Live Blogging: SMX Social Media – Extra! Extra! The Social News Sites

The third session at SMX Social Media is covering topics such as Digg, Netscape, Reddit, Newsvine, and social news sites. Neil Patel from ACS, Chris Winfield from 10e20 and Tamar Weinberg from RustyBrick are the speakers for this panel.

There is also coverage at Search Engine Roundtable and Search Engine Journal and aimClear Blog.

Danny explains there are different categories of social media sites and this session is about social news sites specifically. A community defines what is hot in the news world.

First up is Neil Patel to give an introduction to Digg. He said that he loves Digg. He loves Digg more than porn, he said. He shows off the home page of Digg, and that only stories that get a lot of votes quickly get on the home page of Digg. You can interact with the submissions by adding comments, burying them, voting on comments and so on.

Why should you care about Digg? On average, Digg gets you 129 links with over 10,000 visitors in 1 hour and gives you great branding. Let’s say you pay $10 per links–that’s $1,290 for links per month, but social media is free. He explained that it’s great branding, because he was in the Wall Street Journal and he doesn’t even read it, simply because he is good at Digg.

The Digg audience is typically younger males.

Requirements to be on Digg are that you need a web site with content, pictures, video, or even audio (though he said audio is kind of a waste of time).

The important factors in Digg include the number of votes over in a certain amount of time. Other factors include the voters themselves, the submitter, and the friends that vote. Here are some unwritten rules: make sure to not do any self promotion, you can’t pay for votes (, do not spam, and no SEOs are allowed (hint hint). Fun Facts: 0.7% of the stories submitted make the home page. The top 100 Digg users control 56% of the home page content. You can’t control what people say.

Tamar Weinberg from RustyBrick and is up next. Danny said she is a bit freaked out about speaking but she is up to speak, anyway.

Content that works well include viral content such as lists, games and quizzes, controversy, tools, breaking news, videos, and pictures ( and technology science articles work well). She adds that if you focus on breaking news, it is a great way to build up your Digg profile. You need a solid title and description–a bad title won’t work as well as a good title. You want your title to influence a click to your site. Be careful about what sites you put your content on; if it looks like a marketing pitch, it might blow up on you.

Advice for promotion as a Digg User: - Get yourself a clear avatar. - Provide contact information in your profile (such as blog, email, IM, and so on). - Befriend users and Digg their stories early, before they become popular, and they will take notice. - Comment on stories. Be funny, a bit snarky, and fit into the 16 year old boy humor. - Promote your content in private (it is safer). - Digg shouts is a new feature which most old Digg users frown upon. To promote in private you can use Twitter, Facebook, etc. but even then, do it offline and not publicly. - Take advantage of Digg’s social elements.

Tools: - Enhance your Digg experience with extra tools such as the Smart Digg Button (a Firefox button), Digg Alerter, and check out more tools at

Things to Note: - Diggers hate SEO. Don’t put SEO or marketing in your title or web site, because the submission will get buried. - When networking, don’t spam your friends, be selective. - Digg’s algorithm plays on the diversity of the number of Diggs per story within a specified time frame. - Don’t promote your story too quickly. 20 Diggs in 20 minutes is unnatural. - Check out the or to see what is out there.

Lesser Known Tricks - Promote your stories elsewhere, not just on Digg (on StumbleUpon, etc). - Subscribe to the Digg RSS feed or view the archives to see what works. - Focus on the categories when submitting your stories. Some categories require less votes than others. - The algorithm changes, so be patient and take breaks here or there.

Chris Winfield from 10e20 is up next. Your business wants to be on the home page to get traffic and exposure. You can get up to 10,000 to 100,000 visitors in one day from Digg. The most important part are those links you can get. You can get repeat visits from new users who subscribe or bookmark you (use delicious, Stumbleupon, etc). You can get sales from Digg traffic, because you can get on other blogs who will lead to sales.

Understand the Digg landscape. Language includes FTW – for the win, “I can has?”, “RTFA” read the F#$# article, etc. Diggers love Apple, the show Heroes, Ron Paul, etc. Also know what Diggers don’t like, such as the RIAA, press releases, and President Bush. What not to do? Don’t do press releases, don’t overtly sell things (even free things), don’t fake it. What works? Know your audience, such as the “will it blend” site. Photoshop tricks sometimes work. Digg users need something they can relate to. Lists also work. Try also to get featured on a popular blog (that blog can be submitted, and a trusted source can also do well). Or just be creative and come up with a creative idea.

Case Study: A Leading Vacations Company

They wanted high quality links. The challenge was that it was a commercial web site, so they don’t do well on Digg.

The Plan: Have something that relates to the company (travel) but is still appealing to the Digg audience. Craft a list that appeals to people throughout the world (Diggers love lists). People love their cities, so they played on local cities. They used beautiful pictures, videos, and cool facts and used sites such as Wikipedia, Flickr, YouTube, etc. They stripped out the side bar navigation and banner ads, but left the top bar. A definitive title is important. Use the number 11 as opposed to the word eleven. Really, anything to break up the title will help. The description should be opinionated and highlight the key points. Make sure to choose the right category.

It made the homepage in 6 hours and most of the 151 comments were positive, which is normally not the case. The site saw 20,000 unique visitors from Digg alone. The content then spread to other social sites and web sites. The really important part was that is spread to influential blogs, which drove over 1,000 natural links. Over 100,000 visitors over 24 hours were sent from all sources, resulting in over 200 new email list sign ups and 12 new bookings directly from blog referrals.

One Digg Tip to Live By: Make sure you have good hosting.

Related Topics: Channel: Social | Search Engines: Digg | Social Media Marketing


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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