Digg Banned From SERPs (Updated)

Updated (see below)

I’m always following SEPS’s and big companies out there getting slapped by Penguin and Panda updates.  Matt Cutts talked last week about a Panda update this past Friday at SMX last week.  Was Digg impacted by this update?  It appears so.  Could this have anything to do with them announcing that they are starting a new Google Reader?

If you search for “Digg” in Google you will get the following results:

digg banned from serps


As you can see, Digg totally got slapped.  (leaked by DataDial)  Could this have anything to do with Digg releasing last week that it’s going to start up a Google Reader type service as Google is shutting down the Google Reader service in a short period.

Is Digg getting slapped because of their millions and millions of spam links out there.  Could this be the lastest Panda slap?  As you can see from the results below, Digg is no longer ranked in the SERPS:

digg panda slap


There are ZERO results for Digg.com in the results.  So what exactly was the update that took Digg out of the rankings?  Does anyone have any insite about what’s going on?  What do you think happend?

My guesses on why Digg got slapped:

  • They got TONS of links and a million people linking to their site in a day.  This is a site with a lot of links in the past but not a whole lot of recent links.  Then all the sudden a million links from a TON of sources started linking to them.  Google’s algo slapps them and causes a manual review.
  • They finally got caught for buying links!
  • In the past people had gone to link networks to buy links to their bio pages, these networks finally got slapped with the latest update.  Tons of links from bad sites were pointing to Digg, they got slapped.
  • Shady link building
  • Link networks finally catching up with them cause of them or their users buying links
  • “sex capsules” is their 10th highest anchor text with 100’s of links
  • Google going hard on Duplicate Content

I haven’t looked much into their linking but these could be some early signs that Google is going after ever site out there that’s doing things wrong (according to them/users).

Let us know what you think of this and if you have an additional insite in your comments below!



When we broke the news about Digg earlier this morning, we checked their Robots.txt file.  There wasn’t anything there.

If they didn’t want to be seen or wanted to take their site out of the index… their text would have read:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /

But there was nothing there as of this morning.  Right now it currently reads:

User-agent: *

Google contacted me directly a few minutes ago “We’re sorry about the inconvenience this morning to people trying to search for Digg. In the process of removing a spammy link on Digg.com, we inadvertently applied the webspam action to the whole site. We’re correcting this, and the fix should be deployed shortly.”

I think there is more to this story unless there was some sort of Panda/Penguin update.  I truly think Digg was updating their site and forgot to put in their robots.txt file, but now it’s in there.  Here is proof:



This screenshot was taken at at 9:31 PST, around 20 min before I posted the info.

Having robots.txt issues doesn’t mean that you’ll be banned or de-indexed from Google search results, however it can cause crawling issues. These crawling issues may lead to your site disappearing from search results. Is this the other part to the story?

Also, Google said it has to do with a spammy link.  See screenshot below of only spammy link I can find:

spammy digg link


Is Google penalizing this site?  I see it fully in the rankings and seems like a legit site, but is this site a spammy link-farm and the type of site Google is going after?  Also, was there an update today that went after these types of sites?

What is going on?  Who’s fault is this?

John Rampton

John Rampton

President at Adogy
John Rampton is an entrepreneur, full-time computer nerd, and PPC expert. President at Adogy. I enjoy helping people and am always online to chat +/@johnrampton
John Rampton

Comments are closed.

63 thoughts on “Digg Banned From SERPs (Updated)

  1. I will only say one thing .. Just do not depend on Google only for earnings . We must have another source of income also . Now i do not believe on Google at all . Google can do anything

    1. Google is doing the right thing by deindexing a site which has lot of spammy backlinks completely, because they just want to rank at no.1 and get lot of search traffic without adding any value to the users. Penguin update has certainly taught a lesson or two to even some of the most used and well known sites on the web which follow shady practices. Unnatural link building, complete domination of spammy & irrelevant links in the link profile might be the major cause of this penalty for Digg.

      1. So if users post their links on Digg then send a lot of spammy backlinks to the site, Digg should be dumped from the search results? This is ridiculous. It is one thing to try to cut down on web spam, but getting rid of any site that has less than great backlinks is not the way to do it. No need to bother trying to improve your content or build a decent backlink profile anymore – you just set some software to spam your competitor’s sites – job done.

  2. Most possibly it’s not even Digg itself but all those fin those who have been posting their stories on it and then trying to push them in Google.

      1. Interesting. site:digg.com is working for me as well (in Southern California). But if you refresh a few times, it alternates between showing and no results. I wonder if it’s rolling back out, or still being pulled.

  3. This was not Panda. Only manual action will remove a site from Google’s index. Either this is a serious mistake on Google’s part or Digg somehow got themselves in very hot water, but don’t don’t blame panda, which isn’t a penalty at any rate, at least it is no more a penalty then if you get a C in ecom 101 while other guys got A’s and B’s. You weren’t penalized — the other guys probably just worked harder than you. That’s the real panda effect.

