July 5, 2023 Update
Twitter is starting to bounce back.
According to data from Sistrix, Twitter’s visibility in Google search results increased by 18% over the last day. The boost happened right after Twitter stopped forcing people to log in to see tweets.
TechCrunch says Twitter quietly removed the login requirement. Now people can click on Twitter links in their browsers without having an account. Tweet previews have reappeared in apps like Slack, WhatsApp, and iMessage.
CEO Elon Musk temporarily implemented the login rule to stop data scraping. However, the rule unintentionally blocked Google’s search crawlers, and Twitter’s search visibility tanked.
While the situation could change, Twitter’s recent moves hint that it’s on the road to recovery.
The original story continues below.
According to multiple data analysis firms, Twitter is experiencing a significant decline in visibility on Google.
Data from Sistrix shows that Twitter’s search visibility decreased by 32% in the United States within a day.
Newzdash reported that Twitter lost between 12-14% of its visibility within Google’s search results across all News queries in the US and UK.
The drop followed recent actions taken by Twitter’s new owner and CEO, Elon Musk, to limit the number of tweets users could view in an attempt to address issues with data scraping.
The situation is still unfolding, and Twitter may be able to recover if it takes swift action to resolve the current issues.
Many experts call this one of the most significant self-inflicted SEO missteps in recent times.
To reduce data scraping, Musk announced a temporary limit on the number of tweets users could read per day.
Initially, the limits were set at 6,000 posts for verified accounts, 600 for unverified accounts, and 300 for new unverified accounts.
However, these limits were soon raised twice, ending at 10,000, 1,000, and 500 posts.
“Our intention is to address the issue of data scraping which has been affecting the real user experience,” Musk said in a statement. “Several hundred organizations have been accessing Twitter’s data, and we believe these measures are necessary.”
While Musk’s actions were intended to improve the user experience on Twitter, they affected the operations of Google search crawlers.
Data scraping and crawling are fundamental to how Google determines search rankings.
Google reads data from many URLs daily to keep its index up-to-date. The limits imposed by Musk obstruct Google’s ability to access Twitter, leading to a drop in search visibility.
As a result, Twitter’s content has become less likely to appear in Google Search for many keywords.
A Knockout Blow To Keyword Rankings
Ongoing analysis reveals that Twitter has lost nearly 60,000 keyword rankings from the top 10 positions of Google’s search results, based on preliminary data from the US market.
Sistrix reports that Twitter has lost crucial keywords including “ralphs,” “metropcs,” “roblox,” “reddit,” “indeed,” “white house,” “britney spears,” “steak n shake,” “kanye west,” “gm,” “lakers,” “pink,” “krispy kreme,” “colts,” “gmc,” “tennis,” “compass,” “lady,” “patriots,” and “transformers.”
Twitter lost its third position for the search term “yankees,” which sees a monthly click volume of 1.8 million in the US. The keyword, worth approximately 168k clicks per month, has now been snagged by espn.com.
Following Twitter’s drop in search visibility, its competitors have been making gains.
Domains like theguardian.com, cbssports.com, usnews.com, instagram.com, facebook.com, rottentomatoes.com, linkedin.com, spotify.com, and espn.com have improved search rankings,
In a 4th July update, Sistrix noted that the losses are continuing, with new data indicating that Twitter’s ranking for the keyword “trump” has vanished from the top 10.
Impact On Users
For a platform like Twitter, which is intertwined with real-time news and discussions, its standing in Google directly affects its ability to attract users and retain casual visitors.
If not addressed promptly, the current situation might have a long-term effect on Twitter’s growth and user engagement metrics.
Although users will be able to access Twitter directly, the drop in search visibility can affect how new content is discovered.
Users relying on Google to find tweets about particular topics, especially those associated with the lost keywords, may go elsewhere.
Prospective users who encounter Twitter content through search engines sometimes join the platform. The reduced visibility might make Twitter seem less relevant, potentially impacting its growth.
The extent of the fallout from this sudden decline in search visibility is yet to be understood. We can expect more data to shed light on this event in the coming days and weeks.
For now, it serves as a potent reminder of the relationship between search engines and social media platforms and how quickly things can go wrong.
Can Twitter Recover?
How Twitter and Google address this situation will determine how well the social media site recovers.
Google uses complex algorithms that consider a site’s history. Therefore, a prolonged decrease in visibility might make it harder for Twitter to regain lost rankings even after the issues are resolved.
However, the Internet ecosystem is dynamic and resilient. If Twitter resolves the issues impacting Google’s search crawlers, it could gradually return to where it was.
Twitter’s sharp drop in Google search visibility shows how interdependent major tech platforms have become and how quickly unintended consequences can arise from any company’s changes.
Keep in mind that the situation is ongoing and fluid. If Twitter and Google can address the root issues promptly, Twitter may regain much of its lost search visibility and limit the impact on its business and users.
However, more prolonged visibility issues could pose greater challenges.
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