Here’s a quick link opportunity I’ll share with you. Quite a few people have pondered about getting links from the uber-popular Twitter. I had much the same thoughts as NickyCakes when I first saw that the only followed links in the service pointed to the posting applications.
Strangely enough there is a much easier link opportunity on the system. Although Twitter has carefully applied nofollow to your Web entry in the your profile, you can slip a handful of URLs into the Bio fields (see here). The key is putting “www” in front of each one and a comma between entries, i.e. www.domain1.com, www.domain2.com
For some reason that converts the URL into a link. My guess is that Twitter forgot to remove some RoR formatting on this input field. This is almost the same behavior you see in tweets when you enter a web address.
Although profile pages have no TBPR (marked unranked) by default, some have built up a visible score and all are indexed by the search engines. I’ve not tested the link juice but considering that 90% of the page content is nofollowed it looks tasty. So get your signature links in there while it lasts.
03/09/08 Update: Twitter Makes Bio Link Non-Active
Well we knew this day would come. Especially after DaveN blogged about the technique and caught Google Engineer Matt Cutt’s attention. He sent a message to @ev (Evan Williams, a twitter founder) to alert him and a few weeks on, the links have been made non-active. Don’t blame Dave though. First, he’s a great guy and second – if your SEO success depends on loopholes in Web 2.0 apps you have bigger problems than Twitter altering their code.
Still, this saga has created a new controversy of its own. SEOs are wondering what right Google has to intervene in other websites and their ever evolving application of nofollow. The tag was first introduced to control spam within UGC, such as user comments but that initiative was soon declared a failure. However Google has increasingly pressured webmasters to use the tag on any link that might affect their results. To keep following the story as it develops, follow the posts by Rae Hoffman or Kevin Gibbons, or these two Sphinn posts.