SEOs vs. SMMs: Like It or Not, Digg Is an 800 Lb. Organic Gorilla

Greg Boser has a very good point in this post: why is it that every time Diggers–or social media marketers–discuss digg-spamming, they always point to the “stumbling, stupid SEO jabroni”?

If someone is spamming social media, they’re a stumbling, stupid SMM jabroni. Stop throwing all the trash into SEO’s side of town, its getting old! ;-)

But something else caught my eye with Greg’s post. He seems to have no respect for what some good solid digging can do for your organic effort!

Digg (on behalf of a client) that rarely produces anything more that a short-term flood of traffic, and almost never has any direct impact in terms of helping a site rank for prominent phrases that people are actually typing into the little white box.

Six months ago I would have wholeheartedly agreed with this statement.

That was before I took a low-value-add, high-profit-margin, hopelessly-thin affiliate site, and digg-baited the piss out of it. 12 weeks and 6 Digg homepages later, I was looking at 6 (unimportant) traffic spikes–but hundreds of trusted links. Links from authoritative domains like MSNBC.com and Lifehacker.com and Oreilly.com. Links I would have drooled over back in the days when I was a pure organic SEO guy and laughed at “silly social media crap-traffic builders”.

Mr. Boser, I can assure you that these short term floods of traffic had a very direct impact in terms of helping my site rank for prominent phrases that people are actually typing into a little white box.

Which brings me to two self-evident truths:

  1. Digg is a huge weapon for organic SEO. You may not like Digg, you may not want to use Digg, you may suck at using Digg. But the bottom line is, if you’re not using Digg (and the like), you’re giving up your cheapest and best link building weapon… and a guy like me is going to outTrustRank (and outrank) you sometime in 2007, working on a tenth of your organic SEO budget.
  2. SEOs and SMMs may not like it, but their job descriptions are going to be hopelessy intertwined from here forward. Smart SEOs will be using social media marketing in their link and trust building efforts, and SMM’s–especially the bad ones–will continue to be identified with SEOs (and in all reality, I’ve never met an SMM who wasn’t related to SEO somehow; though the best ones are careful to hide the fact).

But is this really even news? SEO has long since ceased being “just SEO”, we added usability, conversion optimization, business strategy, and even “marketing” to our job description long ago; just put social media marketing to the list.

Let me conclude by saying, if you’re entering the organic affiliate wars where I play, you’d better bring your Digg nukes :-)

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5 comments ↓

#1 WebGuerrilla on 02.07.07 at 9:33 pm

Notice I did use the word almost. (Although I intentionally left it unbolded so I could bait the link baiters :) )

#2 admin on 02.07.07 at 9:34 pm

Ha, well I certainly fell for it :-)

#3 admin on 02.07.07 at 9:57 pm

By the way, I still take issue with the statement, “almost” or not.

I think nearly EVERY site that gets Dugg gets a tangible benefit: if the average digging gets a site 50 or 100 links–yes, a lot of those links are junk–let’s say maybe 3 or 5 of those are highly trusted links. 3 or 5 highly trusted links is still nothing to sneeze at, and even if the links point to a random, non-commercial page on a domain, they will help the other more commercial pages rank better for their target phrases, due to an increase in overall domain/site trust.

And that doesn’t even get into the issues of increased mindshare & branding, which surely have a (sometimes small, but important) place in an overall marketing mix where each element helps to reinforce organic SEO.

#4 Scorpiono on 02.08.07 at 4:25 pm

Okay, so I’ve read most of the post, and if I highly Digg you mention it alot of times, which is good, and I agree on the fact that Digg is a very powerful weapon, not to provide traffic, which goes down after a while, but to provide some trustlinks, or even a big amount of backlinks.

I do have a question though, what if the site you are running is more related to “media” than content, for example, well.. why not a social networking site, I do run one which I coded and designed myself. What could you possibly do to hook a digg post to your site, which basically has nearly 0 content.

#5 Copy King on 02.26.07 at 4:07 pm

>>which basically has nearly 0 content.

Create some?