In addition to experimenting with new features, Twitter this week announced that it has started adding protected tweets to Twitter Search results of private profiles and their approved followers.

When people sign up for Twitter, they have the option to keep their tweets public or to protect them. Accounts with protected tweets require manual approval of each and every person who may view that account’s tweets. This is good for people who want to remain somewhat private on the social network, but it can be challenging for brands who follow them.

Previously if you used Twitter Search to locate keywords, any tweet from a protected account wouldn’t be included in the results. This update changes that, and now protected tweets are more accessible to people who have already been approved to view private tweets. Twitter was clear that this update doesn’t make protected tweets visible to anyone new. Additionally, protected tweets won’t appear in public search engines.

This isn’t as big of a game-changer as say letting readers tweet highlighted text from articles or notifying members of nearby events, but it does help businesses that still rely on Twitter Search to locate specific keywords. For larger brands, relying solely on Twitter Search is probably not the most efficient way to track, and you’re likely already using a social media management service to follow mentions, keywords, and related hashtags.

While this isn’t a major update, it’s good to be aware of changes Twitter makes to the way its tweets are discovered. The company has been making strides in making tweets more discoverable. This past week, Twitter finally rolled out its own version of threaded comments, which links together related tweets in a conversation.

[Via: The Next Web, Image credit: Tim]