Earlier this year, Twitter changed the way tweets are displayed on users’ feeds by sorting them according to relevance using an algorithm. Today, the micro-blogging service is also bringing the same change to how it displays its search results.
“In many cases however, the most recent results may not be what the searchers are looking for. They could be searching for popular Tweets to engage with or to better understand context around the search query, and the most recent Tweets are not necessarily best suited for that,” as explained by Twitter’s senior software engineer for search quality Lisa Huang in her blog post.
“In order to improve this experience, over the last few months we’ve adjust the top tab of your Twitter search results page to start with relevance-ordered Tweets (rather than time-ordered Tweets),” Huang added.
The problem with Twitter’s current time-based search results is when a popular tweet is sent out, it gets retweeted and or quoted so fast by a lot of people. Once a user searches for something specific, they simply end up seeing retweets and quotes instead of the original post. By showing the most relevant search results, Twitter believes that it can solve this problem.
Huang also explained in the blog post how Twitter is implementing this new change. She stated that Twitter will be able to show search results according to relevance by training its machine learning models. A user’s behavior on Twitter (previous retweets, likes & replies) will be used to train machine learning models to rank relevant tweets on its search results. Relevant tweets will be ranked based on the probability of user engagement.
Huang also published a screenshot to compare the old (left) and new (right) search results using #MrRobot. As the photo shows, the results are a lot more organized on the new search page. However, it looks like results will now prioritize tweets from brands while tweets from regular users will be pushed down the page, as pointed out by Engadget.
The old (left) time-based search results vs. the new (right) relevance order for Twitter search.