Google can’t display tweets and pages from Twitter in search results as effectively as it usually does because of changes at Twitter, according to a statement given to The Verge. “We’re aware that our ability to crawl Twitter.com has been limited, affecting our ability to display tweets and pages from the site in search results,” spokesperson Lara Levin said. “Websites have control over whether crawlers can access their content.”
Over the past few days, Twitter has made some major changes to the visibility of tweets on the site. On Friday, it started blocking unregistered users from being able to browse tweets, and on Saturday, it introduced “temporary” limits for the number of tweets people can read in a day. Given Levin’s statement, it appears the changes have had some effect on how Google crawls Twitter as well.
In my own very unscientific observations on Monday, I’ve seen far fewer search results include a carousel of tweets about a given search; the only search result that shows one consistent for me is “white house” (with no quotes). Search Engine Land compared indexed Twitter URLs in Google search between Friday and Monday, the results definitely point to something going on: on Friday, the publication saw that Google indexed 471 million results for “site:twitter.com,” but on Monday, that was down all the way to 180 million.
Given Twitter’s rate limits on tweets are supposed to be temporary, there’s a chance that if those lift, we might see the usual amount of tweets in Google search results in the future. Personally, I’m not holding my breath for that.
Google search results aren’t the only thing that has been radically changed by Twitter’s recent changes: TweetDeck was broken for many because it removed legacy APIs, so the company hastily launched the “new” TweetDeck and plans to migrate everyone over. The app, which is beloved by many Twitter power users, will also be available only as a Twitter Blue feature starting in 30 days.