Digg Banned From SERPs (Updated)

SMS Text

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 is an entrepreneur, full-time computer nerd, and PPC expert. Founder at payments company Due.com. I enjoy helping people and am always online to... Read Full Bio
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  • Jony

    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

    • Sahil

      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.

      • adina

        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.

  • Bruno Dangelo

    Google remember… Don’t be evil!!!

  • Amrik Virdi

    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.

  • Ladislav Kazan

    For me the site:digg.com is working guys

    • John Rampton

      Where are you located… Here in California isn’t not working. Getting tons of other reports that it’s not in other parts as well!

      • Laura Belliveau

        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.

      • John Rampton

        Looks like it just got back up.

    • Arasan

      No results in Google India also!!

  • Syed Danial Munsif

    Its a shocking news. digg is a very big site. though i was not using it after there recent design change 🙂

  • Christopher Skyi

    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.

  • sid

    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.

  • febri

    may be because violence google policies

  • Rohit

    still not belive digg such giant website is out from Google search…

  • Vishal

    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.

  • Karim

    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

  • Bryon

    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.

  • Shubh

    Digg is one of the biggest social bookmark website. Who is next ?

  • Radha Krishna

    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.

  • Talha Tayyub

    So not what steps you should expect from digg. They have to do something to make happy goggle and remain in online market.

  • Lyndon NA (theAutocrat)


    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.

  • Thomas Rosenstand

    Or could it be due to their robots.txt file: http://digg.com/robots.txt

    • John Rampton

      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.

      • Christopher Skyi

        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.

  • Nagendran

    Really a shocking news!! I guess the reason could be both duplicate and shady link building tactics.

  • DirectPack

    nice information. thank you for sharing it.

  • Brent Csutoras

    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.

  • JadedTLC

    I’m seeing Digg in the SERPs. Maybe you had a weird caching error. You should probably update the story.

  • goodguy

    I live in asia. And Site:digg.com is still available on my computer.
    so what’s wrong?

  • Faria Fara

    False, i just saw the digg is still in google search. Check below:


    • John Rampton

      They are back up, post updated!

  • Sivagopi

    Google is becoming a strong warrior day by day against spam !!

  • imuad

    Now. digg .com come back .

    • Chad Jones

      Looks like the fix has been deployed. I’ve searched site:digg.com and I see 370,000 results.

  • angudy

    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.

  • Sivagopi

    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)

  • shawn

    I see digg showing up for – in california. Perhaps a wakeup call?

  • Estevan

    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 !

  • Marie haynes

    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.

  • Sanjay Nandy

    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.

  • Aashish

    But i can see the index guys :

    screenshot @ : http://s22.postimage.org/q89r3e2xd/digg_seeen.jpg

  • Droy

    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?

  • Gaurav Soni

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

  • Antihype

    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.

  • Peter Egan

    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…

  • Ifrim Giani

    In Romania, searching for”Digg” still works normally!

  • Stephen

    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.

  • Himanshu Saxena

    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.

  • sandeep pattanaik

    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?????

  • Abdi Mohammed

    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?

  • Etienne

    Digg removed to ability to share a link last week. I don’t know where its going, but it does not smell good.

  • Karan

    What rubbish , digg is working absolutely perfect to me any other strong reason to approve this blog ??

  • Sam Sameer

    Now I just checked digg in google search. It showing me website 🙁

  • Jamal Uddin

    My websites are dancing on Google sometimes i find the keywords on page one and the very next day no where in the search.

  • Philip

    Digg is present in serp in google india and Google.com

  • LudisMedia

    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

  • George

    site:digg.com is also working for me in India. It seems that they are coming out of the issue..

  • Harkins

    i guess the marketing manager of digg had a rough time ;p 🙂 good story thanks !

  • Kate

    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.

  • Arun Singh

    Thanks for sharing this post its really interesting, Digg is one of the best web 2.0 website.

  • Rohit

    Digg is now back again in Serp

  • Dan Carter

    Wow if they can be dumped, where do people like me stand.