Digg Adds an Intelligent NoFollow System

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Digg Tile

Photo Credit: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid

Digg has made some changes in the past that have stirred up quite a bit of controversy among the search engine marketing community, as well as the general technology community. However, it seems that Digg may have actually learned from their past mistakes, because the latest change that they have made to their website seems to have been intelligently implemented and communicated to the community.

On Wednesday, Digg announced that they have begun to add the NoFollow to links that they can’t trust. However, instead of simply NoFollowing every single link on their website (like delicious and Wikipedia have done), they have implemented a more intelligent system. As described in their announcement:

“We’ve made a few changes to the way Digg links to external sites that may impact some folks in the SEO community. These changes reduce the incentive to post spammy content (or link spam) to Digg, while still flowing ’search engine juice’ freely to quality content. We’ve added rel=”nofollow” to any external link that we’re not sure we can vouch for. This includes all external links from comments, user profiles and story pages below a certain threshold of popularity.”

So, what separates quality content from the other content on Digg? As Brent Csutoras noticed, it seems to come down to whether or not a post is popular. Here are the two screen shots Brent took to back up his conclusion:

Digg Front Page NoFollow
This is the Digg front page. As you can see, the only place where the NoFollow attribute is applied is to the Sponsored post, which is obviously to comply with Google.

Digg Upcoming NoFollow
Unlike the front page, when you look at the upcoming page, you will see that all of the links are NoFollowed.

So, the big question is will this change discourage spam on Digg? While I think this was an intelligent choice on Digg’s part and implemented in a good way, it may deter spam, but it’s not going to stop it. If you need proof, just look at delicious or Wikipedia.

Even though the NoFollow attribute may be a good way to discourage spam, given the fact that a recent study showed that Yahoo still values NoFollow links, the spammers aren’t going to disappear any time soon.

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