I send out a horde of emails every week to bloggers, neatly packaging links with a short argument for why they should be including them in posts. Over the last few months, I’ve been receiving a reply email that reads to me as a mixed bag: “Thanks, I just tweeted it.”
While I love twitter as much as the next person, I’ve noted more than once that the micro blogging service has made me a lazy blogger. Rather than taking content and extrapolating on its merits and weaknesses, I find myself time and time again copy and pasting the headline of the content and blasting the link out to my Twitter followers.
And even though from personal experience I know that tweets (particularly ones that are retweeted) can send a quick flood of traffic, I wonder about the long-term effects this has on the web. What I’m referring to is the fact that Twitter modifies all links so that they contain a “no follow” tag, making them virtually invisible to Google.
So does this mean that an article’s “retweetability” is a hidden curse? After all, if your content is mostly ignored by regular blogs in favor of the ease of tweeting links to it, doesn’t this mean that someone else’s content published a year ago — before Twitter was as widely used as it is now — has an unfair advantage?
And what does this mean for Google? Just because there’s a “no follow” tag in a link doesn’t mean that the link doesn’t have value. If Twitter continues to grow at its current rate, then it may permanently skewer Google’s authority ranking. After all, most Twitter users don’t know or don’t care about the “no follow” tag in their links. So they have no individual investment in propping Rome (i.e. Google) up.