On July 24, Elon Musk made the shock announcement that Twitter could be rebranding as ‘X’, with a brand new brand and model id arriving rapidly after that announcement. Shortly after, X.com began redirecting (302) to Twitter.com.
Any skilled website positioning is aware of how perilous a significant web site migration may be, and Twitter.com has been accumulating authority for 17 years. Listed below are a few stats from Moz’s Area Overview instrument:
These are numbers most websites may solely envy, with almost 12M rating key phrases on Google.com alone. Over time, X.com may get well many or a lot of the non-branded rankings, however what concerning the fairness in searches for the Twitter model?
Model search: It’s difficult
In keeping with our knowledge, there are 8.4 Million searches a month in the US only for the phrase “twitter” (and that’s in all probability a conservative estimate), however model search goes far deeper than that. Contemplate the Google end result for simply the letters “tw”:
Not solely does Twitter rank #1 for simply “tw”, however Google is sending robust model alerts, together with expanded sitelinks and a Data Graph entry. Whereas many attainable websites and searches start with “tw”, Google has decided that Twitter.com is — in their very own lingo — the dominant interpretation. That is spectacular even by large-brand requirements.
One thing distinctive to social networks is that folks additionally pair different search phrases with the community’s title. So, we see many searches for distinguished figures and types, comparable to:
We additionally see brand-like alerts for matters paired with the phrase “Twitter”, distinguished Twitter personalities (even with out the model title), inquiries like “Twitter search” and “Twitter login”, and official spinoffs, like “Tweetdeck.” Even in style memes can return brand-like alerts.
As well as, Twitter qualifies for a novel, carousel-style format just like the one beneath:
This sort of prime actual property on Google outcomes might carry over to the X model, however that’s completely at Google’s discretion and should depend upon the energy of the brand new model.
Quantifying Twitter’s model energy
Throughout the roughly 12 Million search queries Twitter ranked for in Moz’s knowledge, we examined simply those that obtained 150+ searches per thirty days and the place Twitter ranked on web page one, which left us with about 600,000 distinctive queries.
We analyzed these 600K queries for model alerts and ended up with 10,149 search queries. Whereas this will likely not appear to be quite a bit in comparison with 12 Million, it represents an enormous affect of the Twitter model. All informed, these 10K queries drive over 18 Million searches per thirty days.
The issue for ‘X’ is that the overwhelming majority of those brand-like searches reference Twitter or related model phrases (like “tweet” and “Tweetdeck”) immediately. To recapture this search quantity and site visitors long-term, ‘X’ must attain a stage of brand name consciousness the place searchers are actively in search of phrases like “Taylor Swift X” and “Fortnite X’.
The complicated historical past of X.com
X.com at the moment ranks for no key phrases in our databases, resulting from a lot of long-term points. It doesn’t take loads of math to inform you that this drives zero model searches. This case will undoubtedly change, however X.com faces one other problem — it has been used to deal with a lot of websites (with a number of homeowners) and likewise has redirected to Musk’s wider model portfolio. To grasp X.com’s greater than 25-year historical past, you really want to see it.
The early years (1995–2000)
Utilizing the Web Archive’s Wayback Machine, we are able to seize a little bit of this complicated historical past. The X.com area was initially owned by Dave Weinstein, who launched the location in 1995 or 1996, in fairly typical mid-Nineties trend:
Sadly, the record of stuff that Rob Walker would possibly need is misplaced to the sands of time.
In 1999, Elon Musk purchased the area for the primary time (he would later re-buy it from eBay). Right here’s a screenshot from early 2000 of the unique X.com on-line banking web site:
Till the latest rebranding of Twitter to ‘X’, this 2000-era web site was the one one to ever home the X.com model as initially envisioned.
The PayPal years (2000–2011)
Resulting from a rocky period at PayPal after the merger of X.com and Confinity, the X.com model gave technique to varied PayPal manufacturers. Within the spring of 2000, the location was briefly rebranded as “X-Finance” after which “X-PayPal” (proven beneath):
By the autumn of 2000, Musk was ousted as CEO at PayPal, and this web site was rebranded as simply “PayPal” in early 2001. This endured for some time, with X.com ultimately redirecting to the PayPal web site. The ‘X’ model was nowhere to be seen at this level.
In late 2007, X.com was resurrected as PayPal Labs (captured right here in 2008):
PayPal Labs endured for some time, adopted by a handful of PayPal experiments, together with this “X.com weblog” that seems to don’t have anything to do with the ‘X’ model (display shot from July 2009):
These look like the one two posts the X.com weblog ever had, till it was changed in spring of 2010 with the PayPal-X Developer Community (to not be confused with X-PayPal):
In summer time of 2011, this web site was changed by a brand new three way partnership of eBay (which had acquired PayPal in 2002), PayPal, and Magento referred to as “X-commerce”.
X.commerce, a play on the X.com area, housed “a brand new enterprise in commerce” that sought to combine the eBay, PayPal, and Magento developer communities:
X.commerce went by way of a lot of iterations, surviving till February of 2014. At that time, eBay appears to have given up on the X.commerce enterprise and redirected X.com on to eBay’s company web site (ebayinc.com).
The Boring hat (2017–2023)
In July of 2017, Elon Musk repurchased X.com and changed the home-page with simply the letter ‘x’. Quickly after, X.com redirected to The Boring Firm, however to not the home-page — to a web page to purchase a hat:
Roughly a 12 months later, this was changed by an below building web page harking back to the late Nineties, whereas residing unironically in 2018:
This web page quickly returned to the letter ‘x’ on a white background. Notice that the fundamental ‘x’ web page contained no HTML supply code in any respect nor any clues concerning the nature of the ‘X’ model or web site. It was actually only one character. This endured till July of 2023, when X.com was 302-redirected to Twitter.com, which is its present standing as of this writing.
The lengthy, unsure street forward
The unusual historical past of X.com — no matter my private emotions — is an website positioning and branding nightmare. X.com has been used and abused by varied homeowners and has spent years simply being the letter ‘x’ on a white web page, with completely no clues as to the model’s objective.
Throughout this time, X.com has constructed roughly zero on-line model fairness and ranks for nothing. Quickly redirecting to Twitter.com is a short-term answer, and presumably Twitter.com itself will completely redirect to X.com in some unspecified time in the future. I’ve no data of Musk’s plans — that is the one affordable manner for X.com to turn into the everlasting house of the ‘X’ model.
At that time, X.com dangers shedding a considerable portion of the ten,149 Twitter-branded search queries and 18 Million searches per thirty days beforehand mentioned. Reclaiming these searches and the ensuing site visitors is not only an website positioning process, however would require constructing the ‘X’ model within the minds of customers to the purpose that they routinely seek for celebrities, manufacturers, and matters mixed with ‘X’ or X-related phrases.
The long-term success of X.com is anybody’s guess, however because the ‘X’ model is moved to X.com, I predict — based mostly on my experiences with even reasonably tough comparable transitions — a considerable lack of search site visitors for at the very least 3-6 months. Given the ability of the present Twitter model and the lengthy, unusual historical past of X.com, losses may simply final over a 12 months.