Digg banned from Google?

Something interesting has just come across one of my networks (hat tip to datadial), just a few days after Digg have announced that they are building a replacement for the much loved Google Reader, they have (coincidentally?) disappeared from the primary google index.


digg1

Is it an SEO penalty for links? That seems to be the number one reason that brands are getting booted from google’s index these days…  Some conspiracy theorists will no doubt be proclaiming its something to do with their announcement to build a replica of the now defunct Google reader, but personally I really cant see that having any effect.  Could there?

Doing a site: search for Digg certainly demonstrates that they are no longer in the index:

digg site search

Its likely (only if it is link based however) that it would be down to what individuals who submit content do after the fact – ie. sending spammy links at their posts to try and build the pagerank, and create “authority” which they then pass back to their own sites.  Digg has long been listed in every “linkwheel” sellers handbook, and if that is the reason then what does it mean for every community site on the internet?

Will we have to manually aprove all new links soon at this rate? Come on Google – WTF – let the internet know what you’re doing please.

 

UPDATE: Its looking like Digg may have suffered a technical SEO issue with their robots.txt file being unavailable to google’s crawlers.  In a nutshell what this means is that google could not see a vital part of their site, which controls access to the spiders.  In these circumstances Google may remove the site – however this would probably be the biggest example seen of such a problem.

UPDATE2:
I have had a tweet from Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team where he references a post he made on Ycombinator, explaining the reason for Digg’s disappearance:

“We’re sorry about the inconvenience this morning to people trying to search for Digg. In the process of removing a spammy submitted link on Digg.com, we inadvertently applied the webspam action to the whole site. We’re correcting this, and the fix should be deployed shortly.

From talking to the relevant engineer, I think digg.com should be fully back in our results within 15 minutes or so. After that, we’ll be looking into what protections or process improvements would make this less likely to happen in the future.”

Some personal notes:  Its fantastic that Google have taken the time to let the online community know what has happened, and we cant really hold any ill-will towards them for a human error, its a testament to their professionalism that this hasnt to my knowledge happened in the past, and we applaud their transparency in this matter.  I guess the only concern for the average webmaster might be what would happen if this happened to their site, and didnt receive the kind of attention that this did.  

Still, thank you Matt, and Google as an organisation for the clarification.

 

Please, voice your opinion in the comments below!

 

44 thoughts on “Digg banned from Google?”

  1. Time to dive into their link profile and see what dirty tricks they have been doing. Will be interesting to see if it is link related and what link networks/scams Digg is involved in. Would have to be pretty blatant to get banned.

    Reply
  2. Yeah. Every time somebody alleges Google does something less than pristine it’s obviously just silly. After all, Google never does anything shady.

    I’m not saying this because of the G reader replica, but can people stop acting like Google is pure as the snow?

    Does anybody read about Google’s investigations, privacy issues, less than mannerly (and hypocritical) practices and interesting associations?

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    • I spend a fair bit of time reading and looking at all their investigation and privacy issues and it makes for some interesting reading.
      But it doesn’t mater, its Google!! 😉

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  3. This doesn’t smell like a penalty to me – they wouldn’t have deindexed them.

    I suspect they have accidentally removed themselves via GWT or similar.

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  4. So, a one page website gets banned from Google?

    Digg always was about “diggs” (votes if you like) and was always ephemeral, in the old days, you ‘only’ had 24 hours to ‘pop’ a story.

    As such there was never any value in “sending spammy links at their posts to try and build the pagerank, and create “authority” which they then pass back to their own sites.”

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    • Digg wasn’t a one page website. It was filled with a shit ton of drama and history before the mass exodus to Reddit.

      There’s a huge history on it’s interaction, but the tldr is that it was bought out by some really shady people and this is the penalty for evil SEO.

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      • Yep. Digg became nothing but a page full of spam. What were once user-up-voted stories were replaced by “stories” from the same five or so Web sites day after day.

        They should’ve been removed from searches then.

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      • It wasn’t a one page website, it is a one page website now though.

        I know plenty about its history, I got the t-shirt for 200 frontpages 😉

        “bought out by some really shady people and this is the penalty for evil SEO.” – tinfoil hat much?

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  5. WoW, I want to throw a few possible explanations…
    1) Google changed their ranking algorithm fairly recently, making digg loose its rank based off new ranking system.
    2) Google felt digg was filled with backlink spammers (though lots of sharing sites are).
    3) A higher up in google had a personal feud with the founder of Digg which lead to this conspiracy!

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  6. How about some tinfoil hat stuff? Maybe Digg is intentionally telling G to f-off. They still show up in other search engines though this is most likely due to lower crawl rate/archiving delay.

    Making a deal with FB maybe? Incorporating into a more social-search landscape than an organic search landscape? Digg is more social anyway, seems like a deal with FB could really boost their value.

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  7. If there’s any funny business going on regarding links, Digg will get hit like anyone else by Google. The Penguin and Panda updates last year were targeting excessive and irrelevant links and Digg was unwittingly a part of most “link wheel” equations. I hope it’s the robot.txt error, but as an SEO I’ve seen numerous major sites get smacked by Google in the past year.

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  8. It’s probably something related to an alert from Google, something like “be carefull digg.com guys, you’ve crossed the yellow line for your aggregated content”.

    probably it’s manuallly set to force them to adjust their link building.

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  9. Time to dive into their link profile and see what dirty tricks they have been doing. Will be interesting to see if it is link related and what link networks/scams Digg is involved in. Would have to be pretty blatant to get banned.

    Reply
  10. Don’t let Matt Butts off the hook so easily.

    If the web site was just some little web site owned by somebody like you or me, and it disappeared because of this kind of mistake, good luck ever getting anything restored again at Google.

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  11. Transparency really? They got caught with their undies down, sure they had to say something and explain wtf is oing on, if that’s transparency it was really forced on them. In case of some smaller site, we would probably never know what the story was, nor would the site owner.

    Reply

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