How Facebook Changed our Mobile Traffic

Mobile. Social. Those words seem to follow each other in most conversations.
Facebook recently shared that more than 425 million monthly active users have used Facebook mobile products in the last month.

At first, we were less bullish about the connection among Digg’s users. Typically people reading on the Digg iOS app and were not logged in to share their activity on Digg. Tap, Tap swipe did not seem to encourage conversation around the news they were reading.

But when we took a look at mobile traffic since the launch of our Facebook Timeline app in December, the story appears to be different. Since December:

  • Unique visitors to are up 29 percent
  • Mobile accounts for about 35 percent of our traffic from Digg Social Reader
  • Of the people coming from Facebook to Digg, 27 percent are on a mobile device

Knowing this, we’ve made a few changes to our mobile experience rolling out later this week. Firstly, if you’re currently using our Digg iOS app, we’ll ask if you want to upgrade to add reads, comments and Diggs to your Facebook Timeline, allowing you to easily sync your Digg activity between your desktop and IOS device.

IOS 2.0 app invite

Secondly, if you’re reading on a mobile device, you can now use the new Mobile Newsbar, which is built especially for the mobile touch devices. For those of you unfamiliar with it, the Newsbar allows you to click through a number of related headlines quickly and directly from the browser; which we think is a better way to read content on-the-go.

Mobile newsbar on

So go forth and be mobile. And social. We think the party is just starting.



Outreach Letters for Link Building [Real Examples]

Outreach letters are a primary element in any quality link building campaign: If you’re not getting responses, you’re not getting links. It takes a lot of trial and error to find what works, which can be difficult for new link builders. To make things easier for everyone, I wanted to give several outreach letters I use for contacting different sites.

Although I have done a lot of testing with different letters, I’m by no means suggesting mine are the best of the best. These are what work for me and I do use the conversion rate of my emails as a factor.

Guest Posts

For guest posting, you want to have a more personal approach in your email. However, you don’t want to be overly personal and invade their bubble. I like to do some light digging and find something I can personally connect with them on (if you can’t find something in 5 minutes, move on). I find this works better than trying to explain why the article would be a great fit for their site. Also, I found that adding a small incentive boosts the response rate.

Hey Taylor,

I recently came across and saw that you play a Deering Banjo. I broke the neck on my banjo a few days ago so I’ve been looking for a new one. I’ve never played a Deering before though: what’s your take on them?

Also, I’ve been writing up music articles and would love the chance to write on your blog. I’d be happy to send over a new set of banjo strings as a thanks!


Michael King wrote a great article with a scenario on how you can be personal to leverage a link. This is a perfect example of the quality links you can obtain through manual outreach.

Real Correspondence Example:

guest post correspondence

Broken link building

I target personal sites for broken links. These can be blogs or enthusiast sites and usually have a page of resources or a blogroll. I’m a fan of keeping emails short, so I try not to get personal on these.

Hey David,

I was looking through your suggested links on and noticed a few broken links. Let me know how to reach the webmaster and I can send a list their way!

Also, if you’re open to suggestions, I think would be a great fit. They have a large variety of customized parts that I’ve had trouble finding elsewhere.

All the Best,

The webmaster will nearly always be the person you are contacting. I just use the second sentence as a buffer to get a response before providing a list. Once I get a response (And hopefully a link) I provide them with a list I’ve acquired. You can see a great correspondence example of this on Nick Leroy’s broken link building post.

Also, If broken link building is still a new concept to you, Anthony Nelson wrote a tutorial on broken link building that’s definitely worth checking out!

Links to a Local Business Site

Local businesses are great to target if you have something to provide in return. For example, if you have a tool that would be beneficial for them to use on their site.


My name is Peter. I work for and we’ve recently created a tool for real estate businesses to help their visitors find movers in their area. Since we’re located out of Charlotte, we’re offering this tool to Charlotte businesses for free for a limited time.

You can customize the tool at

If you have any questions or need any help setting it up, let me know!


Real Correspondence Example:

Correspondence Example

Outreach Through Blog Commenting

This is what you can resort to if you can’t find any contact information on a blog. You want to be fairly vague, so that you’re not publicly displaying who your client is. I’ve seen bloggers get quite upset about outreaching to them through a comment and you obviously don’t want them publicly talking about your client negatively.

