Earlier this year it was announced Google regained access to Twitter’s firehose of data, and would once again start indexing tweets in real-time. Now that some time has passed, all tweets should be searchable in Google’s index by now, right?
Well let’s take a look at the progress Google has made in returning tweets to organic search results. Stone Temple Consulting (STC) recently published a study showing Google has indexed only 3.4% of tweets, meaning 96% of all tweets are not indexed in Google right now.
Technically that amounts to a 466% increase compared to the 0.6% of tweets in Google’s index before its partnership with Twitter came into effect. There’s still a long way to go before all tweets are included in Google’s index.
Why aren’t all tweets indexed? STC’s Eric Enge suggests it could be because Google is still testing its indexation of tweets and making adjustments before indexing all tweets.
Another possible explanation is that indexing all of the world’s tweets is simply too great a task to do all at once, even for Google.
The amount of tweets in Google’s index will likely expand over time. Enge suggests Google may be looking for a more effective way to use Twitter’s data before ramping up its indexation efforts.
Priority Indexing for Accounts With Large Followings?
Another observation in this study is the correlation between amount of indexed tweets and follower counts.
“Both February and June [numbers] show a strong bias towards indexing content tweeted by people with larger follower counts,” Enge says in the study.
This could indicate Google is trying to get tweets from authority figures indexed first, or it could be just an interesting coincidence.
However Google is indexing tweets, one thing that’s clear from this study is it’s being done gradually. Even the largest search engine in the world has its limits, and it may be a while before all tweets are searchable in Google’s index.