Did Google give Digg a penalty?
Buried in the middle of an otherwise fairly uninteresting New York Times article about Digg is the following piece of information, emphasis added by me:
According to Quantcast, an online audience measurement firm, Digg’s domestic traffic has dropped sharply in recent months, from 27.1 million unique users in April to 13.7 million in July. By contrast, Facebook had 145.2 million domestic users in June, according to comScore. While not giving specifics, Mr. Desai of Digg attributes the decline in domestic traffic to changes in Google’s search function that resulted in fewer Digg stories showing up in Google searches.
Yet a more pivotal reason that Digg is falling behind, analysts say, is that users are simply spending more time on Facebook and Twitter than they are on Digg. Instead of Digging, many social media users know that they can post a story they like on Twitter or Facebook.
When was the last time you saw a story page from Digg ranking? Now I think about it I’ve not seen one for months. In 2008 Digg used to outrank the original piece of content on quite a number of occasions even though the page added no value aside from a few dozen inane comments.
Some background in a 2009 post from Danny about social media sites. Google is quite right to do this but if Digg wants the traffic back they need to start trying to add some value to the pages rather than just keeping doing something that Google clearly sees no value in.