Hey Todd,

I was wondering if you accepted any guest posting on I couldn’t manage to find your email on the site. If you could get a hold of me at, I would greatly appreciate it!


Note: Sometimes people will respond through another comment first, so you want to make sure you’re subscribed to get emails on comments made on that post.

Real Correspondence Example:

blog comment correspondence


I then got a response via email and was able to negotiate from there.

Paid Advertising

This is more for bloggers than businesses. Businesses that have paid advertising are pretty straightforward about it. You just need to find the “advertise” button on their site and wait for them to send you an obnoxiously long media kit.

Hey Jay,

My name is Peter. I’m doing promotions for a dog related site and would like the chance to put up a small advertisement on I think it would be a great fit considering the relevancy. If this is something you’d be interested in, just let me know! Thanks in advance!

All the Best

Real Correspondence Example:

Paid Advertisement Correspondence


How to Increase Your Response Rate

I do this for hard to get links, like EDU’s. I basically open with a “soft email” to get a response. After that response, I’ll hit them with my actual proposal. This works well for propositions that require a long explanation, where people tend to just skim through instead of actually reading your email.


I’m trying to get in contact with the person in charge of the page. If you could point me in the right direction, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks in advance!

All the Best,

After I get a response, I give my full pitch. Since they’ve already committed to a conversation with me, they will read my email word for word instead of skimming through.

Real Correspondence Example:

increase response rate email


Keeping your emails short and sweet is a great way to go. I constantly try new forms of outreach and always end up reverting back to small quick emails. They grab attention at a glance and someone can see the point of your email right away. They’re also easier to construct on the fly, which allows you to send out several emails faster.


Encrypted Google Search by Default Coming to Firefox

Mozilla Firefox logo

Sometime in the next few months after a period of testing, Firefox will implement HTTPS encrypted search by default for all Google search users. Firefox, which enjoys about 25 percent browser market share, is the first to do so, beating even Google Chrome to the punch.

Google first began encrypting search for signed-in users in the U.S. back in October, though marketers called foul on the fact referrer data remains available to the search company’s paying advertising clients. Earlier this month, they took SSL search as the default global. Some webmasters were already reporting the loss of keyword data as high as 20 percent prior to that wider launch.

“We are currently testing the change to use SSL for built-in Google searches in our Firefox nightly channel,” a Mozilla spokesperson told InformationWeek. “If no issues are uncovered, it will move through our Aurora and Beta release channels before eventually shipping to all our Firefox users. This will include migrating the changes to our non-English version of Firefox, as well.”

Webmasters and marketers should expect further loss of referrer data, though to what extent will depend on a number of factors. There may well be some overlap between signed-in Google users, whose data is already unavailable, and Firefox users, whose search data will soon be encrypted unless they opt out of the browser’s security settings.

Through their search deal, Google was responsible for 84 percent of nonprofit Mozilla’s revenue in 2010. The Google-Firefox search deal was renewed in December 2011.


Big Commerce Datafeed Marketing for Price Comparison Sites

Big Commerce Datafeed Marketing for Price Comparison Sites

Big Commerce Datafeed Marketing for Price Comparison Sites

If you are a Big Commerce storefront owner, hopefully you have stumbled across this article in hopes to find an easier way in manipulating your datafeed for multiple price comparison engines.  Unlike some of the other well established managed shopping carts, Big Commerce doesn’t currently have any relationships with some of the large datafeed marketing providers like Singlefeed or GoDataFeed that are able to give you an edge in getting your products syndicated throughout the web.  However, don’t get too discouraged, because I’m going to unveil some secrets to save you a lot of painstaking time while leveraging the power of Big Commerce.

First, a couple of the pros of Big Commerce:

  1. It’s a great managed shopping solution
  2. It’s got a great user interface
  3. Out of the box it has tools for Google base (product submit) submission
  4. Has support for other shopping comparison websites like PriceGrabber
  5. Big Commerce has done a great job in making its product listings SEO friendly

Now the not so good:

  1. Although their system supports Google base, its very cumbersome
  2. All product exports (for shopping engines) are full exports
  3. Product based exports are time consuming especially if you have a lot of product SKUS
  4. Image URL’s and listing URL’s are not provided in an easy consumable format if you decide to export your entire product list
  5. Some fields in your product export include HTML tags that need to be stripped prior to using a datafeed marketing platform

Although no shopping solution doesn’t come with its inherit faults, the bottom above issues I just mentioned just make it slightly harder to work with from a datafeed perspective.  So less bitching and now on to a solution to help you create a great product feed.

