What 15 Days on Digg Can Do For You

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It’s not often that we come across such a perfect case study of what consistent social media traffic can do for your site in terms of site rank, traffic, and exposure. The case study is the rise of [Knuttz.net](http://www.knuttz.net).
Knuttz first started being submitted to Digg about 6 months ago, but the submissions never got more than a handful of Diggs before fading away. That all changed last month. The first time a story from the site made it to the home page of Digg was 35 days ago. And in the course of the two weeks that followed, 20 more submissions made it to the home page of Digg, before the site slowly fell out of favor of the masses.

As you can see the spike propelling Knuttz to fame coincides with the site’s successful run on Digg.com, and similarly the sudden decline coincides with the two sites’ ‘falling out’. The point is, 21 successful home page hits propelled Knuttz from a traffic rank in the 90,000s to the the high 1,000s and created a growth rate that was twice that of Engadget’s.

Looking at the trailing end of the graph, you might interpret the decline to mean that prominence as a result of social media traffic is transient. While the assertion is somewhat true, there are several caveats. Comparing pre-Digg and post-Digg traffic numbers to the numbers while at-Digg is unfair and hard to replicate for most sites.
Assuming you make the comparison, the fair comparison would be to compare the traffic numbers pre-Digg and post-Digg, eliminating the numbers while under the influence of Digg traffic. When you compare these numbers in the long-run, what you will note is that although the long-run traffic will not be anything close to the momentary surge in traffic you get from being on the home page of Digg, I know from experience that these numbers can be 2-3 times or even more than the numbers from pre-Digg exposure.
For example, the numbers I was generating at The Mu Life before it started getting submitted to Digg were around 500 uniques a day, but after getting on the Digg home page a few times, the average number went to 1200 uniques a day, and after a few more home page efforts, the numbers got to a steady 2000 uniques per day. These numbers represent the traffic I was getting when the Digg Effect had worn off (i.e. 2-3 days after getting Dugg).
Modest though the increase in traffic might be, here are two reasons for why it happens.
When your content is featured on the home page of Digg, it reaches an audience hundreds or thousand times larger than your average reader base. While most of these readers will read the single article and move on, in most cases there will be other bloggers that will read and blog about your content. Oftentimes you can get as many as 15-20 different writers with varying degrees of authority to blog about your content and link back to it. In the long-run, this will cause the readers from these other blogs to come and visit your blog as well. Furthermore, this will also lead to increased search engine and referral traffic to your site.

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  • http://andybeard.eu/ Andy Beard

    Alister Cameron did an in depth analysis of exactly how Knuttz acheived the results they did, the problem was they were too successful.

  • http://www.ianvisits.co.uk/blog Ian Mansfield

    This is another supporting argument for the benefits of social bookmarking websites to web site owners.
    I often read laments from people who claim that the short traffic surge has poor revenues or conversions.
    I say – ignore the surge, look at the long term effects. You pull in a few more regular readers (who may later click on adverts). If you are lucky, a few – or loads – of blogs may pick up your website. That is additional long term incremential traffic AND a collection of Google friendly one-way links to your website.
    To refresh – ignore the surge (its nice) – look at the long term traffic.

  • http://www.improvetheweb.com Yuri

    When comparing the Alexa rankings, you gotta remember that it is insanely harder to hit +82% at 190 than it is to hit +198% at 6377.

  • matt

    supprised they didn’t get banned like file22.com was – they had 10 stories on the first page at the same time – they owned the digg that time

  • http://www.webdesignid.com/blog Zach Katkin

    The geeks have inherited the earth… thanks for agreeing with me, that Digg traffic is valuable and return visits really do happen as a result of being digged.