Is Digg A Valid Search Engine Result?

Over at Search Engine Journal (and at digg.com), there is a discussion regarding digg.com pages showing up at google.com search results, along with the actual link to the relevant story or article. However, there have been instances where the digg page ranks higher than the actual link.

Do you think digg shouldn’t be in google’s results?

Allen Stern (CenterNetwork) argues that digg links should not rank higher than the original link, or the original story should occupy the digg page’s story in the SERP.

My belief is that this is not enough to warrant a listing in Google. Since at its most basic sense digg only offers a link to the actual story, then that story should occupy that position within Google, not the digg link.

On the other hand, another reply was cited by the Search Engine Journal article, suggesting the contrary that digg pages in the google search results makes it easier to find good content while not making it any harder to get to the linked story:

Digg.com is acting as a gateway to the great content which would (usually) have been lost in Google’€™s monolithic index, never to be found or stumbled upon by searchers. Additionally, as a counter to his ‘€œthe person has to click twice and even understand that they must do that’€ statement, the Digg.com interface is very easy to use, it’€™s almost an exact clone of a Google result (a big blue link/title with description underneath) so the user will already be familiar with it, as a result the user would not be confused by it and will find their way to the content they were looking for; that’€™s if the content still appeals to them after reading the accompanying description.

Taking into account that both sides do have their own point, I’d go back to the main purpose of digg.com’s system, which is to provide users a way to find noteworthy stories and sites. On it’s own, digg does not produce its own content, it merely rides on what they find — materials that were authored by publishers who do not necessarily have anything to do with digg or any social bookmarking service.

A short description and several dozen comments does not make a digg page unique on its own, and should be given less weight in SEO terms. If digg pages are in the SERPs, they should never position higher than the actual link it leads to. It’s not a matter of PageRank or any other algorithm, the mere fact that digg pages are not strictly unique content pages should put them lower in the search engine results.

Generally, this goes for all social bookmarking services as well as other similar sites. If a site doesn’t necessarily produce the content, or is not the first hand source on a story, it should not rank better than the oldest most relevant resource. But would search engines agree?

Trackbacks

  1. […] A discussion going on on several blogs about whether Digg should be included in Google’s search results has got me thinking about the value that Digg provides to internet users outside of the Digg community. To my understanding the basic argument against Digg being listed in Google’s search results is that Digg provides no new content (except for discussion) and therefore should not be listed above the original articles that are linked to on Digg. First of all, I don’t think Digg’s prevalence in search engine results will change, but the question still remains as to whether Digg really deserves to rank higher than some of the articles it links to. After all Digg is just acting as a middleman to the actual content that searchers are looking for. Shouldn’t the original articles be the ones to be listed instead of a Digg page that just provides a brief summary of the article and requires users to click once more to actually read the article? Digg provides a valuable service to its users by pointing users to quality content ranked by their voting system, but Does Digg provide any real value to outsiders who stumble across Digg while searching on Google or to publishers whose articles may receive less traffic because Digg may have “stolen” their spot in the SERPs? […]