The Good and Bad of the Almighty

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It would be safe to assume that everyone reading this article, is in some way familiar with the popular social bookmarking site You might use it to promote your articles, or maybe you just go to find articles and inspiration for future writing, either way you’ve used the service.

Overtime, having had articles on the front page several times from various projects, I have had the opportunity to notice several good and not so good aspects of this cyber-cultural hot spot. It is well known that Digg can be a powerhouse for traffic, and it is notorious for crashing the servers of unsuspecting webmasters around the world.

The Traffic

Traffic is of course an upside of Digg, in fact it is why most people even mess with it at all, because it feels good when you look at your web statistics and see that you have had 60,000 new people visit your site over the course of the last couple of hours, believe me its fun. On top of that you will usually see a huge jump in your daily profit margin, if you are using cost-per-click or impression based advertising.

So what’s the downside of this? Diggs traffic is often very low quality. The people that visit usually don’t care about the site itself and have no intention of returning again, they showed up because at the time it was the popular thing to do, its what all of their peers were doing. That’s not to say its all bad, I tend to see an increase of almost triple in my rss subscriptions, and over the course of a few days they tend to trickle off, however you can usually keep the majority, if you are continually posting new content. So from a traffic perspective, Digg is well worth the minimal effort, as you will undoubtedly gain something from it.

The BackLinks

Lets face it, there’s no way your going to reach the Digg homepage, attain instant popularity and traffic and not see some backlinks come sailing in, for that article. You will get them, depending on how popular the article gets, you will usually see 15-30 over the course of a week, thats not bad. The problem is, 90 percent of those backlinks are super low quality.

Most of them come from Digg aggregators that have no ranking anywhere, and no appeal to anyone. In fact links like these can sometimes actually hurt your site, they are low quality and Google will notice. The other 10 percent of those links tend to range from ok to great. The ok ones being small scale bloggers, that don’t really add much to the overall scheme, you won’t likely see any traffic from them, but it is another link to add to your stats.

The great ones come from some of the larger more established sites and blogs, and those are what you like to see. My last frontpage article was linked to by MSNBC which brought a couple links from other news sites, and it also was picked up by some PR5 and PR6 sites, which are a great boost as well. A link from some of these big boys, will not only increase traffic, and popularity but look good come time for page rank updates also. With all of that said, from my experience the 10 percent of good links tend to out weigh the bad ones, meaning this is another check mark in the Digg tool belt.

The Comment Threads

What a joke! I have done really well at starting out with something positive to say on each one of these so far, but this is a little different. Don’t even bother reading the comments, I don’t even read comments on other people’s sites. The majority of users on Digg are young, usually teenagers that want to feel involved, they strive to be the cool guy. They react like a pack of wolves, and attack all at once. Its actually kind of funny and sad, because you could have 30 comments saying how great and informative the article is. Then all of the sudden, one guy comes in and says, “hey dude’s this sucks” and just that quick the friendly diggers are holding pitch forks and chasing you through the field. Don’t take this personally, in reality it has nothing to do with you, this is just the mentality they all seem to share and it happens with just about every homepage article, even the big sites.

People tend to feel tough, or high and mighty when they are hidden behind a monitor, most likely in the real world, this would never happen, and a lot of these kids are probably nice as can be, but you can’t let it get to you, if you do you are done. Don’t respond back, just ignore it, I never read the comment thread on one of my articles, just because they almost never hold anything of value. This is where I take big points off of Digg’s service. I feel they should focus on moderating these threads, and ban some of the real bad ones.

The Conclusion

Digg is well worth the effort. There are more goods than bad, you get an excellent adrenaline boost of traffic, some good quality links and maybe a little extra money. There are a lot of you out there that have chosen to steer clear of the service, and probably rightfully so, but from my experience I would recommend it.

Sujan Patel
Sujan Patel has over 12 years of digital marketing experience and has helped hundreds of clients increase web traffic, boost user acquisition, and grow their businesses. He’s currently the VP of Marketing at When I Work, the top rated employee scheduling software. In addition to his role at When I Work Sujan co-founded and wrote the book on Growth Hacking titled 100 Days of Growth.
Sujan Patel
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  • Frederrick Abrugart

    Social book marking is quite a good way to improve quantity backlinks. Even if the web page your link is placed have a zero page rank, Digg itself is an established site and well regarded by search engines. Hence getting backlink from Digg is SEO-friendly

    Over time this links might improve in page rank and can be a good source of quality links. Beside traffic, social bookmarking is a free and easy way to improve a site link popularity strength.

