For those of us that rely on social networking sites for marketing your websites, products, services and brand names Twitter can obviously be a benefit. While not for everyone, Twitter has grown in leaps and bounds over the years and today is at the pinnacle of social networks on the web. While Twitter can seem like it moves at a million miles per hour and be a little (or a lot) constricting with its 140 word text microblog limit, for those that learn and become adept at using Twitter, it can offer a huge advantage that can definitely give you a great return on your investment. If you use Twitter seldom, regularly, or consider yourself a power user, you should know that Twitter recently rolled out a revamped version of its website to users in the United States (as well as around the world).
The Biggest Change Since Twitter Began
It should be noted that the new roll which went live in September is the biggest change to Twitter since its inception. In fact, a lot of the changes aren’t just cosmetic, they are in effect a way to help keep up with demand from their mobile users. Since this year, use has doubled year on year. In fact, it’s not uncommon for there to be 90 million tweets or more each and every day. But the big change to Twitter is in its mobile users. Fueled by the incredible growth in the smartphone market, mobile device use is up over 250% over last year. With a user base of over 145 million people, a large amount are now creating their Twitter account using a mobile device- about 16% on average according to Twitter.com. With so much growth in use and with the types of technology shifting to access this site, you can easily understand why Twitter.com was ripe for an overhaul. Regarding the overhaul, while it may sound like Twitter completely gutted their site, the changes have actually worked in the users favor – Twitter is still incredibly easy and very efficient to use.
The New Roll Out of Twitter Home and Profile Page
So, what’s new with Twitter? A few interesting additions about the new roll out that are quite exciting is the addition of some new functionality and making it even easier to stay on Twitter without having to click off the site to experience media. The user’s homepage is now streamlined to include a dual screen. The left part of the screen focuses on your tweets and includes your tweet box where you type in your tweets, your timeline which includes the posts from those that you follow. On the right side of the page, you’ll find mostly technical information which is easily accessed or viewed including the amount of people that you follow, your followers, trends etc. Similarly, when you are on your profile page you will see your own tweets on the right hand side and technical info will continue to be on the left.
In addition to the timeline tab being on the right hand side in both the user’s home page and profile page, next to the timeline tab you will also see other tabs including @mentions (a quick way to view who has mentioned you), retweets (you can use the drop down box to choose retweets by others, retweets by you and your tweets retweeted. The other two tabs include searches (you can save recent searches) and lists (where you can create a list or see which lists follow your account.
Main Features of the Roll Out
- Embedded Video- One of the main reasons for the new look on the user’s home and profile pages was the addition of the new media support. If you remember, the page width was much thinner, but now with the addition of media support, the wider page makes it easy and to view media including videos from a wide range of providers including YouTube, Justin.TV, Twitgoo, TwitPic, TwitVid, Flickr, Vimeo and more. Just click on the video link and you will see the video box open up seamlessly to the right side of the screen where it can be played. In fact, with 25% (according to Twitter.com) of tweets containing links to a wide range of multimedia type sites, it is no wonder that this feature didn’t come sooner.
- Easy to View Images- It should also be noted that you can now easily view images as well by clicking on any link and having the picture be viewed on the right hand side of the page.
- Easy to Follow Content- Whether you click on a person’s profile or tweets, you will see that the connected content shows up on the right hand side, making it easier than ever to view additional information that is related to a user or subject. What kind of related content will you be able to see? Well it all depends, you may simply see replies, a list of tweets by the user and for those that are into geo-tagging, even a map of where a tweet was sent from.
- Continuous Scrolling- Before the roll out, only a limited number of tweets were shown on a page, now you can easily scroll down to view a continuous list of tweets- the next button was removed so you no longer have to press next or wait for a new page to load- just simply scroll.
Twitter as a Destination Site
While life on Twitter does move fast, this site does want you to stay as long as possible. Many of the updates in the roll out are focused on giving Twitter users a richer user experience (including all types of multimedia) without ever having to leave the site. This enhances Twitter as a destination site keeping a user on Twitter longer, hopefully spending more time digesting tweets and info and creating/sharing more content- all of which is a benefit and the ultimate goal of the Twitter community.
What These Roll Outs Mean for SEO and SEM
It’s obvious that today more and more people online are utilizing social networks to enhance their web experience. This means that while there is still plenty of traffic from search visiting many sites around the internet, many users are online making connections at social network sites including Twitter. Twitter is business friendly and has a much larger risk appetite for marketing than other social networks such as Facebook. This means that if you are looking to engage your current and potential customer base, Twitter can be a powerful tool to do so. It should be noted that links on Twitter are still nofollow, however many links do show up in Google. In addition, where Facebook doesn’t allow a business to reach out and request friends, Twitter is more than fine with any user (business or personal user) to reach out to any Twitter user and follow them online.