Early explanations by conspiracy theorists centered around the site’s announcement it would be releasing a replacement of Google Reader, a service the search engine is discontinuing July 1st of this year.
Other possible reasons given were the latest role-out of Panda or even wading into Penguin’s path for its multitude of duplicate content and publishing spam laden links. But the truth of the matter is, the site itself was to blame. During an update, it did not include the proper mark-up in a robots.txt file and as a result, Google’s algorithms automatically took the site out of its search results.
However, the search engine seemed to conclude it was to blame for the mishap writing, “We’re sorry about the inconvenience this morning to people trying to search for Digg. In the process of removing a spammy link on Digg.com, we inadvertently applied the webspam action to the whole site. We’re correcting this, and the fix should be deployed shortly,” in a statement regarding the de-indexing.
It appears there were many errors which lead to the social news site’s removal from the SERPs, but it’s been corrected and is now available.
Ironically, Digg’s own people say even though their site was taken out of the search index, it doesn’t adversely affect the company’s performance, “The good news is that it doesn’t really impact us all that much,” he adds. “The vast majority of our traffic is direct (like 90%+) so it’s not a huge deal for us from a business/user perspective,” said General Manager of Digg, Jake Levine, in a brief interview with TechCrunch.
Experts, however, warn that Being de-listed from Google’s search results is a very serious matter, even if it was in error, pointing to past instances when sites suffered major drops in traffic because such action had been taken.
Digg was launched in December of 2004 and has an Alexa rank of 693 in the February 2013 measurement. Annual revenues from the social news site are approximately $9 million.