This is just a quick look at basic SEO factors and how Digg screwed them up.
I am not going to get into complicated internal linking sturctures, or even discuss things like nofollow and robots.txt
This will be just SEO 101 that any webmaster should know.
1. Title Tag
Used on Digg
<title>Digg - Topsy Search & Twitter Backups</title>
Most SEOs think that keyword prominence is important for both ranking and click-through rate thus this title would be much better as:-
<title>Topsy Search & Twitter Backups @ Digg</title>
5/10 but no banana
2. Meta Keywords
The keywords meta tag is only used by Yahoo of the major search engines currently, but should be specific to a page.
<meta name="keywords" content="Digg, pictures, breaking news, entertainment, politics, technology, headline news, celebrity news, offbeat, world business, sports, funny videos">
Having the same keywords for every page of the site is spammy and pointless thus 0/10
3. Meta Description
The description is not used as a ranking factor by major search engine, but might be used on other websites such as Digg so can be a secondary ranking factor.
Lots of sites these days don’t set a description because they concentrate on Google, and often just decide to let Google decide on which words to use as a description within the search results for each article.
The primary benefit of having an enticing description is to boost click-through rate.
Grabbing the whole article content and slapping it into the description is not cool – 0/10
RDFa is geeky SEO stuff – I don’t even really want to discuss it as most sites aren’t using it, but damn.. I can’t ignore this junk.
It looks like we have a problem – they got the title much better here (no mention of Digg) but they have taken the whole article contents and included it a second time.
RDFa if it wasn’t there wouldn’t be an issue, but as it is there, and buggered up, they get 0/10
Digg have always rewritten their URLs so they are nice for humans rather than a bunch of parameters, but they should really fix the word seperators. Google does not treat an underscore as a space.
No improvement thus 5/10
Google like links – links are what powers the relevance in their search engines. If Google can trust the links then having them on a page is often a good thing. Linking to good resources has been mentioned by Google Engineer Matt Cutts as a positive ranking factor.
Some websites don’t trust their users to post good links so they stick rel=”nofollow” attributes in the code to tell Google and other search engines that the links can’t be trusted.
<div class="columns group"> <input type="hidden" id="item_id" value="20100826002508:946ca73a-0f8f-4d8f-8493-b4cbffbc9be9"> <div class="column full group" id="main-column"> <div id="permalink-story"> <div class="story-item item-20100826002508_946ca73a-0f8f-4d8f-8493-b4cbffbc9be9 group" ><div class="media group"><div class="digg-btn has-tooltip item-20100826002508_946ca73a-0f8f-4d8f-8493-b4cbffbc9be9"><a href="http://andybeard.eu/3001/topsy-search-twitter-backups.html" target="_blank"><span class="digg-count"><span>1</span></span><span class="digg-count-label">diggs</span></a><a class="digg-it group""><span>digg<span class="digg-btn-icon"></span></span></a><span class="digg-btn-bottom"></span></div>
It seems that Digg now trust their users to post good links… or that they trust me to post good links, or they have decided my domain is trusted and this link was generatd from my official feed import. This could also be oversight.
The link itself uses the anchor text “diggs” and gets rewritten as a voting widget. That isn’t so good both for the site receiving the link, and for Digg themselves because it is hidden… though the anchor text is relevant to the widget.
It would be nice if it stays like this but don’t hold your breath. 7/10 for now
7. Canonical Part 1
Digg does not use canonical tags or 301 redirects to clean up messy URLs with extra parameters
This is an example:-
To fix this issue in the header Digg should use
<link rel="canonical" href="http://digg.com//news/technology/topsy_search_twitter_backups/" />
That can cause lots of issues 3/10
8. WWW – Canonical Part 2
There is a difference between these 2 URLs
They might serve the same page, but it can cause the “Gogle Juice” to be split between pages.
For years this is an issue Digg didn’t fix, but I am happy to see it has now.
Finally! 10/10 despite how long it took to fix.
9. Email Sharing Link
We seem to have another copy of my article.
This causes two problems:-
- It is more junk repeated content on the page
- Someone is going to receive an article without the images – that is a very poor reader experience
For hiding my article in code at every opportinity 0/10
10. Related Links
I am a big fan of linking to related content, either the latest on the specific story or similar topics. Whilst I am not going to pick Digg up on their internal linking structure too much, I am thinking of this from a general perspective that it is good for users and search engines. Related posts plugins and widgets are hugely popular with readers, and the equivalent on Digg would be great for content discovery.
They don’t have it at all, so no points 0/10
Going into this I didn’t realise I would find so many basic issues – I am sure the Digg engineers are aware of many of them so this is just adding them to the bug reports.
Digg (Basic) SEO Score 30/100
I am sure someone is going to chime in about relative importance as I have valued each item the same. If I took importance into account I would probably be rating this more like 20/10