In the May 2009, many digital marketing professionals thought that Twitter would end Google’s reign. However, a year later in 2010, Google ended such speculation by announcing that it had partnered with Twitter to include real-time tweets in its search results. Initially, it was believed that unless Twitter developed a system for cleaning up spam on its network, it could not possibly threaten Google. This was because the main USP of the Google is its ability to deliver relevant, high quality results for different search terms. Though these results were not completely spam-free, they were much better than the results provided by other search engines.
According to a Internet marketing article published in 2010 by Technology Review, Google equates a user following another user on a social networking website, to one web page adding a link to another on the Internet. Just as the value of a page increases when a highly-ranked page links to it, the quality of a user goes up if a more established user begins following him. Does this mean that getting more Twitter followers is the same as the common digital marketing strategy of collecting more incoming links?
No, not quite. Collecting followers on Twitter is one of the easiest things to spam. There are many tools out there that will follow users, based on specified digital marketing keywords. Most users, who are followed on Twitter, will usually return to the favour by following the follower. Once a digital marketing brand gets a ton of followers using such a tool, it is quite simple to unfollow a majority of these users with applications like ManageTwitter. Additionally, the brands could also get profile names which include a targeted digital marketing keyword, and also create other profiles having that same keyword.
The only way for Google to beat this is to modify their search engine algorithm to weed out profiles that do reciprocal social media following, similar to reciprocal link building. Another related issue is the importance of social search. Digital marketing pundits are always saying that people are more likely to trust the advice given by their friends, rather than Google’s search results. Theoretically, this may be true, but in the actual practice, it is not so. In fact, most users begin to follow others simply because of a single smart tweet. They do not really know the person they are following or value their opinion.