  • Markus

    Hi! I am very new to Digg and StubleUpon (I found you with SU) and I think it’s a really great way to explore more interesting websites like this one.

    One blogpost of my new blog got “thumbs up” and a review and I really see how this can effect your statistics.

    But unfortunately no comment was written by them (with one exception on another blogpost)

    Thanks for sharing your view!


  • Markus

    Well, my URL was wrong.. . sorry for that 🙂

  • C. W. Hatch

    I have never had the pleasure of having an article on the front page of Digg. Readers have submitted things to Digg, but the traffic to my site from this has always been small. StumbleUpon has actually been a bit more steady source of traffic. Have you considered an article about StumbleUpon traffic? Myself and the user above came from these sources!

  • Sujan Patel
  • Brent Csutoras

    I honestly have to disagree on a few points.

    Traffic is not the reason people use Digg. As you mention most people feel the traffic is not good and thus use Digg purely for the backlinks that it gives.

    Speaking of links I normally get quite a bit more than 30 links from a successful campaign on Digg. As far as quality goes i have received numerous links from very valuable links from Digg campaigns. Like Science Digest, Gizmodo, Boing Boing, Engadget, MSN, and much much more.

    You further mention that your traffic from Digg is low quality. I hear that a lot. The traffic on Digg is much like anyone who would read this blog in the fact they are not going to blindly click on your adsense.

    That said they see a Title and description on Digg and if they have a desire to read more about that topic they will come to your site. If you are making campaigns that don’t relate to your site then you won’t keep those people around but if you have content related to your submitted articles you will retain users.

    I am an avid Google searcher… In all my time searching for various things I have rarely ever subscribed to a feed or bookmarked the site. So how is my action any different if I find my site through a search engine or through a Digg site.

    Additionally, jumping back to links, a huge amount of the authors online watch the front page of Digg for content they can write about. They have very targeted audiences and when they link to you it is very targeted and natural, like search engines want it to be. Additionally the traffic they send is very targeted.

    What people miss is that social media is a platform that will give your content visibility. Your content has to perform at that point.

    In each section you say the traffic sucks, it doesn’t convert, the links are low quality and can even hurt you.

    Then you summarize the entire piece saying you can get quality links, great traffic, and conversions.

    I normally don’t comment like this but…. what the hell is this article about??

  • Brian

    I was an avid user of digg for a couple years, but recently left because of the lack of community and the negative attitude of the majority of the people. I ended up finding my new home at where they reward contributors with nice incentives like revenue share.

  • Loren Baker, Editor


    Agreed, in my Digg success stories I’ve had relevant blog posts covered on and linked to from LifeHacker and … but those superduper quality links (not to mention Delicious Popular and Stumble Buzz) have been about 10% of the incoming links. I think what Sujan is trying to say is that.. yes, Digg will bring you links, but not all of those links are going to be of high value.

    Sure, one story which is relevant, written well, has open comments and a thought provoking title and description on Digg will bring in a lot of links from Digg aggregators and mirror sites, and after time those links will not be worth much more than a freebie guest list site is now, but the gem, the gem is the major blogs and news sites which monitor Digg… especially the niche channels outside of Technology News or Offbeat News .. that bring the gold.

    On the other hand, even though the aggregation sites and mirror blogs don’t have super link value, they still have as much link value as most other sites on the web… and lots of incoming links from other Digg-esque sites and sites which linked to stories that the mirror sites ran when the original site’s server was down.

    That juice gets passed over, and it’s better than nothing and can be lead to a site inching over its competition in the SERPS.

    So, to sum it all up. I think ScubaSewj is saying that Digg is great, but it may not result in the flock of golden geese many make it out to be… but those golden eggs my friend, and the geese do still exist, if worked correctly.

  • Brent Csutoras


    Agreed. It just wasn’t said like that at all. I can read between lines and if i felt that was being said i would never reply.

    Sujan is cool too and it is not a personal thing but i just felt the article didn’t properly portray the real situation on Digg.

    What you say does a much better job of that.


  • Loren Baker, Editor

    No worries Brent. Being a reader of this site, you are within your full rights to compliment an author on their piece, critique them, or rip them a new … well, rip the post apart 🙂

    Without feedback like yours, we would not have the reader insight to find the motivation to deliver better content. Thanks! This is what the comment box is for 🙂


  • Adam Maywald

    @Brent Csutoras

    I have customers who use Digg because of the traffic. Yes, the links are a majority of the benefit, as those are the driving force behind the rankings, but when a client has a business model of selling impressions, Digg and Stumble traffic help considerably when selling to advertisers. I know of several instances where that traffic saved them from overselling impressions.

  • mark
  • brent