It’s not very often that we have a social network keeping a feature quiet, but Twitter has recently made itself the exception. Apparently, searching for someone on Twitter isn’t as difficult as it sometimes seems because they actually have a user directory. The directory was said to have launched a few weeks ago, but the spokesperson from the network was vague and never really made a formal announcement. The question then remains: Why would Twitter not make a very publicized statement about something that can help users?
The answer likely has to do with the fact that this isn’t necessarily a feature for users, but rather an SEO play in order to help search engines such as Google and Bing find profiles easier and faster.
How The Twitter Directory Works for Users
Before really diving into the why, it’s important to understand how the directory works in case you do choose to take advantage. Essentially, the directory is simply a place where you can search for both public and private Twitter profiles. The results are alphabetized by the name (not username) of a Twitter account.
The tricky part about this new feature, however, is the idea that you have to be logged out in order to find the link as your very last option in the footer. For those of us who use Twitter often, it isn’t very often that we’re signed out of our accounts; thus making it seem as though SEO is the real driving force behind the change.
How the Twitter Directory Works for Twitter’s SEO
According to Search Engine Land, Twitter’s directory is following best SEO practices by showing no more than 100 profile links per page. This means that, in theory, this should be a good way for the network to help search engines index all of their millions of pages. However, because the directory has only been active for a few weeks, there is still a lot of time that needs to pass in order for us to determine whether or not the directory is actually working.
It’s also likely that Twitter has added this feature in order to grow their advertising revenue. After all, the more traffic from Google, the more page views, and the more valuable an ad space becomes.
In the end, Google and Twitter have had quite an interesting history, so it makes sense that something was going to be done sooner or later—not that Twitter really needs much more publicity.