. At the same time, though, it is interesting to note that Google routinely tells websites not to do this, and that it does not want to display search results within its own results.
An agreement between the two sites in which Google allowed Twitter content to appear real-time in their results ended in July 2011. Since then, relations between Google and Twitter have been strained as Google accuses the social media site of turning off the ‘firehouse’ of Twitter information, with Twitter countering that Google favors its own social content.
According to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, though: “Use robots.txt to prevent crawling of search results pages or other auto-generated pages that don’t add much value for users coming from search engines.” Presumably Twitter feels as though these results do add value. Whether Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other engines index them is another story.
With the update to the robots.txt file, Twitter disallowed search engines from indexing user profiles. A new update changes this, Twitter says, to “help people find the accounts they’re looking for with various search engines.” If the account is protected, you won’t be able to see the tweets, though you can click through to the profile.
The profile directory has been live for a few weeks and is aimed at capturing more search engine traffic.
New Profile Look
Twitter also unveiled a new, more graphic, interface. CEO Dick Costolo says, “What we’ve heard over and over again from our users is that they want to bring more of their personality to their profile pages. Today’s changes are all about bringing that personality forward.” Profiles have a main image, on which their handle, account name, and a description are displayed, and it does add a more unique look and feel to pages.