Yes, I haven’t blogged in a while – apologies. I got burnt out this first part of the year, with long work hours and personal projects so I took a couple of months break doing “non-computer” stuff. Writing a decent post takes a lot of effort, so I figured rather than drag Digerati down with low quality posts, I’d just save a bunch of stuff up for when I had the energy to get it all down. I’ve started catching up on some reading and I’m ready to start you off with a teaser article about using Digg to get yourself ranked better.
What’s the plan?
Okay, the plan is this. We are going to produce an article, get it to the front page of Digg, grab all the links that this gives you and turn them into something valuable for your website. A lot of people try similar methods and fail miserably, never getting off the “upcoming stories” page on Digg. So we’ll be looking at solutions to:
- How to make a powerful Digg account
- How to write a “Diggable” article
- How to guarantee front page coverage
- How to make your links relevant
With no further fanfare, lets get cracking.
A little about Digg and Digg accounts
The Digg community, much like Wikipedia does not really take kindly to “SEO types” or people trying to promote their own articles or websites. If you’re caught Digging your own stuff, or just spammy crap over and over, you’ll get your account suspended. Building up a “powerful” Digg account is a reliable (but long-term) method of making sure this strategy works well. If you create a new Digg account and Digg a story, your Digg (vote) carry less weight/authority, whatever you want to call it, than say a user who has been registered for 2 years and has Dugg thousands of stories. There is a kind of “trust” game going on with Digg and you need to get in on it. One way Digg looks at your behaviour and measures trust is by which stories you Digg. Do you only vote for the crap stuff? Or are you joining in voting on stories that are really popular? How long have you been around on Digg? When you post a story, how many Diggs does it get?
You essentially want to build a “upstanding citizen” profile on Digg. This will take time, but I mention it now because it will save you the (albeit small) expense that this tactic incurs in the future. So, as a beginning and side note to this strategy, make a point of logging into Digg everyday and doing these things:
- Look at the first dozen or so top stories and give them a Digg
- Search for stories posted by powerful Diggers and add these Diggers as your friends
- Whenever your friends post a story, make sure you Digg it immediately
The last point there is one of the most important. If you have 200 friends and you make sure you Digg their stories when they post, they will, generally without question return the favour to you. When I post a story on Digg I can get 30-40 Diggs within an hour or so just from my friends list which helps me reach the top of the “upcoming” stories list, which is your first milestone.
Bare that in mind and I’ll write the rest of this post for those who do not have powerful Digg accounts.
Choosing a subject and writing a successful article
If you’re not an experienced Digger, I suggest you take a quick trip over to Digg.com and have a look at some of the top voted stories over the last month or so. Try and get a ‘feel’ for what makes a successful story and think about the Digg audience (which is mostly techies, geeks etc…) and look at what kind of stuff interests them. To give you an idea, I’ve noted down some observations I’ve made:
- Top Tens! Very, very popular. A lot of articles are “Top 10 list of…” or lists of… stuff… To make a story hugely successful, it has to be accessible. A lot of people will be put off if you Digg a 3 page long text heavy story, no matter how funny.
- Sarcasm, humour, parody. “High brow” kind of jokes, poking fun at corporations, politicians, or simply well photoshopped images go down a storm. You know all those “Fw:Fw:Fw:BRILLIANT JOKEZ!!!11″ emails that land in your inbox from loved ones? Think the opposite of this type of humour and you’ll be well away.
- Retro stuff! Nostalgia is a powerful tool. Think thundercats, transformers, spectrums, amigas, all your base are belong to us.
- Weird geeky science stuff.. Black holes, UFOs, teleportation, time-travel. In list format where possible. Everybody loves off-the-wall useless facts.
- Once you’ve got a theme, tie as much is as possible. If you can squeeze some current buzz in like the release of a film and tie it all together with a “thundercats versus the new movie transformers” or such like, you’re onto a winner.
- Lastly, make sure it hasn’t been done before! (Or do it a hell of a lot better).
Okay, hopefully you’ve started thinking along the right lines now. You want to try and pick a topic that is related to the content of your website. This is probably the hardest part and you might need the help of a friend or two to brainstorm. A good example I saw recently was for a travel insurance company, a list of “the top 10 most dangerous travel destinations” was created, with brilliantly photoshopped images of each country, making it worth Digging just for the photos, let alone the article which was written dripping with sarcasm and good humour. Making a story controversial, may seem risky (don’t worry about that for now), but it is exactly the kind of buzz you’ll need.
