Both Google and Bing have announced agreements with Twitter this week to ensure Twitter updates are included in their search results.
This is a significant step for the major search engines, because it means users are closer than ever to experiencing real time search. From Bing’s announcement:
“The idea of accessing data in real time has been an elusive goal in the world of search. Web indexes in search engines update at pretty amazing rates, given what it takes to crawl the entire web and index it for searching, but getting that to “real time” has been challenging.
The explosive popularity of Twitter is the best example of this opportunity. Twitter is producing millions of tweets every minute on every subject you can imagine… Search needs to keep up.”
How fresh and relevant the Twitter search functionality will be remains to be seen, but as Danny Sullivan points out in his post today, Twitter’s own tweet search is a lot fresher than the tweets that the search engines are currently dishing up, so they have a long way to go.
What’s more interesting to me about the Twitter search deals is how it will impact SEO. Webmasters will start using Twitter to get their freshest site content indexed by the search engines. Companies that haven’t created Twitter profiles to date may find themselves outranked by their competitors who do.
I’d also expect to see a lot more Twitter spam as people start to realize that tweeting is a fast ticket to the top of the search results. Hopefully the search engines will be able to react to this with some hefty spam filters.