November 13, 2007: Digg is a social bookmarking site that allows people to discover and share content from anywhere on the web. Registered users can vote submissions up (“Digging” them) or down (the “Bury” feature) with a goal of collaborating (Digging) on what the best content is online. The most popular content appears on the home page of Digg.com as new stories and submissions are voted on by the community.
What that means for Website Marketers and Digg Users:
- Online Marketers: From a website owner perspective, content that makes its way to the Digg home page receives thousands of visitors, impacting traffic, brand awareness and inbound links. The speed at which inbound links are generated (after hitting the Digg home page) can be one of the most effective ways, time-wise to link build (and we already know that link building is extremely important for search engine rankings)
- Digg Users: From a user perspective, people enjoy finding unique and interesting information, news and resources without having to visit 20 different websites.
However, there are rules (both spoken and unspoken) and guidelines that contribute to or prevent your success in getting a submission to the home page, which range from the seemingly obvious to the somewhat complex. These 75 suggestions, best practices and resources are designed to improve your chances of successful Digg submissions and give you guidance on your journey through this popular and competitive social community.
Background Information (Numbers & Digg Statistics)
- Digg receives over 18 million visitors per month, growing over 500% since September 2006 (according to Compete.com)
- Content submitted to Digg, that makes the Digg home page, can receive over 10,000 unique visitors in 1 hour
- The average submission making the home page receives over 100 inbound links
- Links can be attributed to bloggers picking up popular stories, influential media personnel, government websites and digg mirrors & clones
- Note that only 0.7% of all Digg submissions make the home page.
- The top 100 users have a large influence on home page content. 56% of all submissions making the home page are contributed by those users.
(Statistics from Neil Patel at Pronet Advertising, during SMX Social Media)
- According to Federated Media Publishing, The Digg audience is made up of Business and IT influencers working in technology. The vast majority are male, between 18 – 39, with a household income over $75,000. Nearly 40% publish their own blog.
- Digg receives an estimated 75,110,000 page views per month (Federated Media)
General Digg Information and Recommendations
- Create a basic profile which should contain as much personal information as you feel comfortable with
- Create a unique and recognizable icon or avatar to represent yourself (this is important for differentiating your account)
- It’s just as important to “Digg” stories as it is to submit (contribute) stories. This is a social community and not a submission service
- “Digg” articles by clicking the “digg it” icon next to each post
Screenshot: Example of a submission on Digg
- The standard Digg submission consists of a web page and a specific title, description and submission to an applicable category for that web page
- For Digg submissions: The content you are submitting must be perceived “of value” to the community
- A good way to determine relative value is by searching for content (on Digg) that has previously been successful (made popular) and is related to the overall business strategy of a particular party
Don’t Do These Things
- Don’t create multiple profiles and Digg your own submissions (your profiles will be banned)
- Don’t have everyone at your office Digg your submission (Digg looks at IP addresses closely when they seem suspicious. Your company’s IP range can be banned and your story buried.)
- Don’t randomly bury stories that push your story off the top of the upcoming submissions pages (that’s just not appropriate and doesn’t work)
- Don’t keyword stuff your titles or descriptions (traditional, old-school SEO tactics are not advised)
- Don’t submit duplicate stories (you will be prompted to check to make certain it is not duplicate subject matter)
- Don’t take someone else’s material, repurpose the content on your own website, and then try to submit it as an original piece of information (commonly referred to as “blogspam”)
- Don’t duplicate things that have not succeeded (research what has succeeded in making the Digg home page)
- As a general rule, don’t submit your own material
- Note that if you are a regular, positive contributor, it may not be an issue to submit your own websites and content, but use good judgment in this
Examples of What Can Work Well on Digg
- Lists work well (Top 10 Lists, 25 Most Important, 17 Best, etc)
- Tutorials, how-to guides etc seems to work (as relevant to the community)
- Offbeat News, Humor can work (as it is deemed relevant to the community)
- Important newsworthy events seem to work (but make certain be the first to report and always submit the original source)
- If your content does not appear to be appropriate (but you really want it to get to the popular page), you need to figure out how to position your material so that it will be perceived as valuable by the Digg community
- Remember whom the audience is that you are trying to contribute to. You will not be successful if you do not understand the community
What Does Not Work (Under Normal Situations)
- Material designed or intended to immediately generate sales or commercial actions
- Material that is blatantly self-promotional
- Material that is a duplicate (subject-wise or web page-specific) of an already popular or existing story or summarizes an original story or article (see above section, “Don’t Do These Things” for more information)
- Material of a topical nature that historically has never done well (example: articles promoting our current President)
Specific Submission Suggestions
- You should invest the time in creating informative and relevant titles and descriptions for your submission
- Your submission should be placed in the most appropriate category or sub-category
- Correct capitalization is recommended for most submission titles, but there are exceptions based on desired objectives
- You should use actual numerical characters in titles when appropriate (i.e. “75”, not “Seventy Five”)
- You should double check your spelling, grammar and word usage
- You should not copy and paste exact titles and descriptions from the submission opportunity (show that you took the time to read and comprehend what you are contributing)
Getting Into The Digg Community
- You should Digg other people’s submissions that you find interesting or appropriate
- You should comment on submissions when you have something of value to contribute
- Stupid comment like “this rocks” will hurt you
- You should not just Digg for the sake of inflating your “articles dugg” numbers
- You should invite people that you think will enjoy the Digg community and share your interests online
- You can find other people interested in similar content and information by viewing their profile history and evaluating the content that they enjoy and the categories that they are most interested in
- You should Digg submissions from people that you would like to have in your network but you should not Digg submissions just to get them in your network (do you really enjoy what they are contributing?)
