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Exploiting Digg To Rank Better

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/£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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20 responses to “Exploiting Digg To Rank Better”

  • Digg with a Purpose says:

    [...] Mark Cook of Digerati Marketing for another amazing post. Ah, I see we’ve got a “navigation” section in the [...]

    Comment by Digg with a Purpose
    June 28th, 2007 @ 6:26 am

  • Musashi says:

    Very nice posting… It has definitely encouraged me to try out your technique. I would love to follow it through as a little case study letting you know what I did and how it worked out for me. If your interested, drop me an email to the address in this comment…

    Comment by Musashi
    June 28th, 2007 @ 6:57 am

  • Nia says:

    If the domain I want to strengthen is:
    master-cleanse.info …would the orphan page be:
    something else entirely?
    What do you recommend?

    where “orphan” is the name of the “page” perhaps and where the orphan page, whatever it’s URL does not have a link on it to the master-cleanse.info

    Comment by Nia
    June 28th, 2007 @ 7:57 am

  • Mark says:

    Hi Nia,

    You would be better using master-cleanse.info/pagename rather than using a sub-domain. Google can be a bit tricky when it comes to how it ranks sub-domains, it used to count them as different sites. That changed due to some spam issues, but I still don’t trust it.

    Comment by Mark
    June 28th, 2007 @ 12:01 pm

  • Colin says:

    Good article, thanks. Is there an easier way to find powerful diggers than browsing profiles for submitted articles?

    Comment by Colin
    June 28th, 2007 @ 1:05 pm

  • Mark says:

    I’ll look into it, Colin. However, it’s something you want to automate or do too quickly. Digg may become suspicious if you suddenly get 300 high-profile friends. Build it naturally and add a couple a day. If I find an easier way, I’ll let you know.

    Comment by Mark
    June 28th, 2007 @ 1:20 pm

  • David Kubicka says:

    Great post!

    Finally, something practical on how to get the job done. I am so done with people giving only very ethereal ideas with no practical insight on how to make it happen.

    Thanks for good direction Mark,

    Comment by David Kubicka
    June 28th, 2007 @ 5:57 pm

  • Joe says:

    Glad to see your back Mark! Another great post. I look forward to your guide to building a network of affiliate sites. I have have experimented with a network of real estate web sites for the last few years.


    Comment by Joe
    June 28th, 2007 @ 7:41 pm

  • Deano says:

    I’m totally new to Digg, how do you work out who the powerful friends are? Also send me your user id and I’ll be happy to be a friend :)

    Comment by Deano
    June 29th, 2007 @ 12:32 am

  • Mark says:

    For those asking questions about finding Digg friends and becoming power users, Earner’s Blog has a great article on it here:


    Comment by Mark
    July 2nd, 2007 @ 2:54 pm

  • chris risenhoover says:

    great post. Thanks for taking the time to focus on solid content. I personally prefer less posting, higher quality.

    Comment by chris risenhoover
    July 4th, 2007 @ 12:56 pm

  • Jim says:

    There have to be offshore networks or groups that will do the same Digg’ing for less than $1. Many of these folks only make $2-3/hr anyways. Hmm… a new business idea?

    Comment by Jim
    July 20th, 2007 @ 10:16 am

  • brett borders says:

    This was the first post I’ve read here, but seeing a recommendation for Subvert and Profit under the headline “Marketing with Ethics and Experience” raised an eyebrow.

    Comment by brett borders
    July 30th, 2007 @ 2:03 am

  • Mark says:

    Hi Brett,

    I see your point, however Digg is already so gamed, it’s just about impossible to make an impact without S&P anymore. Just recommending what works :)

    Comment by Mark
    July 30th, 2007 @ 9:56 am

  • linkbuilding2.0 says:

    Its useless to game digg the way you mention . This is precisely Digg has made changes in its algorithm . This IMO is a black hat tactic . Good stories will get to the front page and bad ones will get dugg . The ways you mention might a few times .. but its a knee jerk reaction .. Its certainly not an effective strategy

    Comment by linkbuilding2.0
    August 7th, 2007 @ 1:26 pm

  • Mark says:


    Well, the strategy works linkbuilding2.0. S&P has ~75% success rate of getting stories on the front page. I’m not saying it will work forever, but it certainly as hell works now. As my girlfriend once said: “Don’t knock it until you try it”.

    Comment by Mark
    August 8th, 2007 @ 8:54 am

  • Sonny says:

    hi nice post, i enjoyed it

    Comment by Sonny
    August 18th, 2007 @ 11:59 pm

  • Phil Resume says:

    Another great post. using digg like this can be very effective but only works with limited niche’s. time to use your imagination.

    Comment by Phil Resume
    August 22nd, 2007 @ 4:56 pm

  • Anime Girl says:

    Hey !

    That paid for digg site has been down a while. Are they coming back?


    If you would like to learn how to earn $4CPM by putting video, news and pictures on your site take a look here. All you have to do is embed the content player in your page and you start earning $4CPM for each type of content you display (video, news, and image). I made $230 this month so far and they don’t even have to click on the ads to make money!

    Click here.


    How to make $4CPM by embedding news, video and images into your site

    Check it out.


    Comment by Anime Girl
    October 17th, 2007 @ 6:10 am

  • ester says:

    love your posts they are so informative especially for us non-techo web people!. query – is subvert and profit still up and working in July 2008? Difficulty in registering let alone using it!

    Comment by ester
    July 6th, 2008 @ 3:45 pm