As most of you probably know Bing and Google announced that they have finalized agreements with Twitter to begin incorporating Tweets into their search engine results. Everyone seems to be overjoyed and excited about this. Search engines are excited because they get access to the Twitter firehose and they can begin providing real time results in the SERPs. Twitter is happy because they are finally getting paid. Searchers are happy because they can now get real time results for queries that deserve it, like breaking news. Everyone seems to be overjoyed about the possibilities and I myself am very interested to see how this all plays out. I do have one concern and that is how are Bing and Google going to deal with the issue of spam when it comes to real time search via Twitter results?
Spam is Insidious and Prolific on Twitter
In some ways, Twitter is like the early days of the search engine. There is a lot of great information available but it is continually being overwhelmed by spam. Twitter has attempted to stay on top of the spam situation but they can only do so much and in most cases only catch it after the fact. The real time nature of Twitter means a spammer can send his/her message out all over the Twitters before anyone notices and by the time it is noticed and the spammer is removed the spammer has 1,000s more spam bots stepping in to continue the assault. Spamming Twitter is obviously profitable for some people otherwise they would not do it. Imagine how much more profitable it will be if those results end up filling up Google and Bing search results.
It Will Get Worse Before It Gets Better
The bigger Twitter spammers are probably salivating at the opportunity to get their crap out to more people via the major search engines. Couple that with the fact that there are probably a few ingenious spammers out there who have ignored Twitter until now. With the additional reach of Bing and Google these spammers will jump right in and the odds are high that we will see a surge in spam. There a lot of extremely smart people working at Google, Bing, and Twitter who I’m sure are thinking about this and developing a method to combat it. There are also some extremely smart spammers out there who are devising methods to exploit it. Let’s hope that Twitter, Bing, and Google are able to minimize the amount of spam showing up in the SERPs while still providing the benefits that real time search results can bring.
Twitter in the SERPs
There is a huge opportunity to improve SERPs with Twitter if it is done right. If Google does it better they will capture even more of the search market but if Bing is better they may be able to loosen Google’s grip on the search market. There are many different ways to incorporate the results but IMO the first step is to develop a method for removing the spam before worrying about how and when to deliver Twitter results. Whichever engine does this better is going have an advantage and will be able to experiment with Twitter results. The other is going to be fighting a losing battle to clean up their search results. I say good luck to Google and Bing, you’re going to need it.