September 28, 2023

On July 24, Elon Musk made the shock announcement that Twitter could be rebranding as ‘X’, with a brand new emblem and model identification arriving shortly after that announcement. Shortly after, began redirecting (302) to

Any skilled search engine optimization is aware of how perilous a significant web site migration could be, and has been accumulating authority for 17 years. Listed below are a few stats from Moz’s Area Overview device:

Screenshot of stats from Moz’s Domain Overview tool

These are numbers most websites might solely envy, with practically 12M rating key phrases on alone. Over time, might recuperate many or a lot of the non-branded rankings, however what in regards to the fairness in searches for the Twitter model?

Model search: It’s sophisticated

In line with our information, there are 8.4 Million searches a month in america only for the phrase “twitter” (and that’s in all probability a conservative estimate), however model search goes far deeper than that. Contemplate the Google consequence for simply the letters “tw”:

Image showing Google result for just the letters “tw”

Not solely does Twitter rank #1 for simply “tw”, however Google is sending sturdy model indicators, together with expanded sitelinks and a Data Graph entry. Whereas many attainable websites and searches start with “tw”, Google has decided that is — in their very own lingo — the dominant interpretation. That is spectacular even by large-brand requirements.

One thing distinctive to social networks is that folks additionally pair different search phrases with the community’s title. So, we see many searches for outstanding figures and types, reminiscent of:

We additionally see brand-like indicators for matters paired with the phrase “Twitter”, outstanding Twitter personalities (even with out the model title), inquiries like “Twitter search” and “Twitter login”, and official spinoffs, like “Tweetdeck.” Even well-liked memes can return brand-like indicators.

As well as, Twitter qualifies for a novel, carousel-style format just like the one beneath:

Image showing Twitter's unique carousel-style format

This sort of prime actual property on Google outcomes could carry over to the X model, however that’s totally at Google’s discretion and will rely on the energy of the brand new model.

Quantifying Twitter’s model energy

Throughout the roughly 12 Million search queries Twitter ranked for in Moz’s information, we examined simply those that acquired 150+ searches per thirty days and the place Twitter ranked on web page one, which left us with about 600,000 distinctive queries.

We analyzed these 600K queries for model indicators and ended up with 10,149 search queries. Whereas this may increasingly not seem to be quite a bit in comparison with 12 Million, it represents a large affect of the Twitter model. All advised, these 10K queries drive over 18 Million searches per thirty days.

The issue for ‘X’ is that the overwhelming majority of those brand-like searches reference Twitter or related model phrases (like “tweet” and “Tweetdeck”) immediately. To recapture this search quantity and visitors long-term, ‘X’ should attain a degree of brand name consciousness the place searchers are actively searching for phrases like “Taylor Swift X” and “Fortnite X’.

The complicated historical past of at present ranks for no key phrases in our databases, because of various long-term points. It doesn’t take a variety of math to inform you that this drives zero model searches. This case will undoubtedly change, however faces one other problem — it has been used to deal with various websites (with a number of house owners) and in addition has redirected to Musk’s wider model portfolio. To grasp’s greater than 25-year historical past, you actually need to see it.

The early years (1995–2000)

Utilizing the Web Archive’s Wayback Machine, we will seize a little bit of this complicated historical past. The area was initially owned by Dave Weinstein, who launched the positioning in 1995 or 1996, in fairly typical mid-Nineteen Nineties vogue:

Image showing the original domain of

Sadly, the checklist of stuff that Rob Walker would possibly need is misplaced to the sands of time.

In 1999, Elon Musk purchased the area for the primary time (he would later re-buy it from eBay). Right here’s a screenshot from early 2000 of the unique on-line banking web site:

Screenshot of April 1999 of the original online banking site

Till the latest rebranding of Twitter to ‘X’, this 2000-era web site was the one one to ever home the model as initially envisioned.

The PayPal years (2000–2011)

Because of a rocky period at PayPal after the merger of and Confinity, the model gave method to numerous PayPal manufacturers. Within the spring of 2000, the positioning was briefly rebranded as “X-Finance” after which “X-PayPal” (proven beneath):

screenshot of X-Paypal interface from the year 2000

By the autumn of 2000, Musk was ousted as CEO at PayPal, and this web site was rebranded as simply “PayPal” in early 2001. This continued for some time, with finally redirecting to the PayPal web site. The ‘X’ model was nowhere to be seen at this level.

In late 2007, was resurrected as PayPal Labs (captured right here in 2008):

Screenshot of PayPal Labs

PayPal Labs continued for some time, adopted by a handful of PayPal experiments, together with this “ weblog” that seems to don’t have anything to do with the ‘X’ model (display screen shot from July 2009):

Screenshot of blog posts from June and July of 2009

These look like the one two posts the weblog ever had, till it was changed in spring of 2010 with the PayPal-X Developer Community (to not be confused with X-PayPal):

Screenshot of PayPal-X Developer Network

In summer time of 2011, this web site was changed by a brand new three way partnership of eBay (which had acquired PayPal in 2002), PayPal, and Magento known as “X-commerce”.[merce] (2011–2014)

X.commerce, a play on the area, housed “a brand new enterprise in commerce” that sought to combine the eBay, PayPal, and Magento developer communities:

Screenshot of X.commerce

X.commerce went by means of various iterations, surviving till February of 2014. At that time, eBay appears to have given up on the X.commerce enterprise and redirected on to eBay’s company web site (

The Boring hat (2017–2023)

In July of 2017, Elon Musk repurchased and changed the home-page with simply the letter ‘x’. Quickly after, redirected to The Boring Firm, however to not the home-page — to a web page to purchase a hat:

Image showing the page for The Boring Company

Roughly a yr later, this was changed by an underneath development web page harking back to the late Nineteen Nineties, whereas dwelling unironically in 2018:

Screenshot of the page stating it was 'under construction'

This web page quickly returned to the letter ‘x’ on a white background. Observe that the essential ‘x’ web page contained no HTML supply code in any respect nor any clues in regards to the nature of the ‘X’ model or web site. It was actually only one character. This continued till July of 2023, when was 302-redirected to, which is its present standing as of this writing.

The lengthy, unsure street forward

The unusual historical past of — no matter my private emotions — is an search engine optimization and branding nightmare. has been used and abused by numerous house owners and has spent years simply being the letter ‘x’ on a white web page, with completely no clues as to the model’s goal.

Throughout this time, has constructed roughly zero on-line model fairness and ranks for nothing. Quickly redirecting to is a short-term resolution, and presumably itself will completely redirect to in some unspecified time in the future. I’ve no data of Musk’s plans — that is the one affordable approach for to change into the everlasting dwelling of the ‘X’ model.

At that time, dangers dropping a considerable portion of the ten,149 Twitter-branded search queries and 18 Million searches per thirty days beforehand mentioned. Reclaiming these searches and the ensuing visitors isn’t just an search engine optimization job, however would require constructing the ‘X’ model within the minds of customers to the purpose that they routinely seek for celebrities, manufacturers, and matters mixed with ‘X’ or X-related phrases.

The long-term success of is anybody’s guess, however because the ‘X’ model is moved to, I predict — primarily based on my experiences with even reasonably troublesome comparable transitions — a considerable lack of search visitors for at the very least 3-6 months. Given the facility of the present Twitter model and the lengthy, unusual historical past of, losses might simply final over a yr.