How To Search Twitter Users by Bio

by Ann Smarty November 15th, 2011 

I have noticed that there are two main methods being used to search Twitter. The first is a direct search for specific people, especially celebrities who have turned to the social networking site to keep in touch with fans and one another. The second is by taking advantage of the great live search options where you utilize the unique algorithm Twitter uses for their users.

Twitter bio

But many people don't know that there is another way you can search, and that is by searching by keywords in users' bios. Those are the paragraphs that users write about themselves in their profile pages. They can be a convenient way to find like minded individuals or Twitter accounts associated with other sites or groups.

Of course, while there are personal reasons to do this like building new friendships with others, there are great marketing capabilities associated. You can use these searches to find common trends, create statistic reports or focus a campaign. You can also use it to take a peek at the competition.

The best part is that you can find official representatives or employers of any company to make a pitch or request a quote.

1. Twitter Search: Limited

The most straightforward way to search for people is to use the official search platform located here. Sadly (and weirdly) it is quite limited: all you can is to provide a search terms and scroll through results:

Twitter search

2. Google Search: High Proximity

Another cool tool we always use is Google. Here you can have lots of flexibility. Here's the search command to restrict the search to users' bios:

[site:twitter.com bio:*keyword -inurl:status]

(-inurl:status) filters out individual status updates

The only downside is that this way you'll get high-proximity results – meaning that, as a rule, [bio:] and [your keyword] will be very close on the page.

Google search

You can also filter out users that have the same keyword in a username:

[site:twitter.com bio:*keyword -inurl:status -intitle:google]

Google search

3. Twiangulate: "Real People"

If you are sick of search tools bringing up more bots than people, you will love this app. Twiangulate works by filtering results based on a unique algorithm that separates fake profiles from the real and active ones. They call this 'meaningful searching', and it works beautifully.

They also have compare lists, biggest user sections and other tabs that can be helpful in your search. Unfortunately, it will search on various criteria, not just on bio. But that is one section it looks at and you only have to fill in what you want it to look for.

You can ignore the 'city' and 'username' sections.

Besides, it supports a few sweet boolean operators:

  • Both words in the bio: hot & dog
  • One of the words in the bio: hot | dog
  • One word but not the other: hot !dog
  • Exact match: "hot dog"

Twiangulate

4. LocaFollow: Combine Several Searches

The available search criteria options LocaFollow offers are expansive, and include location, keywords in bio, words used in user name, and recent tweets.

You can get a lot based on an entire sentence of keywords, for example by writing Seattle based freelance writers on technology. That can be a great way to network, find potential guest posters for a blog or set up interviews for upcoming projects.

Because you can combine any of that criteria you can focus it in ways that you can't with the other two tools. Because of that, it is my personal favorite way to target Twitter searches, especially based on bios.

LocaFollow

Let's Recap!

  Official Twitter Search Google Advanced Operators Twiangulate LocaFollow
Search by a keyword in a bio only (not username) No Yes No Yes
Combine several search parameters No Not effectively Yes Yes
Boolean operator support (to combine several keywords, for exact match, or exclude any word) Yes Yes Yes No

Are you aware of any other fun tools to search Twitter users by keyword in the bio? Please let us know!

Also see:

Ann Smarty

Ann Smarty is a blogger and SEO consultant and professional blogger. Check out Ann's personal project My Blog Guest - the forum meant to connect guest bloggers to blog owner for plenty of mutual benefits. Ann also provides guest blogging services.

SEOsmarty.com

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2 Responses to “How To Search Twitter Users by Bio”

  1. Kevin Garber says:

    Interesting post, especially liked the google tip, our product has a feature whereby you can search the bios of people that you follow, which can be pretty useful in certain circumstances.

    Hope this helps.

    Kevin