Is Twitter Cloaking TweetDeck For Google?

Nov 21, 2012 • 8:27 am | comments (5) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization
 

Twitter CloakingIf you search for [tweetdeck] in Google TweetDeck.com doesn't show up. If you do the same search in Bing for [tweetdeck], TweetDeck.com does show up. If you go as a user to TweetDeck.com, the page does render.

So why is it not showing up in Google? That was a question asked in Google+. The answer is not that obvious, and it took a Googler to do some investigation work to find out why.

TweetDeck Google

TweetDeck Bing

Google's John Mueller noticed that when the useragent GoogleBot accesses TweetDeck.com, it is requested to 301 redirect to Twitter.com. In short, it is only redirecting GoogleBot from TweetDeck.com to Twitter.

John explained:

It looks like they're doing this based on the user-agent. Checking with Googlebot shows the redirect:

$ curl -s -I -A Googlebot http://tweetdeck.com/ | grep -E "(HTTP|Location)"
HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently
Location: http://twitter.com/

Using "Bingbot" shows a 200 OK:

$ curl -s -I -A Bingbot http://tweetdeck.com/ | grep -E "(HTTP|Location)"
HTTP/1.1 200 OK

Using "Slurp" shows the redirect again:

$ curl -s -I -A Slurp http://tweetdeck.com/ | grep -E "(HTTP|Location)"
HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently
Location: http://twitter.com/

Theoretically there's also a chance that more is happening on an IP level, or that a very specific user-agent is being looked for, but if it's reacting based on a simplified user-agent like this, then I imagine that's what it's set up for. 

Is this really cloaking? You can learn more about Google's definition and views on cloaking over here.

That being said, two questions:

(1) Why is Twitter doing this?

(2) Will Google take action against this move?

Forum discussion at Google+.

Previous story: Daily Search Forum Recap: November 20, 2012
 

Comments:

studiumcirclus

11/21/2012 01:46 pm

Isn't this part of longer-term product migration? Twitter has taken over Tweet-Deck, so it makes sense that all Tweet-Deck content will end up on Twitter.com. If you want to see something really odd, search Google for "tweetdeck.com". You will be presented with the following SERP (click link for image): http://goo.gl/Gmy2Z What's strange about that SERP? Tweetdeck.com is labelled (SERP title+desc.) as if it were Twitter. This is obviously something to do with all the redirects, etc. Found it amusing though.

RyanMJones

11/21/2012 05:22 pm

I think it's part of twitter saying "we don't want more people to use tweetdeck, but we don't want to take it away and suffer backlash"

Michael Merritt

11/21/2012 05:35 pm

That's not unusual. A site that redirects to another but shows up in the SERPs will show the title and meta description of the destination site.

studiumcirclus

11/21/2012 07:45 pm

That's certainly true from a technical POV. It doesn't change the fact that TweetDeck isn't Twitter, though :)

Vermont Design Works

11/21/2012 07:50 pm

Barry, in question 1 didn't you mean "Why is TweetDeck doing this?" (rather than Twitter)?

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