- You should seriously consider when and how you decide to use Digg’s “shout” feature
- You should consider whom you add to your network that you do not know with some care (because they may spam you with shouts or try to spam your friends)
- There’s nothing wrong with removing a Digg friend if it turns out you do not follow their submissions or actually enjoy the same things (or they shout at you incessantly or don’t digg your submissions ever etc etc)
- Getting Diggs for your submissions from community members outside of your Digg network can be even more valuable than Digg’s from members in your network (as it relates to getting to the Digg home page)
Once Your Submission Hits the Home Page
- You should pay attention to the comments made within the submission
- You should contribute to the discussion within the comments assuming there is something relevant to add or discuss
- Don’t comment on everything that is added. There is nothing more obvious that says “I am promoting this” than defending every comment.
- Comments and visitor traffic will escalate exponentially even in the first 5 minutes the submission is on the home page. Don’t assume you have time to react effectively, later in the day.
Preparing For Your Website To Hit The Home Page of Digg
- You should be prepared for the massive amount of requests your web server will have to handle in a very short period of time
- You should not just hear your server administrator say everything will be alright unless they have already had prior experience dealing with a site that got voted to the Digg home page. Show them this example and this example amongst other references.
- You should be ready to contribute in the Digg commentary of your submission and on your own site’s comments section (the majority of the commentary will usually appear on the Digg submission however)
- You should not have firewalls funneling users and you should have a caching system in place
What You May Not Realize About Digg
- The simplicity of submitting content to Digg makes people assume it should be easy to be successful
- It’s much more likely you will have success on Digg if you have an existing network of users or connections on Digg already
- Contributing to other people’s interests and submissions is the best way to network with other Diggers on Digg
- It takes time to build this network if you do not already have it (quite possibly many months of time)
- How you write your titles and descriptions can be just as important (if not equally as important) as the content you are submitting
- You should really enjoy Digg or at least be savvy enough to develop a Digg strategy if you want to be successful in the Digg community
- It is definitely possible to hit the Digg home page, regardless of everything said here, if your content is just that good
- Those that tell you it is just about the network and not about the content have simply never submitted anything worth making the home page.
- It’s difficult to really understand the Digg community, how it works and what makes some content successful (and most unsuccessful) if you have not spent the time to be a part of the community.
Tools & Resources For Digg
- A look at Digg’s Top 100 Users
- Brian Shaler’s 3rd Party Digg Development Tools
- Review Captured “Bury” Data on Digg Submissions
- DuggTrends Digg Graph – Plots The History of a Digg Submission by Votes
- Digg Spy – A Real-Time (but limited) View of Digg Activity
- 29 Super Awesome Tools Built on the Digg API
- The Digg Toolbox: 70+ Digg-related Scripts, Tools, and Tutorials
This is a collection of ideas, tips, best practices and suggested guidelines related to success on Digg that can be found in many different places and are echoing many successful Diggers and Social Media Experts. It’s important to note that strict adherence to everything mentioned here in no means guarantees you success in your Digg endeavors. Nor is it recommended that you blindly follow these ideas without considering your own experiences and personal/business priorities. Only through actual exploration and involvement can you really understand what makes the Digg community of value and how you can successfully apply it to your own social media strategies.
Special thanks and appreciation goes to Brent Csutoras, Rand Fishkin, Brian Wallace, Tamar Weinberg and Chris Winfield for taking the time to review this post ahead of time for accuracy, perspective and editorial suggestions. Your feedback was greatly appreciated and incredibly valuable in bringing this post to life.