The Most Followed Twitter Users with “SEO” in Their Bio

I was playing around on Followerwonk tonight (man that tool is awesome) and was puzzled by the bio search results for “SEO.” Have a look:

 Danny Sullivan’s Twitter profile certainly makes sense, but the ones above him are curious. I’ve never heard of any of these folks (which certainly could be my fault for being more heads-down lately), nor are they brands I recognize. The tweet streams from these accounts frequently contain purely promotional content, often with large numbers of retweets on affiliate links.

I’ll be honest – I don’t know enough about Twitter follower scaling techniques to know if this is black hat, gray hat, or totally white hat and just something I don’t understand. But, I’m nearly certain it’s not organic and that there’s a very different behavior pattern around these accounts compared to more authentic-looking ones. Interestingly, none of them have been “verified” by Twitter, though most of the profiles I’d apply the “authentic” label to get verification before or around the 100K follower mark. It can’t just be the automated follow/followback/unfollow tactic, right?

For comparison, here are the most followed folks in some other fields, starting with travel writers:

 Those all appear to be authentic and legitimate, and aren’t especially surprising. Here’s “ruby + rails:”

 Again, there doesn’t seem to be anything weird happening, unlike the SEOs.

If you know more about why and how this is happening, I’d love to learn! Please do share in the comments.