PageRank Update – Twitter Profiles – Tosh

Today we are going to face an avalanche of Technology bloggers who can’t help blogging about every intricate detail of Twitter in one way or another claiming that Google has devalued Twitter profiles in the search engine results pages (SERPs) or reduced the PageRank of profiles.

Whilst this is theoretically possible, it is also unlikely.

To understand why the change has happened

  • You have to understand SEO, external and internal linking, and have an advanced knowledge of how PageRank works. This gives me another chance to drop a very blatant affiliate link to Stomping The Search Engines 2 which is probably the best value (just a measly $1) high quality SEO training online. (
  • You need to study Twitter Linking structure over a period of time – snapshot SEO is for cowboys – even what I am writing here isn’t going to be highly accurate, because I don’t have access to analytics, server logs etc, and telling a script to analyse every page of Twitter just isn’t viable

I am not writing this just for another opportunity to pimp an affiliate link, but I am sick of poor SEO information out there among bloggers. I have suggested SEOs need to clean up old information, but to be honest, this is about as fundamental as it gets.

I do have a fair understanding of SEO and linking structures, and I do monitor changes, not just the pretty toolbar PageRank Google updates every 3 months or so, or the ranking of my Twitter profile in the SERPs.

Here are a few of my more recent tweets on the topic:-

Changing account name and retaining some of your link juice

@ed Good to see the move accomplished – you might do well to fill up a page of tweets to yourself from Next Instinct (best of ed) = links

A little basic SEO training

In case SEOs are forgetting something, external links+indexed pages = PageRank – content quality irrelevant

The president would not be happy if I could game an indented listing

It should be very easy to make any twitter account appear as an indented listing of a high profile twitter user e.g. Barak Obama

Twitter making changes to Meta Titles was not an April Fool’s joke, but the titles for individual tweets is far from optimal

If you add your twitter profile to every place you get links for your blog, of course it is going to rank high

Whilst I might have followed people, that isn’t necessarily a vote

Dear @ev @mattcutts The people on my Twitter “Following” blogroll are not recommendations – pls nofollow/discount

Little minor details affecting individual tweets, and maybe overall profile rankings due to the recent “replies” changes

@BradWest unfortunately that solution isn’t, as you lose the “in reply to” links

So What Changed At Twitter?

Quite simply, the default blogroll links

Previously they were based on 2 criteria

  • You had to be following the person
  • They were displayed in account creation order

Thus popular tech bloggers who had early beta access to Twitter, plus Twitter founders always made up a high percentage of the default blogroll links across the whole Twitter network.

Even accounts with just a few thousand followers would have a high pagerank if they were created early enough, because they most likely followed a few high profile Twitter users such as Robert Scoble, and Twitter founders, so they gained the benefit of very powerful links.

How Is The Twitter Blogroll Calculated Now?

I wish I knew so I could work out how to take the best advantage of it – seems almost random, other than you have  to be following the person.

What I do know is that is still doesn’t represent my personal choice of the best people to follow, and all the links should be nofollow unless I can determine who can be included.

About PageRank

The PageRank formula isn’t complicated math, but it gets applied recursively for the global internet, which is one of the reasons why Google needs huge banks of servers.

Google calculates PageRank constantly – rankings based on it and 200+ other factors change constantly

What appears on the Google Toolbar (Toolbar PageRank) is

  • Just a rough approximation
  • Can be manually overridden by Google in the case of a penalty
  • Is only updated every 3 months
  • Looks to be linear progression, whereas the real numbers are logarithmic in nature

Posts like this one on The Next Web or this one on So Web are correct that there has been a change in visible ToolBar PageRank, but the analysis of why it happened is certainly lacking.

Have you noticed how PageRank updates frequently happen around the same time as Google Engineers are at conferences?

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  1. says

    I don’t know much about twitter and users page-rank since I don’t use it.
    But what I do know is, if you don’t want leading up the garden path by someone who only thinks they know SEO, you could not do better then grabbing
    StomperNet for a $1
    I will defiantly back Andy up on this go get it now.

  2. says


    As always, thanks for diving in and exposing the details, and putting us back on track. Good point about PR changes around the time Google engineers are at conferences, hadn’t caught that one.


  3. says

    I’ve seen a lot of profiles recently get pagerank. It’s an interested point that if you were able to get on twitter in the early days you had a better chance of getting higher page rank for your profile. A lot of links on twitter are set to no-follow now too so it’s gotten a bit tougher.

  4. says

    Twitter aside, I find this update very puzzling. I’m ranking very high for terms that I have no business ranking for. I mean, I’m not complaining, but I have the feeling Google’s going to dial back what they did with this update.

  5. says

    I noticed that some Twitter profiles that had a PR (some up to PR 4) went to zero after this latest PageRank update. Considering that they didn’t do anything differently from when they gained the original PR to when they lost it, it is quite confusing as to how that all works. But does a Twitter PR really count for much, aside from coming up in the search results? It seems like people on Twitter will count the authority in the number of followers rather than the PR.

    • says

      Google TBPR updates often get messed up for various reasons and they repeat updates a week or so later – that doesn’t mean they have made a fundamental change in the way they calculate PageRank or that Twitter has a penalty of some kind.

  6. says


    Thanks for sharing. This is quite an interesting development in the whole page rank evolution. Great job!


  7. says


    this is great information! And even more for a SEO newbie like me! =) Hope to learn many more in that area and on your thoughts about Internet Marketing (and business in general)!


  8. Process Pipe - Adi says

    I’m new to the whole SEO, so I was considering that training. Page looks very flashy
    so I was wondering if it really works.

    Thank You

    • says

      It is more effective than blog commenting with anchor text all over the blogosphere which can be extremely harmful for reputation management if it isn’t done carefully.

  9. says

    Cool stuff here, thanks. I have bunches of blogs and always check out my blog page ranks or lack thereof, but it didnt’ even occur to check my twitter page rank. So I just did and it’s a “3” which cracks me up because I don’t get this whole race to follow a kabillion people and use all kinds of weird stuff to do it… What’s the benefit to the twitter page rank anyway? I assume I’m getting my pagerank because I have twitterfeed pull my new posts in, so if I’m getting my pagerank from my own blogs, and then my PR 3 twitter links back, isn’t that kind of nepotism? I mean isn’t PR supposed to come from somebody else’s blog/site whatever??? Ok, rant over and out!

  10. says

    I can see the benefit of Google taking the initiative to change their computations for the pageranking process, as to avoid excessive manipulation, but it’s not totally fair for them to have a monopoly on it. There are two sides to (most) every blade – the power to index all the information is a mighty responsibility, but it’s also a mighty opportunity!

  11. says

    Thanks for the great post. I’m glad I found your blog. I don’t have twitter account but you provide a good reason to get one. Noah Lieske

  12. says

    Thanks for the info. I’m still pretty much a noob at SEO and things like this are extremely helpful. I’m also pretty new to the whole twittering thing. I haven’t done much with it, but I have started to use it a little more.

  13. says

    This is great information! And even more for a SEO newbie like me! =) Hope to learn many more in that area and on your thoughts about Internet Marketing (and business in general)!

  14. nursingscrubs says

    Thanks for sharing. This is quite an interesting development in the whole page rank evolution. Great job!

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