First, you are going to have to do a full product export.  Make sure that you select “bulk edit” when doing this.  If you have done this step properly, you should hear a series of clicks and a progress bar that as it starts to build your export.  Once completed, download it to your computer and save.

Depending on your datafeed marketing provider (in this case its GoDataFeed), the header syntax is going to be different that what you receive from Big Commerce (AKA why were are having this conversation.)  For the sake of this writing, I’m going to focus more of this writing on how to deal with issue #4 above because I believe this to be the biggest time waster.

Lets start with the product images.  You’ll likely see a column that says product image number one (followed by several other columns), but you will not see a full URL to the product.  Rather, you’ll likely see an unfinished URL like /a/g/test/product.jpg or something like that.  Thus, it’s a an extension of an image folder and your job is to find the location of that folder.  In other words, you’ll need to find were the images originate from.  It should look something like this (the folder is actually /product/images/ but you’ll need the whole URL structure to input into your datafeed) You can find what the URL structure looks like by simply right clicking on one of your images on your current website and seeing what it looks like.

For sake of simplicity, lets say the above URL is the root URL for all your images and you need to add that to 10k+ products.  No problem.

Open a new spread sheet and copy and paste your unfinished URL in column “B.”  Next, copy your root URL all the way down to match the number of unfinished URL’s.  Now the question becomes, how do you combine the two?  Easy, just copy both columns, open word and “paste special” as unformatted text.  Now use the find and replace function of word and find ”    “ (AKA tab) and replace with nothing.  Congratulations, you just merged two columns into a single column.  Simply cut and paste into the appropriate field in your datafeed.  Follow the same procedure for building listing URL’s.  BTW- you’ll have to do some scrolling to the right to find these.  But when you do, you can employ the same technique as I just mentioned.

The rest should be pretty straightforward as most columns can be found in the export feed.  It’s just these two fields that need a little extra work that can be time consuming.  However, hopefully the above takes the sting out of that job while keeping your work locally on your computer.!


Pay-per-call: From Search Engines to Phone Calls

While online marketers are drawn to mobile advertising, many still make use of the pay-per-click concept. What most of them didn’t know is that there’s another search advertising method that can make their phones ring –—literally. Introducing, the “pay-per-call”!

What is Pay-per-call?

Pay-par-call is an advertising method that works similarly as pay-per-click. The only difference is that the ad copies designed for this marketing strategy is made to encourage people to pick up their phone instead of clicking it. Thus, the billable event here is the phone call and not the click.

According to FindWhat’s Senior Vice President Michael Kerans, pay-per-call is the “sweet spot between online and offline advertising.”

“We are marrying the power of the Internet with the power of human voice to close business over the telephone.”

How Pay-per-call Works?

Comparison shopping site FindWhat and technology provider Ingenio worked together to create the first search engine ad provider that offers pay-per-call services. There are various ways how this type of search advertising works with regards to ad targeting, structure, cost and bidding.

Creating Ad Copy and Content

Just like any other search advertisement, FindWhat posts their ads with a link to “Business Page Details.” It lists a business’ name, address, phone number and brief description of its products and services.

A pay-per-call ad displays a toll-free phone number instead of a URL. Ingenio dynamically generates this number, which will be redirected to the advertisers’ actual contact number. The advertiser will know if an incoming call is from a pay-per-call because of its brief introductory message.

Targeting Ads

Instead of using individual keywords, advertisers can select relevant categories for their ads. It will then be displayed on FindWhat’s pay-per-call distribution network, and it can be directed on different location through its geo-targeting option.

Bidding for Ads

Bidding for pay-per-call ads is simple. Advertisers will bid for an ad position, and they will only pay when someone calls. The rates will vary depending on the ad position, and it will be charged for the first 10 minutes of call.


Of course, people cannot call pay-per-call ads as PPC, since the acronym was already used for pay-per-click. However, online marketers are referring to it nowadays as PPCall. Moreover, the distribution network for this type of search advertisement is not that broad. But Ingenio has included InfoSpace, Miva, AOL, AOL Mobile and to its arsenal. Despite the marketing challenges, PPCall provides another way for businesses to generate leads and increase revenue.


