This SMX session was called “Extra! Extra! The Social News Sites” but it would be more aptly titled Digg, Digg, Digg, and More Digg – which is exactly what the New York audience cared about anyway. Digg.com has nearly mythical powers to drive traffic and generate great links. Keeping in mind that the top 100 Digg users control 56% of the homepage content, we’re guessing that 12-15% of the Digg power-user universe is in the SMX conference room at this moment. The speakers offered very serious Digg tips in the raucous session.
Neil Patel, CTO, Advantage Consulting Services says that he loves Digg “as much as porn.” The homepage of Digg is pretty simple. Stories are voted to the homepage and “shitty” content doesn’t make it. Neil has calculated that the average homepage story gets 129 links, up to 10,000-100,000 visitors in 1 hour, and helps “tons” with “great branding”. Compared to the rapidly declining practice of buying links, links are easy to get and “last forever”.
The Digg demographic is a hot commodity because there are more 18-24 and 25-34 year olds and men than most other places on the web. Neil says that podcasts are a “waste of time” but video is a big traffic and link driver. Digg is a voting system. The number of votes, time the story is on the site, votes which are NOT part of prefabricated voting blocks, the reputation of the submitter, and how many friends you have all come into play as to whether a story goes hot.
There are unwritten rules on Digg. No self-promotion, don’t pay for votes, no spamming, and NO SEOS ALLOWED. Neil says that “If you’re an SEO, lie about it.” .7% of all stories get to the homepage so it’s actually a somewhat rare feat, especially for non-power users.
Advice for Winning Content
Lists, games/quizzes, controversy, tools, breaking news, videos, pictures, Digpicz.com, and technology/science posts can all work well on Digg. Solid titles and descriptions are critical but be careful not to make headline promises which are not kept by the content. [Learn from Master Linkbaiters to create catchy titles and descriptions that deliver on what they promise.]
Advice for Promotion as a Digg User
Networking means making ourself identifiable. Get an avatar, provide contact information (blog, email, IM) in your bio, and befriend users whose stories you Digg. Digg your friends’ stories early and make “snarky” comments. Get ideas by looking at popular Digg stories.
Promotion in private is your safest bet. Pownce, Twitter, Facebook and other mediums are popular but are still risky. The recently created Digg Should system is widely hated by long-time Digg power players so use it sparingly, if at all, for promotion. Tamar stressed that promotion is best pursued in private and expressed her affinity for doing so using the StumbleUpon contact system. Enhance your Digg experience with Digg Tools like Smart Digg Button, Digg Alerter, and the powerful Social Media for Firefox browser tool.
Lesser Known Tricks
Diggers hate marketed or SEOed content. Avoid terminology in titles and descriptions that can kill the potential for your story. Many people Digg or bury stories without actually reading the content, so this crucial.
When networking don’t simply ask someone to Digg the story. Become friends with influential players who have similar interests. Digg’s algorithm plays on the diversity and number of Diggs per story with a specified timeframe. 24 hours is typically the cutoff. Don’t get the same people to Digg the story again and again as the ploy will quickly be detected and your story will be buried.
Don’t promote your story too quickly. 20 Diggs in 20 minutes = unnatural. Let Diggs accumulate naturally and push your story slowly. Check out the Vote up other stories to give your story visibility. Once you’re on page 1-3 of the upcoming you’re usually good to go. Unfortunatly if you disappear form the up and coming list you’re through.
When you promote your content to Digg, also focus on submitting to StumbleUpon. Keep a Digg icon above the fold for new Stumblers. Subscribe to the Digg RSS feed and check it regularly which helps you avoid duplicate submissions and alerts you to trends. Browse through the Digg archives for ideas.
Focus on categories when submitting: Technology and gadgets are popular. If applicable, put your content in another category that may still relate to your content. These less popular categories require less Diggs to hit the front page
Chris Winfield, President & Co-founder, 10e20 (and #2 Sphinner) shared his Digg wisdom and creative vision in the form of advice and case studies.”Your business wants to be on the homepage of Digg for traffic and exposure. It’s an outstanding method for link building, gaining repeat visits and social bookmarks, and sales.”
You have to know the language like FTW (For the wind) and RTFA (read the f_cking article.” Everybody knows what Diggers prefer to read about including Apple and Ron Paul. Reciprocally be aware what Diggers hate like Fox news and George Bush. Press releases and overtly selling are definite no-no’s. Never fake content on Digg.
Chris highlighted Blendtec and Dove’s pure beauty case studies as excellent examples of what Diggers like. Joining in with the day’s other presenters he recommends lists. Sometimes all it takes is a creative idea like Radiohead’s recent play.
The real objective of Diggbaiting is for the content to spread to influential blogs. There lies the source of Digg’s famed propensity to generate amazing links.