Digg, the once a popular online link-sharing site has been on the decline for several years now. But it seems like the domain’s acquisition by Betaworks, and the ensuing redesign, put the nail in the coffin for good. It’s now pretty safe to say that Digg, or at least the Digg that internet users remember from years past, is no longer. That disastrous redesign in 2010 sent many users over to Reddit. At first glance, the new Digg design looks a lot like Pinterest, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But it only takes a couple clicks to realize all of the archives are gone. All of them.
From an SEO standpoint, the new beginning means, well, a new beginning. Starting over for Digg who had a page rank of eight which is ridiculously big in the world of search engines, makes you wonder why they would jeopardize such high ranking and credibility. With their new relaunch, they eliminated all old user accounts, comments, and stories. Because of this, Internet publishers who have used Digg for years may lose valuable ranking among search engines like Google. By removing all the historical content and not even redirecting those pages to anywhere interesting, Betaworks has wreaked havoc on all kinds of internet publishers.
Diggs high rankings and valuable links is part of the reason why many social media types didn’t give up on them even after the users fled. Those links were still really valuable for SEO. Now they’re all gone, and publishers from the New York Times to blogs like this are going to feel the effect down the road in terms of search traffic.
Why should Betaworks care? Because by removing all of Digg’s archives and creating dead links the company removed seven years of content. We’re talking millions and millions of words, all of which were coming up in Google searches and driving traffic to Digg.com. Without all those words and working links, Digg.com can kiss its page rank goodbye.
And this could have a profound effect on the rest of the Internet.
So what’s the big deal? What’s so bad about a fresh start? Nothing, in theory. A new interface might’ve been necessary, even desired by what remained of the Digg community. Digg.com has a page rank of eight, which in the world of search engine optimization is a pretty big deal. We’re talking Ron Jeremy big. Links from Digg.com mean a lot for other sites. Even if tons of readers don’t click a link on Digg.com and land on a publisher’s page, just having that link there tells Google and other search engines that the story must be pretty damn relevant, and that means the page will show up in search results for years to come.
What would’ve been the harm in leaving those archives up? It’s not that complicated. Instead, Betaworks decided to throw away all of that equity, leaving itself with a fairly expensive domain name and not much else.