Nofollow: No seo benefit of using Twitter

Twitter and nofollow is the topic of this week’s Twitter column: While even Google who has introduced, along with other search engines, the nofollow attribute to combat spam a few years ago does not propagate the use of it anymore, Twitter went nofollow big time just recently. What does this mean?

Twitter will not improve traffic to your site other than twist reading your tweets.

Not only outgoing links get the so called link condom so that search engines ignore them. No, now also internal links from your tweets on Twitter get wasted.

While you might argue that you don’t tweet to get links or for the SEO of it this means that everything you say gets treated like spam.

Andy Beard, a well known figure in the SEO industry, has even quit Twitter due to their new disdain for their users. Now many people don’t know Andy Beard, he’s not Danny Sullivan or John Battalle but his voice gets heard on the marketing community. Also he’s an early adopter. This means he also knows when to leave a site and seek alternatives. He’s quite active on Google Buzz right now instead.

Andy points out that the nofollow attribute and other hurdles lead to very poor indexing and searchability of tweets. In other words: Your tweets get lost very quickly. In order to archive your tweets and relationships you basically need a third party tool or rather more than one. I don’t know one single tool that is able to both save all of my tweets and those of others who address me and make them all easily searchable while keeping an up to date list of my friends.

I archive my own tweets using RSS readers. I simply subscribe to them. A backup of my relationships is not that easy though. I haven’t found a perfect social CRM tool for that. Most tools that add a social CRM layer to Twitter depend on the data from Twitter itself. So in case you want to discontinue your Twitter account like Andy Beard did you lose your relationships. In case they don’t rely on Twitter you have to add your contacts manually which means more effort and work.

Twitter seems to obstruct indexing of tweets on purpose. Pagerank sculpting by using nofollow does not work anymore these days so

Twitter does not use nofollow for SEO reasons.

They either assume that all user generated content is potential spam or they want to sell searchability in future. They might want to charge for archives and search of older tweets. I don’t like this idea of selling your content and relationships back to you. It’s time to re-evaluate the way we use Twitter.

Twitter has stopped access to its data for many free tools out there. Now they limit the access of search engines to the content. What comes next? Follow 100 people for free and pay for more? Just in case, follow me on Google Buzz as well.

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