The Second Largest Search Engine Is Twitter (and you still don’t get it?)

Twitter Search Queries Up 33%, 24 Billion Searches Per Month (SearchEngineLand) – that’s pretty huge!  Just a few months ago they were up to 11 billion.  What a leap.  Why?  Well because Twitter isn’t going away; Google’s bringing it a lot more visibility, and it’s so easy when you give it a chance.  It’s a human run search engine.  Whether you go to, or search through any one of Twitter API powered apps or sites, you’re going to quickly find fresh results.

Last week at a friend’s party, a drunkard mumbled, “Twitter is for idiots.  Nobody cares what you’re doing!”  Well, I don’t get offended that easily.  But I wasn’t about to bother explaining – he clearly enjoyed his obstinance.  But what I could have told him is Twitter is only what you make of it.  It’s a connecting tool between friends (like a status update on Facebook), or a news aggregator (follow those who post nothing but up to the minute news).  Maybe it’s an entertainment tool?  I know I like to follow people that make me laugh every day.  Maybe it’s a customer service tool (@ComcastCares).  I practically IM my coworkers with DMs using ChromeBird.

Granted, the 24 billion searches are probably from Twitter power users, of which I am one.   I routinely search for content and links via Twitter.  I think Twitter is one of the most useful social properties on the web, hands down.  You get used to the 120 (oops – 140… thanks Jack… I was asleep at the wheel there) characters, I promise.  Besides, we all have short attention spans anyway.

Are you a power user too?  Follow me @bill_sebald

So the word now is that these searches are inflated.  Apparently sporadic API calls from all the apps (like my ChromeBird) that ping the search command are included in this announced total.  Well, yeah… technically that’s a search, but really Twitter?  A little deceptive to put the number out there without that caveat.  You still have an incredible achievement to be proud of.

Related: Small Business SEO Services

Search Engines You Never Knew Existed

As a search engine junkie, I’m always pulling for the little guy with a good idea. I love competition in the marketplace, especially when they introduce some new ideas.

Yahoo and MSN are very concerned about the future of their properties, despite aggressive roadmap announcements. They’re prime targets for a Cuil-type overtaking.  Google may rule, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I break their mindshare (or mind control? Hmm…) more often in the future.  I’ll happily switch to non-traditional search engines or platform engines – that is, if I find them effective. Unique results speak for themselves.

Here’s a few engines I found – few of which I use (I admit).  But maybe the next winner comes from this list.  What do you think? Shopping, meta, social, and vertical engines abound…


SEO is a waste? Depends on who you ask (and their agenda).

Mahalo is search engine that is ‘social'; in this case meaning, community edited. These means real people compile the index and earn $$$ while they’re at it. The best thing about this model is a SPAM free index. However, most of the results are pretty top-level and predictable if you’re searching a topic you’ve explored before. The results feel similiar to the Yahoo directory or DMOZ. This may be a good or bad thing, depending on your needs. Personally, I think it has a value, but not very often. I’ll use Malhalo if I’m intentionally looking for thin results for a less urgent query; it’s just that this kind of search is usually satisfied quickly enough with Google, even with the extra fluff I would get. I may have only used Malhalo 10 times in my life.

Jason Calacanis, pseudo-SEO and affiliate marketing champion, was a keynote speaker at SMX on April 22. Mr. Calacanis consistently stirs up controversy, gets SEOs talking, gets lots of notoriety, and ‘flame links’. On Bruce Clay’s blog, they quote Calacanis:

SEO is a wasted industry. You’re wasting your time fighting off ranking problems instead of creating great content. You’re just spinning your wheels hoping the Google gods won’t kick you out. It’s a bad way to live your life. Using a human service is a better way to go about it.

Calacanis also goes to speak about how many sites who hire SEOs don’t deserve to be ranked.

Strong words. Wow. SEOs are mad right now – tweets are flying, forums are flaring, and blogs are, well, blogging. I’ll be honest, I’m not as angry. Just looking at the statement above, I can’t say I totally disagree. Let’s look at it line by line.

  1. SEO is a wasted industry.
    Um. Uhhhh…. why am I defending him again? Ok, I admit – this is asinine. This is probably an intentionally crafted, sensationalized comment to get our attention. It worked! Jason vantage point is slightly obstructed by Malhalo I think.
  2. You’re wasting your time fighting off ranking problems instead of creating great content.
    Wasting my time? If it works, it’s for the forces of good, and it’s creating a good experience, it’s not wasting, but I do agree that creating relevant, user friendly content is paramount. I would always recommend content creation before 98% of the other tactics. That doesn’t mean I dismiss the other tactics. See my point?
  3. You’re just spinning your wheels hoping the Google gods won’t kick you out.
    Another ‘baby with the bathwater’ scenario; if we’re spinning our wheels then our tactics aren’t working. Lots of tactics don’t. Lots of SEOs sell tactics they know don’t yield big results. Is that Jason’s thought? Would Google kick us out because tactics are bad, and NOT content? Or because tactics don’t tend to rank well for very long. Not sure about this line – too ambivalent, let’s move on.
  4. It’s a bad way to live your life.
    Sure, If you’re shady.
  5. Using a human service is a better way to go about it.
    And… here’s the Malhalo pitch! Could a human service be better? Sure – if it were 10,000x’s larger, and all the workers could promise diversity, relevancy, and user experience. If it would only reach a growth of 5,000x’s larger, then maybe it could be at least as good/bad as algorithms are today. I think I’m going to hang my hope on the algorithms for now.