Congratulations to Digg. In an effort to reduce the amount of link spam on Digg, a social news website where people can discover and share content online, the company announced a change in their policy towards questionable links.
Spammers use sites like Digg to post their links in an attempt to drive lots of traffic to their sites. In addition to direct clicks by users, the spammers know that search engines are likely to rate their link as more important if their URL is found on Digg.
By adding a “rel=nofollow” tag to every link that Digg doesn’t trust to be legitimate, the company effectively instructs search engines to ignore the link so that it doesn’t positively influence the link’s ranking and bring it higher up in search results that consumers see. This undercuts the effectiveness of some types of search engine spam, and improves the quality of search engine results that you receive. The nofollow policy is applied to questionable links in stories, profiles and comments.
Digg’s VP of Engineering, John Quinn, commented on the change today in a blog informing users of the change:
We’ve made a few changes to the way Digg links to external sites that may impact some folks in the SEO [search engine optimization] 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” this code is an HTML 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.
This work was done … in an effort to look out for the interests of content providers and the Digg community.
Digg did not disclose how they determine which sites they mistrust, and that’s probably for the best as it doesn’t give spammers insight they may use to circumvent the blocks.
It is great to see companies that proactively protect consumers. Hats off to Digg.