Top 1,000 Twitter accounts and how sports teams/athletes fair in it

This week a new Twitter ranking list was released, something that has become more common as analytics tools become better and interest by those on the lists in where they stand increases.  This one was by US company Majestic SEO who have developed their own way of ranking that does not rely on the number of followers but on the accounts prominence on the web.

According to Forbes, Majestic SEO’s method uses ranking factors that include the number of links to a Twitter account and the quality of the website linking to that account. It also removes any influence from Twitter, including the number of followers. It allows a website to register one point per Twitter account; multiple pages within one website that each link to a specific Twitter account only count once.  To explain further, Majestic SEO’s Marketing Director Dixon Jones told Forbes that;

This list is different because it is based on the number and, importantly, the quality of websites that link to the Twitter profiles. Whilst other scores like Klout aim to measure things like the engagement of people, this intrinsically requires data from Twitter itself. Majestic requires no input from Twitter, and the score cannot be affected easily by manipulating tweets. Lastly, our list does not assume the “influencer” is a person. It may be a technology or a brand, and it may be in any language.  So in short, our list is independently collected data based on engagement from other websites, not other Twitter users, and is totally global and language agnostic.

We measured the citation flow, trust flow, external back links, referencing domains, referencing IP addresses, and referencing subnets. For those that are really interested in what these terms all mean, there is a video on this at

This all gives another interesting insight into who is allegedly doing Twitter well and who needs to step their game up.  The top 10 in the final list consisted of; Joomla!, Barak Obama, Twitter, YouTube, Lady Gaga, Prestashop, Justin Bieber, Mashable, Squarespace and Wikileaks.  Some very familiar names in there in what is a very US dominated affair.

So where does sport, and more interestingly for us European sport, sit within this list?  Well the actual list you could get from Majestic SEO (in the form of an Excel sheet) was down to 50,000.  So it makes it a pretty comprehensive study, but for this post we decided to take a look at just the top 1000.

Interestingly the top Sportsperson on the list was Rio Ferdinand (@RioFerdy5) at number 84!  He far outranked any other athlete or team that there is, showing how influential social media has become for a player nearing the end of his career.  For him it has developed into something much bigger than am sure he ever hoped, and may well become something he is as well known for as his footballing days in the future.  5 Mag and his range of clothing looks like just being the start for the former England star.

The highest ranked football club is Real Madrid (@RealMadrid).  Now this might come as a surprise to some as FC Barcelona beat them in terms of numbers of fans/followers on almost every platform they are both present on.  The club have been at the forefront of innovation within the space for a long time, with Adam Bader (Social Media Manager) and the team doing a great job.  If any of you are interested in where FC Barcelona ranked, it is number 3,623!  Some work to be done there maybe.

It’s an interesting read if you get the chance.  You can download the whole list by going to and am sure can pick out other interesting pieces of information from there in addition to what you read here.  To skim through the rest of the Top 1,000 and pick out interesting teams/athletes of note;

84   Rio Ferdinand

200  Real Madrid

257  NBA

287  NFL

301  Andy Murray

313  Chelsea FC

390  Rafa Nadal

452  Olympics

457  Cristiano Ronaldo

589  AC Milan

597  Usain Bolt

807  Arsenal FC

976  Diego Forlan

984  Gerrard Pique

Some that made it onto the list but just missed out on the top 1,000 spots were; Wayne Rooney (1286), Manchester United (2424), FC Barcelona (3623), AS Roma (8258) and Man City (3855).

What do you think about the metrics used and do you think a leaderboard is the best way to encourage businesses/teams/athletes to work harder and do better on the platform?


About author

Daniel McLaren
Daniel McLaren 671 posts

Dan McLaren launched Digital Sport (formerly UK Sports Network) back in January 2010 and has worked in the digisport industry with adidas, We Are Social, Copa90 and Pulse amongst others. He's now a freelance social media guy living in the East Midlands and podcast host with the Digital Sport podcast on Audioboom, iTunes and Stitcher Radio.

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