Putting your article up
If it’s your first attempt, it might be worth getting a friend or two to cast an eye over it, to get their thoughts and make sure you’ve hit the nail on the head. Once you’re happy with your article, things get a bit more sneaky. Create an orphan page on the domain you want to boost and put your article here. An orphan page is once that is not linked from your site (or sitemap) or linked back to your site. This will reduce any negative impact if you’ve written a particularly controversial article and throw people off the scent of what you are trying to do. If you’ve written an excellent article that really sits well with the rest of your sites content, then by all means, put a link with anchor text of your choosing at the bottom of your story to your website. Lastly, you’ll want to add a “Digg this” and at a later stage perhaps a “Reddit” (or social network of your choosing) button to your page. This will encourage more people to Digg your story, who land on it from other sources. Now. login to Digg and post your story and give it an exciting title (this doesn’t mean CAPS!), and a taster intro. This bit isn’t too hard. If you’ve already got some friends they will hopefully Digg it for you.
Nobody is Digging my story!
Okay, if you want to make the front page of Digg, there are people that can help you. If you head over to www.subvertandprofit.com, you’ll find an entire network designed to giving your Digg stories than initial “boost” they need to go viral. In a nutshell (I’ll let you read through the site), you pay $1 per Digg you wish to buy and users on the site who have Digg accounts are paid to Digg your story for you. Now, if you’ve written an okayish article, you’ll only need to buy about 50 Diggs (so $50/Â£25) worth to get you front page. The rate at which you receive Diggs (and the previously mentioned “power” of a Digg have a lot more to do with your stories position than the total amount of Diggs. Once you’re story has reached this critical mass, it tends to snowball.
Wait! Wait! $50?! Does it work? Is it worth it?
I’ve used this tactic half a dozen times now, with what I would consider “okay” articles and I’ve hit the front page every time giving me thousands of visitors and more importantly, thousands of links. Yes it works, yes it damn well is worth your fifty bucks (sorry my fellow English readers, but $ is the currency of the net, deal with it). So, buy your initial Diggs, sit back and make sure you have well hell of a server! The first time I did this, I crashed my server due to the visitor load!
What’s the point of all of this? Explain!
Right, your getting thousands of visitors to an orphan page, what the hell use is that? Okay, cool your jets. What we’re really gaining here is links, lots of natural, beautiful website citations! If you’ve chosen your topic well (such as travel insurance: travel destinations) a lot of your incoming anchor text will also be relevant to your main site content. As mentioned in a previous article, you’ll be giving your website a massive shot in the arm when it comes to link velocity, which will help your rankings across the board. Having a #1 Digg story will give you the so called “long tail Digg effect”, which will see you get a whole bunch of links over the next couple of months, after the first massive influx.
What good are links to an orphan page?
A contested point, which I have experimented on (in the most controlled way possible – nothing’s perfect). Google has a “trust/authority” scoring for your domain as a whole, not just individual page strength. If you get a few thousand links to any page on your domain, Google knows the page is part of that domain and will raise your domain’s authority as a whole. Using this method, I have simultaneously jumped rankings over a dozen or more keyterms (usually going to 30-40 places in SERPs), using no other method. So it definitely works and let the nay-sayers do as they wish. Having more links to your domain, from a variety of good sources, with relative anchor text will give Google a clearer indication of your site’s content and authority, thus improving rankings.
A few tail notes
To put the last nail in the competitions’ coffin, a few months down the line when your article isn’t receiving many links anymore, remove the page and 301 it to an internal page of your choosing. This will give a specific page on your site a shot in the arm and increase rankings for that specific page. I generally just go for my main homepage, as the anchor text will be fairly mixed and you want to keep individual pages very targeted in terms of incoming anchor text.
A closing note, don’t bother putting Adsense/ads etc on your Digg article to try and squeeze some extra bucks out of it. Digg users are notoriously savvy and you’ll get the lowest click-through rates you’ve ever seen in your life and may well damage the popularity of your article.
There we go, a nice and easy way to gain a few thousand decent links! This was a taster article to get you guys (and me) back into the swing of things. I’m sitting on a massive 4 part guide to building a network of affiliate sites and automating the whole process. I’m not quite sure what to keep/remove from these next articles yet, but I’ll be posting on roughly a weekly basis for a while, so there’s a lot more to come. As always, good luck, let me know how you get on and drop me a line if you want to be my Digg friend!
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