Twitter Takes the Wind out of SEOs Sails

Josh Chambers, Former Viget

Article Category: #Strategy

Posted on

SEO 101: Links matter. The more relevant links you have from domains with a high PageRank, the better. Twitter has a high PageRank, you can provide relevant links, so...Twitter is good for SEO. Right?


To those of you who are trying to convince people to use Twitter for the sake of SEO, Twitter does nothing for your link juice -- which, in my opinion, is awesome.

I still think Twitter helps your search presence, but it doesn't help SEO the way you might typically think. Here's why.

Twitter Adds rel="nofollow"

  • Awhile back, Twitter added the nofollow tag to their "Web" links. Why? Spammers.
  • Spammers then decided to add links in their "Bio" field. Again, Twitter added the nofollow attributes.
  • Now, as of this month (maybe sooner, I just noticed it this month), every single external link on Twitter contains the nofollow attribute - that includes the "Web" field, the "Bio" field, any links within your tweets, and even the time  stamp and app links.

What is nofollow?

Within a link, you can insert the following script: rel="nofollow" which tells the search engine spiders, "Don't follow that link." In other words, no link juice will get transferred from domain #1 to domain #2.

Why I think this is Awesome

Call me a purist, but I like Twitter without spam. I like it when people tweet things they actually care about, and I like knowing that spammers can't jump on to Twitter and clutter things up with irrelevant and annoying tweets. I also like that it forces companies to actually think about why they're using Twitter. SEO "experts" can no longer encourage companies to use Twitter just because it's good for SEO. This encourages tweets without meaning, very little strategic thought, and haphazard involvement - all of the things that will get you burned on Twitter.

How Twitter Still Helps Search Engine Presence

All that being said, tweets are still indexed, and so is your Twitter page. When someone performs a search, they just might see a tweet containing your brand name alongside their search phrase. If your tweets are keyword rich, people may actually find your tweets before they find your on-site page. Not only that, but it helps with brand recognition. If you search for "Viget" our Twitter handle is usually in the top 5 results.

In summary

Twitter can help your search presence through brand awareness and it possibly some long tail keywords; however, it won't do a thing for your link juice - and that should hopefully scare off most SEO spammers.

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