I’ve just discovered what, at first glance, I thought was going to be a great way for digital marketers to claim even more SERP real estate — Twitter Collections. Have you heard of this yet? If you’re using Twitter Collections already, I’d love to hear some feedback!
Until now, Twitter timelines have been organized like this:
- Home contains Tweets from accounts you follow
- Search contains Tweets that match a keyword or phrase
- User timelines contain Tweets from a specific account
- Lists contain Tweets from groups of accounts
Now, according to Twitter, “Collections give you more control over how Tweets are organized and delivered on the Twitter platform.” Collections are public, can be embedded on your own site, and each collection has a unique URL on twitter.com that looks something like this:
Twitter says you can create pages for just about anything you like, such as:
- Sharing top Tweets on your favourite topics
- Host a Twitter Q&A and send people to your collection to follow along or get a recap
- Collect Tweets about a TV show or movie and let viewers watch your conversation in real-time
Setting up a collection page seems easy enough:
- Create the collection
- Give it a name
- Select which Tweets to add, either by hand or by using the API (as of today, they’re beta testing the API with select partners)
But here’s where I start to get a little suspicious…
If we’re talking about traditional SEO, we can help our pages rank for relevant search queries by first understanding how people are search for our products and services–this is, what keyword phrases are they typing in to Google’s search box, and what’s the intent behind that search. So theoretically, we should be able to apply that same knowledge to optimize collections pages on Twitter.
The difference, though, is that when we’re optimizing a regular web page, we take a whole bunch of things into consideration, including usability, headlines, calls to action, navigation, meta data, and so on. And when we’re writing the copy for a web page, we work very hard to provide value to the reader by offer useful content (which we also know that search engines love and rank higher).
So I did a little digging. In this sample collections page, I see a Title tag, but no meta description tag.
While meta descriptions have no SEO value, the do help you get that SERP click when properly crafted. So I did a Google search for “music superstars” and this is what I got:
This does NOT (imho) scream click me!
The other thing I can’t help but wonder is how quickly will these connection pages be abused by black-hat SEOs? Technically I could go out and create hundreds of collections pages in hopes of saturating the SERPs with my pages. Black hat SEOs love to use quantity over quality. And with search engines continuing to demand top-quality content, how will these pages fair when crawled by the engines?
Let’s say I have a collections page about pugs. By pulling in all tweets about pugs, then entire page will be loaded with #pug hashtags, quotes from famous pugs, pugs wearing sun glasses, videos of sleepy snoring pugs, etc. Pugs, pugs, pugs. Based on what we know about Google’s algo, won’t this page be seen as a keyword-stuffed, over-optimized mess of silliness? And won’t that trigger a low-quality alarm, plummeting the pug page out of the rankings?
Or … will Google’s renewed friendship with Twitter make them look the other way? Time will tell — and I’ll be watching.
I’d really love to hear some real life feedback, so don’t be shy! Tell me how your Twitter Collections are performing in the SERPs. In the meantime, I’m going to now go set up my own Twitter Collections page to do some live testing. Back with those results next week!
Since I first wrote this post, it seems a meta description tag has been added:
That said, I’m still not seeing it in the SERP:
I’ll continue to bring you updates as I see them!