A few days ago, Digg changed their ranking algorithm (I noticed this immediately since I am an active Digg member, but I didn’t wanted to blog about it), in such a way that now upcoming stories need even 100+ diggs to make it to the frontpage. And since Digg doesn’t offer an official FAQ (the reasons are the same why Google doesn’t offer an official algorithm FAQ – so people can’t abuse), I decided to write a few of my findings along the way. These are unofficial, unsupported points and are purely my personal ramblings. So if someone has any objections, please do comment.
This post wants to show you guys my findings about Digg’s ranking system as well as how many diggs you need to reach the frontpage, for each of Digg’s categories (please do note that this post doesn’t represent a method to let users know how they can trick Digg’s system, but a way to let users know about how the ranking system really works). What will get you a frontpage:
- The rapidity of the votes. If you get 40-50 votes (no matter what users digg) in the first 30 minutes, you’re probably on the frontpage. If you get 60-70 in the first 18 hours, you’re probably still on the frontpage. If you don’t get at least 60 votes in the first 24 hours, you’re nowhere.
- The rank of the users that vote the article. The highest it is on the top list, the better (enter the user’s profile, and his rank will be shown). You can also see the number of promoted stories for each user that voted your article by watching the number in the brackets beside the user’s name. Digg also has a Top Users page, and you can sort it by Diggs, Promotions etc.
- The number of comments, and the positive diggs that each article receives. If you have a lot of negative rated comments that can hurt more then help actually. If you have 30 comments, and 20 are rated below -4, you’ll probably not make it to the frontpage. This function might not be implemented yet, as Kevin noted in one ZDnet interview, but it seems to me that it is.
- The number of buries your story gets. You can get buried whilst being in the upcoming section, or whilst being on the frontpage. The number of buries that your story needs to receive to be buried really depends, but I think it’s related to the rank of the user who issues the bury, the type of burry (Duplicate Story, Spam, Wrong topic, etc) as well as the number of Diggs the story received. So if you story is in the upcoming section and receives 3 buries, it might get buried. But if it’s on the frontpage with 1000 Diggs, it will take more than 10-15 buries for it to disappear (yet still accessible from Digg, but not beeing present n any category – just by direct linking, or searching with “buried stories” included).
- The submitted / promoted stories ratio of the users that vote. If 12-14 users with at least a 70% ratio, vote your article, you can make the frontpage much easier. You can find this ratio in any user’s profile.
- Make friends. Mutual Friends usually digg your stories, so those 10-20 extra diggs can make the difference. You can add a maximum of 4 friends per hour (for spam reasons, and way to go Digg). You can add as many as you would like, and hope that they will add you too, so you will be mutual friends. After that, help your friends (and hope they will do the same) by watching the Submitted by Friends section.
- Update: Very Very Important: If you have a LOT of friends (50-100 or more) you will need 2X or 3X as many diggs as a new user, to reach the frontpage. This is proven and 2 of the top10 users confirmed it to me. It’s natural that Digg implemented this for powerful users, because their friends dug their articles, so they have an advantadge over a usual starting user with just a few or NO friends. So if you are a very new user with no friends, you can still get to the frontpage with 30-40 diggs.
Now about the aprox. number of diggs you need to get on the frontpage, for each category:
- Technology (and the sub-categories) – about 50 diggs required, but it may go up to 90.
- Science (and the sub-categories) – about 65-70 diggs required, but it may go up to 85.
- World & Business (and the sub-categories) – about 80-90 diggs required, but it may go up to 100.
- Sports (and the sub-categories) – about 30-40 diggs required, but it may go up to 50.
- Videos (and the sub-categories) – about 55-60 diggs required, but it may go up to 80.
- Entertainment (and the sub-categories) – about 50-55 diggs required, but it may go up to 70.
- Gaming (and the sub-categories) – about 35-50 diggs required, but it may go up to 60.
They also increased the timeline that stories have to make it to the frontpage. If up until now your story needed a maximum of 18-20 hours to make it to the frontpage, now you can see frontpage stories submitted 26-28 hours ago.
They also added a Popular Stories Archive, with popular stories by month. I would suggest Digg some sort of pagination, because some pages (in some months) have 2000 links. The page loads forever and remember Google recommends a maximum of 100-200 links per page ?
And to top it up, here are three interviews with Kevin Rose, about Digg and the Digg algorithm (read them and you will get smarter, and understand Digg better):
Interview with Digg founder Kevin Rose (Part 1, about the ranking system) – ZDnet
Interview with Digg founder Kevin Rose (Part 2, about the spam protection) – ZDnet
Digg’s Kevin Rose on Recent Indiggnation: Fact vs. Fiction – MarketingShift
Digg is now ranked as the #25 most visited website in the US, and about #75 worldwide, according to Alexa.
Last note: I will appreciate any corrections and/or comments about what I just wrote, from the Digg users and/or the Digg staff. If something I wrote is utterly wrong, deceiving or otherwise, please e-mail me.
Edit: The story at Digg was buried. That makes me (and not only me, but a few other top members too) wonder: Why ? (I am not concerned about the traffic, but about the competency of Digg’s users to let information out on the frontpage)