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Digg Traffic vs Referral Traffic – Which is Best?

Posted By Darren Rowse 25th of January 2007 Blog Promotion, Social Media 0 Comments

Digital Inspiration has a post on Getting Noticed by A-list bloggers vs Getting on Digg Front Page which makes a few worthwhile observations.

It fits pretty closely to a comment I made last week in an interview with Jeremy when I was asked which social networking site I’d prefer to get traffic from. My response was (and I’m paraphrasing here) that while I don’t mind the rush of traffic of traffic that a site like Digg can bring in that I’d prefer a link from another blogger because it brings a different type of traffic.

Digg Traffic – While Digg brings a rush of traffic – it does so from a site with a very broad focus in terms of topics. It also sends the traffic largely from a link with little context around it and in most cases a link that comes from a largely anonymous person.

Blog Traffic – Traffic from another blogger is different on a number of levels. While it might not come in the same numbers – it will generally come with commentary and context, from a site that usually has some sort of a single focus, from a person who has established some level of trust and/or profile with their readers.

As a result – in most cases the Digg traffic comes and goes quickly and doesn’t usually hang around for dialogue – whereas referrals from other sites is more likely to ‘convert’ either as a longer term viewer, RSS subscriber, newsletter member or comment leaver.

Of course Digg traffic isn’t completely useless – in fact if you harness it you can grow a blog over time. It comes in such high numbers that even if only a very small group stick around it can be worthwhile.

It also brings a round of secondary links – which can be good for SEO and lastly it doesn’t hurt the old ego and can give a rush of motivation to a blogger. The key with Digg traffic however is to work on converting readers into loyal ones.

More reflections on different types of traffic at:

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. I have found that Digg (which I am now banned for some reason) and the other social sites aren’t big adsense clickers and the long term relationship you get from other links doesn’t seem to spark.

    Do they impact on ones page rank much you think?

  2. if it’s not only the story you’ve submitted… if you realy have something to say on your blog… then you can and will convert some (not all) the digg traffic into loyal readers…

  3. Agreed. Referrals from blogs and organic search is more worth it than traffic from Digg. Working to harness both is a challenge that is really worth taking.

  4. My site has been dugg, farked, … several times the past few months and I see that the number of backlinks go up easily this way. It even gave me spots on Rolling Stone magazine and related sites which have a good PR and most of all a pretty well converting readership. So, all in all, it is worth it as long as what you write appeals and has something useful for others.

  5. Interesting Darren. I wrote an article about this yesterday titled 8 Tips for building Quality Traffic. The emphasis is on building traffic that will help you achieve your goals, as opposed to just sheer numbers. The article is at http://www.theblogstudio.com/index.php/v5/blogComments/eight_tips_to_build_quality_traffic/ if anyone is interested.

  6. I can’t say much about digg from experience because I have not yet had anything make it big on digg but I have to say that I agree with you Darren that referral traffic from an individual blog has alot more credit, in my eyes. Although I would never turn down an opportunity for someone to digg me :-)

  7. Hmm… I wrote an article that was displayed in digg, and after that I’ve heard some people commenting “I read about you in the digg, and now I read your site daily” – so I must disagree that digg traffic would be bad source. To me it worked really well. I believe the reason must be that it was very targeted traffic: it was a group writing project about article “So you want to be indie game developer”.

  8. Steve Olson wrote an interesting post earlier this week on Digg vs. Reddit – more observations on the different qualities of the services, and the traffic that comes from them – it’s a great post.

  9. I’ve never been “Dugg”, but I have been listed on other social bookmark sites. While there have been spikes in traffic as a result, there has never been a commensurate spike in ad clicks. One of the highest traffic days for me came from a link you posted last April; a link which still regularly sends visitors to my blog. Links in from other blogs, along with comments I have left drive the most consistent traffic for me (outside of search engines).

  10. Having just had a wild ride from being Dugg over the weekend, I agree with you 100%, Darren. The short-term experience was unpleasant. The fallout, and my writing about it, has provided more qualified links and discussion than the actual post that was dugg.

    I haven’t seen anyone touch on something I’m pondering, which is when my blog has been dugg before, or I get second-hand digg traffic from someone whose piece was dugg and it linked to something I wrote, it was those “under 30” digg hits that provided tolerable traffic and interested visitors to my blog. Their motive to click in or link back was inspired and genuine. In other words, it’s the not HUGE Digg Effect that was needed for results. Smaller nods appear to be more productive.

  11. There’s really no comparison to the two types of traffic. However in the right channel digg is worth a lot and you can gain a lot of readers that way. Some may even stay if you are able to capture them with more in depth articles on the topic they came in for in the first place.

  12. Of course blogg referrals are way better.

  13. I guess that depend on your niche.
    Digg members are very difficult to convert into loyal readers unless your blog is relatively close to their content.

