70% of Matt Cutts’s Twitter Followers are Fake

Read this NY Times article about buying fake Twitter followers last week and wondered whether any influential SEOs bought Twitter followers. So I ran the top ten most influential SEOs on Twitter according to wefollow in the Status People Fake Follower Check , and was surprised at the results.

It appears as though someone’s playing a joke on Matt Cutts, as 70% of his followers are fake, according to the tool. Unless you believe that the head of spam at Google bought about 175k of his 250k Twitter followers, that is.

Same goes for Search Engine Land Editor Danny Sullivan, who has 36k fake followers according to the tool.

Obviously Danny’s not buying followers, so these are probably spam bots for fake profiles.

The rest of the top ten appears to either not be buying followers or to be hiding it very well, as all but three have fake follower percentages in the single digits.

I used my own account and the account of the top followed SEO in the wefollow directory as a control here, as I know I’ve never bought followers and I’m not familiar with this SEO that has almost half a million followers.

Seems to be pretty accurate, but according to the methodology, it’s based on a sample of 1,000 followers and gets less accurate the more followers that you have.

Two takeaways:

1. Follower counts aren’t a true measure of influence in our industry, as percentages of fake accounts are increased by spam bots for fake profiles, negative SEO, buying followers or all of the above.

2. It’s impossible to assume that a high percentage of fake followers means that those followers were purchased by the person holding the account, even though in some cases it’s pretty obvious. I’m sure Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, and to a lesser extent Matt Cutts will be pleased by this news. Thank you, anonymous blackhat buying followers for Matt Cutts for teaching us this valuable lesson. 🙂

Data and screenshots are below.







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