While answering a series of questions regarding Social Media “defense” during a panel discussion at Blog Indiana 2009, Chris Brogan quipped that it would be some time before people will have to “weaponize” their tweets. The quote earned quite the laughter back in Augusts 2009, but with Google continuing to augment their integration into social media platforms with offerings including Caffeine, real time results, and now with their social circle and content that was just launched in Beta – signifying that Twitter results are here to stay for awhile in our SERPs – should we be preparing for the greatest Twitter spam offensive since the Fling.com assault of Summer ’09?
Before I begin, I will point out that Chris Brogan also said, “there’s a difference between being transparent and being naked.” And I point this out now, not because I was the one that was asking those questions at the event, but because I’m starting to wonder if Google ever considered this advice.
In their rush to get real time hashtags scrolling on the first page of SERPs last fall, I questioned whether or not the kings of search considered what kinds of results were going to start being displayed on targeted keywords. When the social feeds were first updated, I watched all sorts of crazy stuff scrolling on the first page of Google. I think I even saw spammer drool on some of them. Finally, spammers could have free reign of page one SERPs thanks to Twitter with just a fraction of the effort it normally took (and the dofollow blogs rejoiced). All one has to do had frequently tweet with the coveted hashtags and you can stay up there for moments at a time. I was watching the results on the day “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” was released on DVD.
It was amazing they way adult spammers could tweak a phrase that included Hogwarts, Harry, and Hermione. Hair-raising. And they were making to page one.
And the pattern repeats
Sadly, the technique is still available. For example, I spammed the term #SEO during the writing of this just to take the snapshot.
But Who Searches with a “#”
First skeptics like @Ripsup will point out that I spammed “#SEO” and not “SEO” and that not many searches start with a hashtag, but as Google continues to integrate the social components into the user’s overall experience, expect the trend of searches with hashtags to increase significantly.
Of course there’s studies on this
And the studies have already been conducted to show that Social Media Marketing Companies are already integrating twitter keyword strategies into their overall plan. Which only means they’re behind the spammers who’ve “wised-up” and became better at feigning engagement so they could prey on these hashtag searches like lions at the watering holes.
No, wait, they’re just affiliate marketers (just kidding).
But until Google decides to try to hybrid the real-time data of Twitter with an element of trust similar to when blog posts, news articles, and videos get features in SERPs, businesses might as well clean the rifles, kick the tires, and light the fires.
Tweets are becoming evermore a dangerous weapon.
Yahoo! keeping a few steps behind
“Thank you” to my Flickr account for helping me to stumble upon this: In case you missed it, and judging from the market share, you have – Yahoo! offers you a chance to preview more and more non-Yahoo! sites on “Your New Homepage.” Facebook, Twitter, Boing-Boing, even, gasp, GMail. Suprisingly, there was a site in there I couldn’t add – if only I could have Googled it from there…
So, I figure in about 5 months they’ll start pulling results out of my network on these sites and give me results.
And the pattern will repeat, coming full (social) circle.
What trends have you noticed in the Google social updates?