Search engine marketing and optimization types are all about finding the next big thing in online marketing to help their clients. And there is a juicy bit of gossip circulating right now about Twitter and Google. Well, maybe juicy is a bit strong. After all, it looks fairly obvious that search engine giant Google would be interested in Twitter – the hottest thing on the Web right now, at least according to some people.
The Toronto Star has been running endless "stories" on Twitter, many of which contain little more than a sampling of random tweets. The venerable Globe & Mail has been covering the same ground. All of this chatter about Twitter among the country's two biggest newspapers led to a rather humourous critique in Toronto weekly Eye Magazine, which is, coincidentally, owned by Torstar. But I digress. This is not the gossip I was referring to in the title of this article. For that story, you can refer to any one of about 400 Google News items.
Google and Twitter – Search Marketing Dream Come True?
By the time you read this, the dust may have settled on the whole Google / Twitter buyout question, but there are some interesting points being made about the value of Twitter as a search engine marketing tool.
Online Media Daily pointed out in an April 6, 2009 article that if Google purchased Twitter, it would be a great thing for search engine marketers. Online marketing experts note the importance of Twitter's real-time search capabilities. As one marketer notes in the article:
"Twitter Search has the potential to become a crucial tool for marketers in both understanding what's being said about their brands online, as well as for timely communication with their customers …. A Google acquisition would likely only accelerate its importance to marketers because Google can give Twitter what it most needsly right right now, which is the servers to power it, and a revenue model. "
Others disagree. While they do not rule out a potential partnership between Google and Twitter, they doubt that Google will cough up the big funds needed to purchase Twitter. For one thing, Twitter is seriously a threat to Google. For another, Google investors would need some serious proof that Twitter could generate revenue – the one failing of the microblogging site.
Many people have pointed out the similarities between Google's YouTube acquisition and rumors of a Twitter purchase. As Allen Weiner of Gartner notes on PC World:
"When Google bought YouTube, they did it because it was extremely popular, got tons of traffic and represented this new trend of video hosting and sharing. .Does Google really want to spend another huge amount of money on another extremely popular service that has not figured out a way to make money? I do not see it happening. "
The lack of a revenue model is a double-edged sword for Twitter. While it makes the site less desirable for potential acquisition – allowing the company to be choosy about a buyer – it also places downwards pressure on the selling price, if anyone does decide to make an offer, according to Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities Research, as quoted in the Online Media Daily article.
Whatever the final result, Twitter is making its presence felt as a search engine marketing tool. Whether it is used to build links as part of a search engine optimization strategy, or for market research, Twitter is having a tremendous impact on companies' marketing plans. If Twitter does find a revenue model, you can bet that search engine marketing companies will be the first to capitalize on it.
Keep your eyes on this story and the two players involved. The world of search engine marketing could get a lot more interesting.