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 shortly after that announcement. Shortly after, X.com began redirecting (302) to Twitter.com.
Any skilled web optimization is aware of how perilous a significant website migration might 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 practically 12M rating key phrases on Google.com alone. Over time, X.com may get better many or a lot of the non-branded rankings, however what in regards to the fairness in searches for the Twitter model?
Model search: It’s difficult
Based on our knowledge, there are 8.4 Million searches a month in america only for the phrase “twitter” (and that’s in all probability a conservative estimate), however model search goes far deeper than that. Take into account the Google outcome for simply the letters “tw”:
Not solely does Twitter rank #1 for simply “tw”, however Google is sending robust model indicators, together with expanded sitelinks and a Information Graph entry. Whereas many potential 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 individuals additionally pair different search phrases with the community’s identify. So, we see many searches for outstanding figures and types, similar to:
We additionally see brand-like indicators for subjects paired with the phrase “Twitter”, outstanding Twitter personalities (even with out the model identify), inquiries like “Twitter search” and “Twitter login”, and official spinoffs, like “Tweetdeck.” Even widespread memes can return brand-like indicators.
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 could carry over to the X model, however that’s fully at Google’s discretion and will rely 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 acquired 150+ searches per 30 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 indicators and ended up with 10,149 search queries. Whereas this will not seem to be quite a bit in comparison with 12 Million, it represents a large affect of the Twitter model. All informed, these 10K queries drive over 18 Million searches per 30 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 degree of brand name consciousness the place searchers are actively on the lookout for 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, on account of quite a few long-term points. It doesn’t take a whole lot of math to let you know that this drives zero model searches. This case will undoubtedly change, however X.com faces one other problem — it has been used to accommodate quite a few websites (with a number of homeowners) and in addition has redirected to Musk’s wider model portfolio. To grasp X.com’s greater than 25-year historical past, you actually need to see it.
The early years (1995–2000)
Utilizing the Web Archive’s Wayback Machine, we will 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 vogue:
Sadly, the record of stuff that Rob Walker may 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 website:
Till the current rebranding of Twitter to ‘X’, this 2000-era website was the one one to ever home the X.com model as initially envisioned.
The PayPal years (2000–2011)
Resulting from a rocky interval at PayPal after the merger of X.com and Confinity, the X.com model gave approach 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 website was rebranded as simply “PayPal” in early 2001. This continued for some time, with X.com ultimately redirecting to the PayPal website. 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 continued 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 screen 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 website was changed by a brand new three way partnership of eBay (which had acquired PayPal in 2002), PayPal, and Magento known 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 via quite a few 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 website (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 beneath development web page paying homage to the late Nineties, whereas dwelling unironically in 2018:
This web page quickly returned to the letter ‘x’ on a white background. Notice that the essential ‘x’ web page contained no HTML supply code in any respect nor any clues in regards to the nature of the ‘X’ model or web site. It was actually only one character. This continued 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 web optimization 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 function.
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 means for X.com to change into the everlasting house of the ‘X’ model.
At that time, X.com dangers dropping a considerable portion of the ten,149 Twitter-branded search queries and 18 Million searches per 30 days beforehand mentioned. Reclaiming these searches and the ensuing site visitors isn’t just an web optimization activity, however would require constructing the ‘X’ model within the minds of shoppers to the purpose that they routinely seek for celebrities, manufacturers, and subjects 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 — primarily based on my experiences with even reasonably tough related transitions — a considerable lack of search site visitors for not less than 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.