Twitter Slaps SEOs With Nofollow On All Links

By August 26, 20095 Comments

A year ago, Twitter was known to only a handful of people who were all search and social media marketing enthusiasts. These search and social media professionals saw the potential in Twitter and promoted it on their blogs, in their emails and in a lot of their communications. Twitter has repaid the favour by treating all users as spammers and slapped rel=”nofollow” attributes onto all external links.

Rel=”nofollow” is an attribute that webmasters can add within the code for external links in order to signal that the link should not be followed by the search engine spiders. Bloggers often use the attribute to disuade comment spam.

The nofollow trend on Twitter started last year when they first indicated to search spiders that links posted under Web, on the right hand side of the Twitter profile, were not to be trusted. They then extended that to links within the Bio as well.

Now, Twitter adds the rel=”nofollow” attribute to all external links, be it links referencing an article or links to third-party Twitter apps that enabled posting the tweet.

Internal links remain untouched, turning Twitter into a walled garden much like Wikipedia, with lots of link juice coming in from other sites but none going out.

As Rae Hoffman pointed out on her blog, all the content on Twitter is created by the profile owners. Twitter is robbing profile owners by disallowing them to reap any benefit from their own work.

Twitter is likely to see some backlash as a result of this decision. Their justification for their decision is that it disuades spammers from abusing the service. However, Twitter is quite good at stopping spammer accounts already. And, moreover, that doesn’t then explain why verified reliable accounts such as @Google and @stephenfry also have their links nofollowed.

The popular micro-blogging service has timed these updates quite well. They are now so big, that minor backlashes and disenssion among SEO, social marketers and developers would hardly affect their growth, which is now self-propelling.


  • Tom Justa says:

    Thanks for the info webmaster, really twitter slaps the SEOs with nofollow links.

  • @cool_idea says:

    I thought the “nofollow” tag works a bit differently.
    “hyperlink should not influence the link target’s ranking in the search engine’s index”

    This means your pages will be indexed, but they won’t get credit for being linked from Twitter.

    I can understand Twitter & I think that’s a smart move for the long run, spammers flock to social media sites (or any site that allows user generated content for that matter), so I hope this will keep Twitter clean.

    If the web is a second world, then spammers are the equivalent of global warming 🙂

  • Andy Maclean says:

    We have to remember such sites arent built for the purpose of its users marketing efforts. Having said that it makes sense that ‘experts’, information sharers etc should be able to get some reward for helping to make these kind of sites so popular. Forums for e.g. often state that you have to post x number of posts or be ‘thanked’ x number of times before a hyperlink in your signature is allowed, surely a similar system could apply for social media sites?

  • Allan Cleghorn says:

    The main reason that folk use Twitter and other social networks is promote their service in order to make money. Twitter make their money do they not on advertising and the like. So why should they be so mean to others? Corporate greed I think and double standards.

  • Recruitment SEO says:

    Why don’t Twitter use the nofollow on Google Maps links???