New Digg 4 (Basic) SEO Score 30/100

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 &amp; 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 &amp; 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.

Digg Description

Grabbing the whole article content and slapping it into the description is not cool – 0/10

4. RDFa

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.

Dig RDFa

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

5. URLs

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

6. Links

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="" 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="" />

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

Digg 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


Apparently there is a lot of unrest amongst Digg users. Do check out the podcast by the Drill Down 42:30 onwards. More on Techmeme.

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  1. says

    That’s one honking meta description!!!!!!!! Well, supposedly Digg doesn’t like SEO posts. But then, it appears that Digg doesn’t like or know SEO! They just got a nice complementary mini audit.

    Well done, Andy!

    • says

      The mini audit in Dojo chat took 30 second… link … look at the source.

      If I hadn’t submitted the feed to them myself, it would be one of the most heinous acts of hidden plagiarism I have ever seen.
      What would you call it? RDFa Cloaking?

  2. says

    They should at least combine the RDFa description with the standard description. That would cut out a lot:

    <meta name=”description” property=”og:description” content=”…” />

  3. says

    Whether they like SEO posts or not, it’s important to use tags correctly… Presumably they’re not against ranking highly with little-to-no work so they should sort it out… I’m assuming this post has been dugg.

    • says

      With the new Digg interface there is an option to add a feed to be auto-dugg as soon as you post, so that is what I did with a category.

    • says

      I set up autofeeds for selected articles last night, which picked up this one.
      That means it is technically on Digg, but it is a SEO article so unlikely to go anyhere and people tend to avoid being associated on Digg with anything to do with SEO
      It might have gained more legs with a more controversial title that highlighted Digg now being a haven for spammers – I don’t think that is necessarily true as they now have explicit links between a site and the autofeeds.

  4. says

    Great stuff Andy! I remember when Digg was not much, they have changed a good bit in the past 2 years. I like the design of the new Digg interface, very good tips, thanks for sharing.

    Always a pleasure reading your stuff Andy!

  5. says

    Would be interesting to know how much SEO was taken into consideration as part of their strategy….they clearly have a lot of authority.

    I’d be inclined to say just get rid of the META keywords tag altogether, it’s pointless. They could maybe take the top comment as the Description, could be interesting….

    Also Andy, on some of your pages I’m getting a Blank tag, doesn’t happen all the time….

    • says

      I have the odd weird thing going on on the server ever since I wrote a review of my host and they had to cope with a few flood attacks as I suppose someone wanted to test my server.

      They should just be able to generate the descript from the feed, first paragraph, or the right part of the xml containing the excerpt. Though it is the same data they also have the option of using the meta description from a page.

  6. says

    A very comprehensive list with great and valuable pointers here that I had never known of. Thanks for passing on this info.s

  7. says

    Can i just note – google would slap digg anyways if they did seo and ranked too hight – they have said that they dont want users to have to click TWICE to get to their destination.

    if i typed into google “digg 4 seo score” and digg ranked first, i dont want to have to click TWICE to read your article. its better if your website comes up first… right? [well, it is from a USERS point of view].

    • says

      Maybe, but wouldn’t that depend on how much original content was on Digg relating to the article.

      It will get complicated when Salmon is introduced and comments on the Digg article might flow back to my article, and maybe back to a “home” for a particular user, as Digg might not be the end point, especially as a comment on digg might get a comment on it on Google Buzz or Twitter.

      Digg users in part might feel their territory is being imposed upon by the new changes, but Digg had to change.

        • says

          I suppose that depends on whether there is any original content

          Should the whole of twitter be noindexed? Most of Twitter is just retweeted blog post titles

          • says

            Lets just agree to disagree or this could get ugly…
            remember those ‘is nofollow links worth it debates’? :-)

            But to turn the question around on you – your saying, if bing added a ‘comments’ section onto their SERPS then they should do some SEO to their SERPS and get ranked #1 on google!

            despite the fact that users will have to click AGAIN to get to the article their searching for?

            but to answer your question. Your post is about doing SEO so that digg’s news pages rank higher in the SERPS, right? if you made this same post about twitter telling them they should do seo to rank their ‘status’ pages higher in the serps… then i would make the same comments.

            similarly, if you made this same post about digg’s USER profiles, then i would have different comments.

            twitter did some SEO to their user pages, but not to their status pages.

  8. says

    Nice basic score, but I think your closing line pretty much covers everything.

    No matter how badly you may have done, there are factors that will count even more.

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