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Search Engine Land » SEO » Twitter didn’t just block unregistered users, it blocked Google Search
In the past few days, Google Search has dropped over half of the indexed URLs from Twitter from the Google Search index. This was done after Twitter added a “feature” on Friday afternoon only to display tweets to signed-in and registered users; also, the throttling going on at Twitter right now is probably not helping.
Last I checked, it looks like Twitter went from 471 million tweets indexed by Google to 180 million tweets indexed by Google. That is a 62% drop in index saturation by Google of Twitter.com.
Index count dropping. On Friday, right shortly after Twitter blocked unregistered users from seeing public tweets, I took a screenshot of a site command in Google Search for Twitter. While we all know Google site commands are by far not accurate, the downward trend of indexed URLs is very clear.
Here is that screenshot showing 471 million results in Google’s index from Twitter.com:
I did the same site command right before writing this story and I now see 180 million results in Google’s index from Twitter.com:
Don’t trust the site command? Glenn Gabe shared a screenshot on Twitter of third-party tool, Semrush, showing Twitter’s visibility dropping in Google Search:
Firehose. Let’s not forget that Google Search can still show new tweets from Twitter in Google Search. Google has a long-standing deal with Twitter for its firehose. That is why when you do some Google Searches, you can still see the Twitter carousel for some queries.
Here is what that can look like:
Old tweets. But the old tweets seem to be dropping out and gradually finding its way out of the core Google web search index. So that means less visibility for Twitter in Google Search, it means less access to searchers and journalists finding content on Twitter and I guess overall less ad impressions for Twitter’s platform.
Why we care. If you have a brand that relies a lot on Twitter and the visibility those tweets get in Google Search, that may be impacted, especially if that visibility is from older tweets. Also, some older tweets that may have ranked well in Google Search, may no longer be ranking too well right now.
It is unclear if Twitter will reverse course on this decision or decide to use the supported markup for paywalled content, which should help the content stay indexed by Google Search.
Right now, Twitter seems to be a bit of a mess, for many reasons.
Postscript. A few days later, Twitter implemented some SEO changes that showed the content from tweets to both Google and users, but overlayed a modal asking users to register. This allowed Google to regain access to the content for indexing and search ranking purposes.
With these changes, Twitter is now recovering and showing up more often in the Google search results.
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