The 70+ Parts of the Twitter Grader Algorithm

Social Media

by Kenny Hyder

By now, most of the hyper-active twit­ter users are aware of the twit­ter pro­file ran­king tool Some of us even check it daily. (Just mes­sin with you)

It “gra­des” your twit­ter pro­file on a scale of 100 based on:

  • The num­ber of follo­wers you have
  • The power of this net­work of followers
  • The pace of your updates
  • The com­ple­te­ness of your profile
  • …a few others
  • At least that’s what they tell you ;) Of course, I wan­ted to know how it really wor­ked. Here’s what I’ve found so far.

    Here is a graph of me and some of my reci­pro­cal follo­wers sor­ted by num­ber of upda­tes:
    Reciprocal Followers

    These num­bers are as of this mor­ning, 10–20 bet­ween 9:00 — 9:15 AM PST. As you can see, the first 7 on the list are all extre­mely active users, with sig­ni­fi­cant follo­wings. Their sco­res vary from 94 — 98.9. I deci­ded not to inc­lude anyone with a 100 score in my study, because those users tend to have such large follo­wer num­bers, that the results I feel, would be ske­wed. The last 3 on the list are users, inc­lu­ding myself, with sco­res in the middle range, var­ying from 57 — 63. Follo­wer counts for these users are all under 100.

    Now, there is obviously a corre­la­tion bet­ween num­ber of follo­wers and twit­ter score. I would liken this to num­ber of qua­lity inbound links to a web­site, and page rank. But there are some things to take note of.

    I first thought that it would corre­late that the ratio of follo­wers to peo­ple you follow should sig­ni­fi­cantly affect your score. But, as you can see with NeO­Blog, this is not the case. He is follo­wing more than 2 times the amount of peo­ple that are follo­wing him, yet his score remains at the top with a 97.5, and con­ti­nues to climb. Whe­reas chris­win­field, on the other hand, has over 6 times as many follo­wers than he is follo­wing, and only main­tains a mere 1.4 score lead. We see a simi­lar case with the epic duel of mar­tin­bow­ling vs. oil­man. Mar­tin­bow­ling only main­tains a 1.6÷1 ratio of followers/following whilst oil­man has a stun­ning 4/1 ratio yet only leads by a .6 points on twit­ter gra­der. So I had to aban­don this logic.

    I next deci­ded to look into qua­lity of the net­work of follo­wers. For this I more clo­sely exa­mi­ned the last 3 on the list, because the first 7 have many over­laps in net­works. Robert­pal­mer, kennyhy­der, and aus­tin­cur­tis all have simi­lar follo­wer num­bers with few over­laps. This was an inte­res­ting study, and one that is hard to not be bia­sed on! ;) I’m an SEO and follo­wed by mainly the SEO and inter­net mar­ke­ting com­mu­nity. Aus­tin­cur­tis is a pro­fes­sio­nal pho­to­grapher and desig­ner, and mainly follo­wed by other pro­fes­sio­nal pho­to­graphers. And robert­pal­mer is an author at and a graphic desig­ner, and mostly follo­wed by other blog­gers and desig­ners. Because both Aus­tin and Robert were per­so­nal friends of mine before I knew them pro­fes­sio­nally, and I can’t just say “my follo­wing is bet­ter” I deci­ded to look at the num­bers. Without going too deep, I deci­ded to look at the num­ber of follo­wers for each user, who have a follo­wer count above 1000. The score? robert­pal­mer: 14, aus­tin­cur­tis: 5, kennyhy­der: 14. With the robert­pal­mer and my count tied, and aus­tin­cur­tis at a sig­ni­fi­cantly lower count, yet all 3 users still so close, I deci­ded to play around a bit. So I went and bloc­ked all of the spammy users who were follo­wing me at the moment. (no pic­ture, follo­wing 1000 but only 5 follo­wers, etc..) The result? MY SCORE DROPPED! I laughed, obviously twit­ter gra­der doesn’t con­si­der the qua­lity of the accounts follo­wing you.

    After this, I deci­ded to follow @grader, based on the “…a few other things” line, and the fact that every time I chec­ked my score, at the bot­tom it said “kennyhy­der is not follo­wing @grader yet”. I thought this may do 2 things. 1. Pos­sibly boost my score a point & 2. I thought it would help with the fre­quency of crawl rate on my pro­file.. It did neither.

    I was star­ting to think that the algo­rithm was simply nothing except how many follo­wers you have. The last thing I had to try was the “pace of your upda­tes”. So I star­ted twee­ting like mad. I star­ted twee­ting @ peo­ple, twee­ting when I pos­ted on my blog, twee­ting when I was pla­ying poker, twee­ting everything.. And soon, the big lead that I once had on aus­tin­cur­tis tur­ned into a small lead. And soon, into his lead. I domi­na­ted him on tweets, and even lead on follo­wers, and was follo­wing less peo­ple, but his score pop­ped up. And then I saw something new, “What about your follo­wer to update ratio?”

    So to test this, (and get back my lead on aus­tin­cur­tis) I star­ted follo­wing new friends. My follo­wing count sur­pas­sed my follo­wer count, yes, but we already deter­mi­ned that this doesn’t mat­ter. I follo­wed more and more tweeps, and pic­ked up follo­wers along the way. I did this on fri­days because I don’t tend to spend much time on twit­ter over the wee­kends, so my follo­wer count would grow, and my update count would stay the same. This wor­ked. In further tes­ting, I would tweet a lot without adding friends, and my score would dip. Aha! This is the sup­ple­ment to main piece of the algo­rithm. This is the “con­tent is king” piece!

    So obviously, the more follo­wers you have, the bet­ter your score will be, but it is nice to see (at least for an seo) that this isn’t the only thing taken into consideration!

    Peo­ple men­tio­ned in this post:

  • Mar­tin Bow­ling aka @martinbowling
  • Todd Frie­sen aka @oilman
  • Dave Sny­der aka @davesnyder
  • Kate Morris aka @katemorris
  • David Brown aka @NeOBlog
  • Chris Win­field aka @chriswinfield
  • Frank Watson aka @AussieWebmaster
  • Robert Pal­mer aka @robertpalmer
  • Kenny Hyder aka @kennyhyder
  • Aus­tin Cur­tis aka @austincurtis
  • PS: If you liked this post, FOLLOW ME :), and then check out this one by David Brown.


    Previous post:

    Next post: