Digg just totally killed linkbait

  • 0
  • April 3, 2009

Digg has released a toolbar called the Diggbar and in the process has pretty much killed any reason for website owners to try and promote their sites on Digg.

The toolbar works by capturing the target page in an iframe and shortening the URL, you can see it in action here.


The Diggbar is going to be fantastic for Digg but no so much for content producers. Basically Digg has turned into a Tweetmeme style service with millions of users already.

The main issue with the new Diggbar is that Digg no longer links directly to stories – they are linking to the shortened Diggbar URL instead. This means that not only do you lose any links from digg.com but you also lose the links you get from lazy bloggers who will just link to the shortened Diggbar URL.

To add insult to injury the Diggbar source code has lots of extra content such as comments and related stories as well as an SEO friendly title so will outrank the original post in a lot of cases.

Finally you will notice that the Diggbar links both to the Digg story page and the page on the source website. Guess which one gets the optimised anchor text?

We stopped using Digg for linkbait 9 months ago, I suggest you do the same.

Patrick Altoft

About Patrick Altoft

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events.

  • http://fadidesign.com Fadi

    it’s like stumble upon but it’s called digg

  • http://www.seo-check.dk Steen Seo Öhman

    Interesting stuff.

    Digg is not that big in Europe – apart from UK. I’m sure the potential is limited for Digg, when the cut of the content producers like this.

  • http://stever.ca Stever

    Seems everyone wants to be a Twit and destroy the nature of linking.

    Patrick, you’ll want to remove the Digg button from your sociable pluggin.

    • http://www.blogstorm.co.uk Patrick Altoft

      I just have it to look pretty, been banned from digg for years.

  • http://www.leedsseo.com stuartpturner

    Boo! I’ve never been a major fan of Digg to be honest but this at least gives me a reason to avoid it!

  • http://www.mattchedit.com/ Matt Chatterley

    Don’t forget – people follow links too.

    If you have a story (or other content) which is likely to get front-paged on any of these sites, and bring in attention – then thats worth it.

    I’d agree that ‘digging’ stuff as a matter of course is probably relatively pointless, though.

  • http://www.techipedia.com Tamar Weinberg

    I’ve been saying this for over a year – why are marketers marketing Digg? Clearly, Digg doesn’t give a damn about you guys.

  • Kyle

    There is a way to remove this, click the arrow in the digg bar next to feedback and click “always hide the diggbar”. This still doesn’t make it a good decision, and who knows how many users will hide the bar.

  • http://twitter.com/chrisbennett Chris Bennett

    Glad you brought this to light with all the other praise going on about the new toolbar.

    Digg is trying to do everything in its power to be profitable and if that means screwing everyone but them on the way they will do it. I haven’t relied on Digg for links for over a year, plus the links I see from SU or Reddit or Twitter users and their blogs are far more quality than 99% of the lazy blogger links you get from Digg users.

    I have had articles get 1,000 links just from Twitter passing it around and people finding it that way. We don’t need Digg anymore.

  • http://thelostjacket.com Stuart Foster

    Wow…looks like I am definitely NOT going back to Digg. I wish they’d just understand that marketers like using their service too and not just to promote their own interests. The redirect of the link to Digg is extremely shady…

  • Rob

    Javascript is your friend.

    A standard iframe breaker negates the problem.

    4 lines of code.

  • davet

    I KNOW!!! It’s almost as though they don’t like being spammed!

  • http://brandonanderson.org/ Brandon Anderson

    Correct me if I’m wrong here, but wouldn’t; bit.ly, tinyurl.com, is.gd etc etc. doing the same thing? No one has brought this up with those services before.

    or am I misunderstanding?

    All the best,

  • http://www.ohmanresearch.com Steen Seo Öhman

    Must say I agree, I think Twitter will take over in generating traffic to the Blogs. Twitter is growing fast in Europe, and I hope see a breakthrough in Denmark any day now.

  • http://synthesis.williamgunn.org Mr. Gunn

    Iframes do suck, and Digg sucks worse, but the content has to come from somewhere, right, so it’s not like they’re copying your content and re-hosting it. What am I missing?

    Oh, is.gd doesn’t have frames, but there are nasty shortening services like ad.vu that have this parasitic activity.

  • http://www.timmyth.com Tim_Myth

    Is there a rel=”nodigg” attribute yet? 😉

  • Dave

    So Digg is essentially stealing content and getting traffic off your pages.

  • http://convert-psd-to-html.com/ PSD Converter Guy

    that’s truly amazing that they can do that… it’s almost like hotlinking an image like google images indirectly does… perhaps they’ll see a lack of hot new content being submitted and revert, however unlikely.

  • http://www.blogercise.com Blogercise

    I personally advise people not to chase Digg traffic in the first place! Think about who uses such sites and why they are using it. Someone typing a term into Google knows what they want, they have a purpose and a goal, they are necessarily search for something. These are the people you want on your site.

    A Digg user is just clicking around and wasting some time, they’ve clicked to your site because Digg has put it up in front of their face, 99 times out of 100 they will have no interest. This is particularly bad if you use eg adsense as Google will reduce the amount it pays you if you are not getting clicks.

    I sometimes feel like the kid from the old fable who points out that the Emperor is naked after all! On the plus side, the more people chasing social traffic the less there are chasing search traffic :)!

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  • http://www.twitter.com/willpao Will

    Digg is just a glorified scraper site now. I think the exodus to reddit will soon be massive.

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  • http://www.aims.co.il Zvi Peretz Cohen

    I wonder how long it will take the folks at Digg to react to this criticism?

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  • http://www.linkbuildr.com Ryan @ Linkbuildr

    Linkbait is still alive on and kicking on Digg. I’ve had a lot of my linkbait for clients pop on Digg and benefit from dozens to hundreds of links from other sites linking to it. Digg has not come close to outranking the original post once it has gone hot.

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