  4. Your assumptions are exactly right John. Digg got a massive slap from the G. I think tons of spam links and unauthorised link sells etc are the main reasons behind the curtain. Or Mr.G has any “personal” indifference to Digg? Anyway, thanks for sharing this first on net.

  5. Its hard to understand, why a site like Digg has been banned. I am not sure but reasons which you had mentioned above should not lead to such a hard penalty.
    May be its a combination of both Linking and duplicate content which is being shared at Digg. I don’t think it has any thing related to the news that Digg is also launching some service similar to Google reader.
    This should not create such a penalty, but its hard to understand, interesting time ahead for search industry.

  6. I think goog,eprobably factors in how many unscrupulous sites a site links out to (blog farms). I’m guess most people have abandoned digg in fabour of twitter, reditt and other sites thatcaren’t gamed.

    Dig stuck in the past and just got fladded by seo spammers.

    Google finally decided, Ok, enough now, how can we take your site seriously if you can’t take it seriously yourself.. A they hit the ban button

  7. Could it just be a error on googles part? Maybe it happened by accident?

    I don’t know Diggs past or heard any stories about them buying links.

  8. There may be only two reasons why digg got banned. Either their announcement of Google reader replacement or duplicate content+link sales,, Either way, its hard to digest that a huge site like digg got completely vanished from Google results :0 RIP Digg; Its better you start a new Search Engine and compete against Google.

  9. Panda?

    You are suggesting that they got slapped for bad links by the Panda algorithm?
    You know, the Panda Algo that looks for low quality content?

    Penguin is the one that dealt with Links (in part) – not Panda.

    1. Good find, except I already checked that earlier today. It had a 404 error this morning. The disallow means that they are not disallowing anything. if they had a slash in there it would mean that they are blocking everything… but they aren’t. So there is more to the story.

      User-agent: *
      Disallow: /

      That would block everything… but what they have will allow serps to scrape them.

      1. Not having a robots.txt would not — cannot – remove a site from any search engine index. Even if they blocked all search engines, all currently indexed pages would remain. And I just saw the update — so it was a Google screw up. Only a search engine can remove a site from it’s index.

  10. So Digg was not a design change, but rather an entirely new site. They only thing that remained of Digg was the domain name and it has been abandoned since then.

    DIgg votes don’t even matter and all it has become is a Bitly version of Paper.li.

    It has 0 unique content and should be removed from search.

  11. There’s no problem with digg in my location, I search site:digg.com. About 1,030,000 results (0.12 seconds) .
    I’m from indonesia.

  12. I have checked site:digg.com 10 to 15 minutes back and couldn’t see any result but now I can see that digg is showing in SERP (1,020,000 results)

  13. really google like lost , try fixing the spam in index and punish all , white black pink … hat are punished .
    And if you see all google results are a mess now !

  14. Before the cause of this deindexing was revealed, this article suggests Panda or Penguin could be the culprit. Neither Panda nor Penguin would completely remove a site from the index.

  15. Digg was a giant site. Tons of story was published with spam stories. I think it is for Google Penguin. Cause they have much more un-natural links. As they have much traffic on that active time, Google did not penalise them. It is got effected when Digg change their design. That time Digg loose too much traffic. I think it is the another reason. Please John make me correct if I am wrong and thanks for sharing the valuable info with us.

  16. I just searched for site:digg.com and there was a normal SERP displaying digg’s pages. Does that mean, google has again reinstated the site in SERP?

  17. Digg is now back on Google.com (from here India) It might be some Google server update or something .. !!!

  18. Yes they are back, the big deal of SEO world again just trying to claim free traffic out of pointless articles that even they don’t know what happened.

  19. Digg has a long history of being a monumentally mismanaged company. In its heyday, it was said to be valued somewhere in the hundreds of millions to possibly even billions of dollars, but sold for just a little more than the value of the domain itself.

    I don’t claim to know what’s up with this, but Digg has never been a good “social signaler” as to what constitutes content worthy of appearing in search the way Twitter, Facebook and G+ do.

    Voting rings… Politics (not national politics, but inter-site politics) determined what content was featured, and it had nothing whatsoever to do with the quality of the content itself. I wonder if Reddit will be next…

  20. Digg is but a shell of its former self. The site used to have archives with user comments. As far as I can tell, that has all been removed. They shouldn’t be ranking for much more than their brand name at this point.

  21. It’s a chaos Digg is back because it is such a huge site i can’t imagine any other ABC company recovering that quickly and getting a conformation message by Matt Cutts stating we are Sorry We Accidentally Penalized Your Site.

  22. Now Digg in google index. Google always does the same mistake many times. You see in interflora case. After 2-3 days google again index interflora. Damn.. what happen to google?????

  23. I guess the excitement is over and Digg seem to be back. Maybe a follow up post on the actual or estimated causes is discussed.
    I don’t think Google would have deindexed a site of Digg’s stature – or could they?

  24. digg is fully indexed in google on my side. but its just normal it fluctuate .. maybe a gwt webmaster error haha :)
    something smelll fishy ;p

  25. It is really very tough to judge what is the actual reason for getting slapped. Anyway Digg is getting recover, index page is now 30.