David Amerland

Intentional by David Amerland

social media network

  • How Your Twitter Activity Helps Your Visibility in Semantic Search

    How Tweets Help Your Visibility in Google Search


    The question as to whether a strong social signal helps your website rank in search has been at the very top of the questions asked around semantic search. While the intuitive answer is that “yes, social signals should play a role” there are some practical considerations that prevent that from happening and which Google’s Matt Cutts addressed in a short video in January 2014: 


    Matt’s explanations feed directly into what Google representatives have repeatedly said, at conferences I have been present at where they have explained that social signals are “dirty signals” and “weak” at best because Google hasn’t got sufficient access or cannot always fathom the intent of the posts it crawls. 

    Incidentally, in the video above Matt talks about semantic search’s ability to extract a person’s identity from their social network profiles even when no real name or apparently other identifying information is mentioned. 

    While social signals ‘weak’ or otherwise are not a ranking factor that does not mean they do not impact on search and do not help raise visibility both of personal profiles and the websites associated with them. 

    One way Google might do it is through the use of machine learning applying algorithms to Twitter that operate under the premise of not-so-distant supervision. 

    For the record, unsupervised indexing of Tweets leads to the accumulation of errors that eventually deprecate the indexing record. Supervised indexing, where human testers actively sample and correct the tagging of the indexed corpus is also not without problems as incorrect assumptions, human error and even false positive taggings lead to drops in accuracy. 

    Google’s proposed approach of “adapting taggers to Twitter with not-so-distant supervision”  takes a hybrid approach that appears to resolve the majority of problems associated with correctly understanding what a Tweet means and how important it is in relation to other things happening on the web. A “tag” is a piece of metadata that allows an indexing bot to correctly label a Tweet so that it can be incorporated into Google’s semantic index. 

    As Google’s own researchers say this is far from easy: “The challenges include dealing with variations in spelling, specific conventions for commenting and retweeting, frequent use of abbreviations and emoticons, non-standard syntax, fragmented or mixed language, etc.” add to this the fact that the 140-character limit, of necessity, creates a homogenous nature to Twitter that makes it hard to separate one Tweet from another in terms of structure and you can begin to see the scope of the challenge.

    How Semantic Search Indexes Tweets

    Google can get round all these issues by using its superior computer processing power and search to perform a number of tasks: 

    • Analysis of a Tweet in relation to similarly structured search queries
    • Analysis of a Tweet in relation to accelerating content across the web
    • Analysis of a Tweet in relation to lexical content found on the website(s) a Tweet links to
    • Analysis of the website(s) a Tweet points to
    • Correlation of search queries and associated snippets provided by the search engine with the Tweet lexical structure
    • Assessment of Click-Through-Rate (CTR) data on specific search queries as a qualitative guide to creating a tag library that can be applied to Tweet indexing
    • Extraction of entities in Tweets and matching with known entities indexed
    • Analysis of the Tweet in relation to other Tweets of a similar or directly tangential nature trending across Twitter

    In other words it is a little like rocket science.

    What Do You Need to Do?

    If you are serious about leveraging your Twitter presence to gain in semantic search here is what you had to do: 

    • When you Tweet link to a URL on your site (or a site relevant to your Tweet)
    • Ensure that at least 20% of your Tweets contain a URL leading to a specific page on your website
    • Make sure the page you Tweet contains sufficient information to allow Google to accurately determine the intent of the Tweet
    • Use language in your Tweet that is reflected in the content of the URL you point to
    • Because of the way Tweets can be semantically indexed, Twitter is now more closely linked to search than ever. Tweet snippets that could potentially come up in search.
    • Frame your Tweets with at least some correlation to potential search queries
    • Avoid using syntax in your Tweets that is unusual or hard to fathom
    • Create domain authority in your Twitter account by weighing your Tweets with content specific to your expertise
    • Make sure that your Tweet and website page have at least one matching word that is not a stopword
    • Do not link Tweets to your website’s Home Page, it is always discounted by Google’s indexing 


    While social signals do not directly act as a ranking signal in search, a strong social signal helps Google establish confidence in its indexing of websites which then does lead to higher visibility in search. Its indexing also allows it to pinpoint what the website does, increasing Google’s understanding of its differentiation from other websites which leads to more accurate matching of website content and search queries input in Google search. 

    A robust, carefully crafted Twitter presence can significantly aid your visibility in search by helping define your website’s relevance.


    Adapting taggers to Twitter with not-so-distant supervision (Google Research)
    Simple and knowledge-intensive generative model for entity recognition (Microsoft Research)

  • Network

    Network effect
  • Nine Ways Facebook Betrayed Our Trust

    Nine ways facebook betrayed our Trust

    Facebook opened to the public on September 6, 2006 creating the world’s first popular social network and, in the process, changing the online, personal contact experience forever. Facebook gave us the first truly sticky website, it created the first matrix of social interconnections with its Social Graph and it became the reason social media marketing became what it currently is.

  • Personal Data, Self-Gain and Social Networks

    Personal data, value and social networks

    It’s Monday morning and here I am, my thoughts and ideas being put together and shared for free. Why not? You may well ask. Why should this not be so? And I have a couple of answers there that might interest you. The first one is very much a 21st century, co-creationist, open-minded one: I think that the traditional way we calculate value is narrow-minded and outdated and we really ought to find fresh ways to do it. Ways that empower not just ourselves but those around us. This builds relationships (even if we are not aware of it), creates connections, unleashes the power of shared information and the shareability of its results and creates a fluid, evolving matrix that makes us all smarter, more capable and better informed than ever before in history.

  • Social Media

    Social Media
  • Social Media Trustworthy Factors

    The trust we place in beards 
    Next time you want to fast-track the trust of the members of a social network I’d advise you to invest on a beard. Grown, glued or photoshopped, a beard apparently has the magical ability to increase your trustworthiness quotient (QT) by several notches at once.

  • Sunday Read

    The Sunday Read Start
  • The Challenge Of The Changing Face Of The Web

    End of the Sunday Read (and why)
  • The Death Of Social Media Networks

    The Death of Social Media Networks