goodroi - 11:41 am on May 26, 2011 (gmt 0)
I have noticed that Google is paying attention to url mentions in Twitter also. My analysis showed that Twitter was just a small part of a very big Google algorithm that looks at many different other elements.
You mention that Twitter is a geeky platform that doesn't give the real picture. According to Forbes, In early 2011 Twitter has about 200 million accounts & growing. Those accounts were generating 95 million tweets a day in December 2009. [blogs.forbes.com...]
When you are talking about hundreds of millions accounts and messages, I think it is safe to say Twitter is relatively mainstream. Especially when many of the top Twitter accounts belong to sports & movie celebrities. I don't think those celebrities are active on Twitter for the geeks.
Certain demographics of Twitter's user base may be skewed from the "real world" but there is still value in paying attention to Twitter signals. Google is doing what every webmaster should do. Google is evolving and seeking out new opportunities.
For over 10 years Google has used backlinks as a quality signal. It was simple and easy for webmasters to figure this out and abuse it. Now Google is augmenting the heavily manipulated backlink signal with new data that Google has gained by monitoring the 200 million Twitter accounts. Backlinks are so heavily abused there is a very large multi million dollar industry for selling paid links. I am not saying Twitter is 100% clean but it is much less abused than backlinks.
Using more data sources helps Google provide more current and fresh results while also giving them another quality signal to look at that hasn't been manipulated for over 10 years. I am curious why someone would think Google should ignore the 95 million daily messages being posted by 200 million users on Twitter.