30 October, 2007

What is Digg?

This entry was originally posted on the omnistaretools.com blog. It is reposted here for reference only.

SEO Book
Web 2.0 is all about socialization. Whereas media may have ruled in the 1.0 era, now that 2.0 is here, social media gets all the attention. Even the old guard has brought web 2.0 to their sites: major newspapers like the New York Times and The Guardian have blog comments/forums where users can give feedback, and major television news corporations like Fox News actively requests and airs user generated content, such as video of the recent California fires, or quick comments sent off to The O’Reilly Factor.
But the newest Web 2.0 trend is social bookmarking. Whereas in the old web 1.0 days, setting a bookmark meant using your browser to list a site as your favorite, and then finding that link again meant you had to go back to that same browser on that same computer, now setting a bookmark on your social bookmarking site of choice creates an online link that is not only for your reference, but is open to the public at large to see what you found that was interesting enough to bookmark.
Web 2.0 bookmarks are shared among thousands of viewers, and something as simple as setting a bookmark can now mean that that site will receive thousands of hits within the space of a few days.

What is Digg?

The most popular social bookmarking site by far is Digg. Ostensibly a bookmarking site that’s concentrated on technology news, in reality, Digg is the bookmarking site of choice for the masses. If it’s popular on the web, then you can bet it’s either already on Digg or else it was made popular well beforeDigg‘s occurrence on the scene in 2004.
Digg works like this: someone finds a website or page they find interesting, and they submit it on Digg. Then others browsing Digg see the submission, and, if they also think it is interesting, they bookmark it as well. On Digg, the act of bookmarking is called ‘digging’, and when a site has a number of people who have bookmarked it, then one says that it has been ‘dugg’ that many times.
This is important for you as a webmaster, because when you put up useful content, it is always good to find some way of getting that content to be seen by many viewers. By making it easy for content on your site to be dugg, then you will start to get a lot of new visitors that you otherwise would not otherwise have had. It should be mentioned that, by far, the majority of these visitors will not be high quality leads, but the sheer number of visits you may receive from a popular article on Digg will certainly drive a number of conversions.
When putting up new content, try placing a button next to your article that allows readers to submit to digg.com in a single click. (Some example buttons for this use are available at Digg.com.) If you want, you might try submitting your own articles to get started, but make sure that you only do this for articles that you feel are high-quality enough to not be interpreted as spam. Make sure that when you submit your article, you put in a good description and place it in the correct category; once submitted, these options cannot be modified.

A few caveats…

Having said all of this, I want to make sure that everyone understands that the real reason why digg is useful is for SEO. It is in getting a pagerank 7 or 8 link to your content that Digg really shines. Yes, a popular story may get you more visits in one day than your site usually gets in six months. But these visits are usually by people browsing the general archive, and are not high-quality visitors. Their conversion rate will be far less than what you normally receive. Nevertheless, the high pagerank link makes it all worth it.
A final caveat is that you should remember that each webpage has its own pagerank–your site as a whole does not share pagerank with itself, though if you do extensive internal linking, it will always help. Thus when you get a story dugg, remember that the url of the page that is dugg is the only page on your site to gain that high pagerank link. Nevertheless, do not try digging the main page of your site until you feel truly comfortable with the system, as editing the digg links once posted are impossible, and the system does not allow multiple links to the same url.
Hopefully, this information has gotten you up to speed on at least one web 2.0 site that can help your SEO. In future articles, I will be covering many more.

Digg this story!
Posted by Eric Herboso.
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