    Blog referrals are either blog owners which probably have a similar niche or loyal readers that could easily be loyal to you as well.

  14. As a frequent digger and blogger, I rarely add blogs found through Digg to my feed reader. I trust sites like this one and Lifehacker more than digg links.

    That is not to say I have not found some interesting sites through Digg, it is just that content on sites that are dugg are severely hit and miss.

  15. i think getting digg traffic and referral,both are important for seo / search engine optimization and it depends on case to case but i think use both in combination of 50:50

  16. Considering its use and its users, it really ought to be spelled ADDigg.

  17. I’ve been dugg, but saw absolutely no adsense increase and only about 5% of those who visited through digg, stumble, and reddit actually continue to visit. I’d prefer referral traffic if it were up to me.

  18. Agreed. The number of page views certainly explodes when one gets “popular” on Digg, but the glory is short-lived as only a small percentage of visitors actually remain loyal readers.

  19. Hmmm… seems like everyone is having a wild party and Im not allowed in. I got reported by some pesky competitor I think. Is this common on Digg?

  20. As far as keeping readers, I would rather have blog traffic, specifically from higher rated blogs. The digg thing seems to just knock a server, and then you don’t really go to the site afterwards, unless its in your niche.

  21. Yes, traffic from referrals is more worth it than Digg.

  22. […] Digg Traffic vs Referral Traffic – Which is Best? – Darren Rowse […]

  23. They are different but both are good.

  24. Digg readers don’t tend to read content, they scan. They have ADD, luckily I found this in my feed reader and not in Digg so I have read the content.

    As for adsense clicks, the majority of blog readers are technology orientated people and have learned to block out the little block of Google advertising space from their peripheral vision or via Adblock extensions on Firefox.

  25. I’ve been Dugg once. They usually don’t hang around much.

    I enjoy the hits nonetheless.

  26. Hello!

    As far as I am concerned rougly 35% of my traffic comes from Google. Besides this source I have around 5 other main sources. One of it is a huge forum which is a perfect place for me to advertize my blog in a polite and helpful manner. Since I am a very trusted member with 2000+ postings I am allowed to highlight my blog.

    To a certain extend my blog is a spin off from this forum because I think that there was something missing – my blog. The forum on the other hand also gains in readership due to my heavy linking to the forum on my blog.

    It is somekind of an unofficial cooperation. :)

    Those readers are indeed very loyal. I have a p/v rate von almost 4. I think that is awesome.

  27. Hello Darren,

    I have given my views on this topic in my blog, i personally believe there is no concrete statistical evidence to prove that digg traffic is completely useless (apart from individuals showing line graphs which hardly prove the point).
    I have addressed to a few of the things I believe in the following post:

    Hope to hear your feedback if possible.

    Dheer Gupta

  28. If this has been posted already I didn’t see it. This person crunched the numbers on time spent and page views and says traffic from Digg is like a “sugar high” that fades fast. Links from more targeted and related sources produce visitors that stick around and read more.

  29. […] But even if you don’t have advertisers knocking on your door, your traffic and subscriber count will still have a direct effect on income. TextLinkAds and ReviewMe set your asking price based on Alexa and Technorati ranks – even if you got a Diggalanche with no AdSense clicks, it can still translate into dollars when these go up. […]

  30. […] Traffico proveniente da Digg contro traffico proveniente dai referral – Quale è meglio? […]

  31. […] Background: There’s been a lot of discussion about the value of Digg traffic (Problogger, Neil Patel, etc). This analysis aims to use the data culled from the Chitika logs over a 31 day period to put an actual number to this theory. Since pretty much everyone receives Google traffic, this analysis uses Google as a base to compare against. […]

  32. […] Background: There’s been a lot of discussion about the value of Digg traffic (Problogger, Neil Patel, etc). This analysis aims to use the data culled from the Chitika logs over a 31 day period to put an actual number to this theory. Since pretty much everyone receives Google traffic, this analysis uses Google as a base to compare against. […]

  33. […] i posetioca sa digg servisa. O ovoj temi su pisali najpoznatiji svetsku blogeri kao �to su Problogger, Neil Patel, i mnogi […]

  34. […] Digg Traffic vs Referral Traffic – Which is Best? If you enjoyed this post Subscribe to the Free ProBlogger Newsletter […]

  35. Hi,
    Digg.com netscape.com and http://www.npgb.org is best.
    – William

  36. […] Digg Traffic vs Referral Traffic – which is best? […]

  37. If I was looking for low quality traffic or for high volume, I guess Digg would be alright. But for a highly focused niche site, I prefer high-quality traffic first and foremost. Referral and direct traffic is by far the best way to build a niche site. Or any site really.

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