There was a huge amount of anticipation for Ev from Twitter’s Keynote at SXSWi, and though it didn’t quite reach Apple levels of frenzy, it did upset a few people when the announcement didn’t reach expectation. The Chirp development conference promised similar levels of hype.
Rather than the much-anticipated Twitter ad platform, they announced @anywhere. Most of the web sighed and said a collective “So What?”, but I think this has a much bigger impact than most SEOs would have initially realised.
@Anywhere is essentially a fancy version of Disqus where comments across the web are centralised using Twitter sign-in data. Great news for publishers; it’ll help them keep track of discussion about their content even if it takes place on Twitter.
I hope very few of us rely on comments as the sole source of our link building. In fact, you’re hard-pressed to find a site where the comments are followed, but it’s another part of the link building mix which is going to become off-limits.
More worrying from my point of view is the impact this could have on blogs. Lots of people have written about how Twitter and URL Shorteners are breaking the link graph. The development of @Anywhere is only going to hasten the switch of less committed bloggers away from their site onto twitter.
Not great news if you were producing great content which the linkerati bloggers were sharing with their audience. @Anywhere will help you get traffic and build your brand, but it’s going to impact the number of trusted one-way links you can get with great content.
It’s yet another signal that Google are going to have to start taking social graph seriously because the link graph looks like it’s on its last legs.
What does this mean for us?
For most of us this great news, I doubt you rely on these types of links to rank and any reduction in comment spam should free up time spent deleting the ‘efforts’ of the not-very-subtle mechanical turk-powered comment factories.
How can we use this to our benefit?
These developments make it much easier to track the conversations people are having about your content, which is great news if you’re taking a social approach to your link building.
You want to be able to establish long term relationships with your audience so that they trust you. The linkerati are getting ever more sophisticated, they aren’t the kind of people who fall for lowest common denominator linkbait
It’s also likely to put Twitter in more direct conflict with Facebook and their Connect login system. It’s looking ever more likely search marketers aren’t going to be concerned with the Google, MSN & Yahoo Trio but actually Google, Facebook & Twitter.
Plus this is also going to give Twitter an even better understanding than they currently have of what content is popular with audiences. Giving them even more basis to build a search engine which could rival the Big G…