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Ranking Tweets: Google Says Reputation Analogous to Links

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Over at MIT's Technology Review, they have the goods on how Google ranks tweets. Ok, like your regular old organic results, they didn't learn the secret sauce. But they did get some good info on how you can optimize your Twitter account so your Tweets have a better chance of appearing in real-time search results.

Reputation is key. Who follows you determines reputation. If your followers have a lot of followers, that gives more authority to your tweets.

"You earn reputation, and then you give reputation. If lots of people follow you, and then you follow someone--then even though this [new person] does not have lots of followers," his tweet is deemed valuable because his followers are themselves followed widely, [Google Fellow] Amit Singhal says. It is "definitely, definitely" more than a popularity contest, he adds.
"One user following another in social media is analogous to one page linking to another on the Web. Both are a form of recommendation," Singhal says. "As high-quality pages link to another page on the Web, the quality of the linked-to page goes up. Likewise, in social media, as established users follow another user, the quality of the followed user goes up as well."

But Singhal also told Technology Review it's not a popularity contest. They also have to weed out the noise. Hashtags make that task difficult. And sorting through trending topics when so many people are Tweeting is a challenge, too.

Singhal pointed out that Twitter the only source of real-time information for Google. Sources such as blogs and news are also relevant and being weaved into the real-time search experience.

Takeaways:

1. Cultivate your following on Twitter.
2. Don't overdo the hashtag.
3. Be comprehensive in your real-time efforts. Don't just focus on Twitter.


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