Category Archives: Social Media

Linkbait: Was It Really A Good Idea?

There has been much hype around linkbaiting over the last year, mostly thanks to the rise and rise of social networks like Digg and StumbleUpon. If you haven’t heard about linkbaiting just yet, don’t worry, it’s pretty simple:

  1. Create some quality content like a viral game, top 10 list, news piece, scathing review or interview with a popular blogger etc.
  2. Submit your linkbait to Digg, StumbleUpon, Netscape, Reddit and others.
  3. Ask friends, family, coworkers, Santa to vote it up.
  4. Hope it gets some sort of traction, dodges the moderators and makes it to the popular page.
  5. Watch the links roll in.

This is overly simplified, but you get the idea. Done correctly, a good piece of linkbait can bring in hundreds of quality one way backlinks, a nice boost in the SERPs, a spike in RSS subscribers and, of course, a lot of traffic. Linkbaiting is an extremely cost-effective means of getting links quickly and from websites you would ordinarily never be linked from.

Sounds great, but I’ve gone off linkbait recently and for good reason. Apart from problems at Digg where most linkbait ends up, there is one major problem with linkbaiting; you have absolutely no control on who will link to you. That is a serious flaw when you consider the importance Google places on links from authoritative, highly relevant sites. An article that has gone viral will be linked to from websites as diverse as you can imagine, but you can be pretty sure that most of your links will come from low quality scraper blogs who just regurgitate the Digg RSS feed.

So, is it time to give up on submitting your stories to Digg linkbait and get back to link building 1.0? Andy Hagans thinks it’s a case of going back to basics as well as exploring alternative niche social media sites and I would tend to agree, although I think it still has a place in your overall link building strategy. However, I would not rely on it.

Marketing your site is about who you know more than ever before. Link building in 2007 onwards is all about your IM contact list and networking. Yes, use linkbait where available. But get under the radar and stay there!

5 Tips For A Better Digg

Every blogger and their dog has heard about Digg; if you haven’t cottoned on then I worry. Seriously I do.

I’ve covered this before. Digg is an incredible way of getting your content in front of thousands of news-hungry geeks, fellow bloggers and industry gurus. Who wouldn’t want to be on the front page?

The problem is, in my opinion Digg has taken a turn for the worse in recent months. (You would need to have been living in a cave in outer Mongolia to have missed the uproar.) However, it isn’t this that annoys me most about Digg even though the user base is notoriously irrational.

No, it’s this somewhat egalitarian attitude that Digg just oozes. And it’s only recently that people have began to question it. Anyway, enough of the Digg bashing. We know it is far from perfect, here’s a few things I wish they would hurry up and implement!

  1. Start showing buries
    OK, everyone knows they have their own internal mods who can bury any story, but they really need to show negative votes or buries by Digg users. Digg doesn’t like being gamed, so if they want us to believe their democratic credentials they really need to step up and show buries publicly.
  2. Threaded conversations
    I don’t even bother to follow conversations on a homepage story, it’s pretty much impossible. Anyway, most of the comments are either full of hatred, inaccuracies and urban myths; or all 3! Get it sorted
  3. Speed up the site
    The Digg site is notoriously sluggish. With all they’re VC funding surely they can come up with some way of optimising their setup and make it faster to browse.
  4. Forewarning webmasters
    Many sites do not use one of the many Digg plugins for one reason or another. So how are they going to know that 50,000 visitors will be chewing up their bandwidth and possibly bringing their mission critical server down in a few hours? Answer: they won’t with the current system. Digg should give webmasters or the submitter some warning prior to scoring some time on the homepage.
  5. Cache homepage stories
    If you haven’t got through to the webmaster and their site crashes what use is the story? Nobody can see it unless you head over to DuggMirror. Come on guys, that just doesn’t float in the Web 2.0 world. Digg should cache a story and then show this cached version in the event of downtime. Once the Digg effect subsides, 301 the cached paged on Digg to the story URL.

Those are just some of the ways this site should be improved. What do you think? How would you hack Digg into shape?