Internet Searches For Health Info Cause Fear, Skepticism

Dig if you will a picture: You’ve noticed a lump in your throat. It’s not a painful lump but you can vaguely feel that it’s constantly there. Over a month or so it doesn’t go away, so you embark on some amateur pathology via the internet to see what you can find out. Before you’ve even had a chance to click on any links, this is what you’re struck with:

Immediately confronted with the big C-word, you flea to Bing to try that search engine. Unfortunately, it’s no less terrorizing.

You don’t even need to search for something as specific as lump in throat to get a digital death sentence. Type in something vague like “green spots” and you’re immediately greeted with an onslaught of health information.

Looking up a medical symptom isn’t the same as looking up the definition of “tergiversation” on or searching for examples of neo-liberalism on Wikipedia. Medical diagnoses aren’t compartmentalized. Plus, there’s a reason that medical training for doctors is so intense and exhaustive (and exhausting if you are a doctor-to-be). The human body is a bizarre set of puzzle pieces and nobody’s pieces are really made the same, either. Further, the more serious your potential illness may be, the less you probably wan’t to gamble with the internet’s standardized archive of information.

The internet was expected to bridge the distance between patients and physicians but instead it turns out that the deluge of information can inspire skepticism and fear, according to a new study from the University of Buffalo. In the study, “The Devil You Know: Parental Online Information Seeking after a Pediatric Cancer Diagnosis,” researchers found that parents and caregivers of cancer-stricken children prefer the traditional visits to the doctor’s office over online searches for information about their child’s illness.

“Respondents were telling us they were uncertain of the information online and that they were afraid of the unknown,” said Dr. Elizabeth Gage, the study’s co-author and professor of community health and behavior. “They didn’t want to run into stories about ‘the worst case scenario.”

Gage, along with her co-researcher Christina Panagakis, a graduate student, interviewed 41 parents of children with cancer to find out how much they relied on the internet as a source of information about their child’s illness, prognosis, and treatment. While the interviewees for this study opted for real-person consultation with a doctor, that’s not to say that the internet doesn’t have some value in medical treatment.

The information-seeking behavior of parents and other caregivers appears to be influenced by the volume of available information, Gage says. Patients with routine illnesses might find minor details online that better inform their conversations with health care providers, but respondents in this study who were confronting a more serious diagnosis were overwhelmed by the often conflicting sources of online material.

This is all supposing that you even have the option to visit a doctor. It’s inconceivably expensive to pay for a doctor’s visit out-of-pocket and if you’re one of the millions of people who don’t have medical insurance, your only lifeline very well might be two take two Google searches and call in in the morning (well, that and a pair of crossed fingers). In that case, you’re left to the merciless horror flood of intimidating if not terrorizing medical information that abounds whenever you search medical symptoms so hopefully you’re symptoms aren’t something as mysterious as a lump in the throat or, god forbid, “green spots.” Who knows what fresh new psychological hell you’ll be left victim to.


Google De-indexes and Penalizes Private Blog Networks

Google De-indexes and Penalizes Private Blog Networks

Panda is currently on the leash and heavily penalizing and de-indexing websites filled with thin or low quality contents, which are solely created for the purpose of search engine optimization.

What is Private Blog Networks?: Private Blog Networks is composed of services that offer quick back-link creation through publishing articles on an array of blogs. These blogs serve as repositories of articles (usually spun ones). These spun articles are heavily laden with self-serving keywords and links. Before the release of Panda 3.3, Google’s search engine bots might have overlooked this type of link-building tactic, but, fortunately, they have caught up, and companies who are using this type of link-building services are paying their dues.

Google Doesn’t Like Spun Articles: As Google is always improving its search algorithm to deliver high quality services to its millions of search users, the possibility to game its system becomes more difficult especially for those greedy black hatters who intentionally violate major policies and rules most search engines want their users to adhere.
One of the most commonly abused link creation strategies is the heavy creation of spun articles, which are usually dumped to cheap private blog networks to produce numerous back-links. Google considers these spun articles as thin contents because they don’t offer much value both to readers and search engines.
Originality or uniqueness is one of the main factors used by Google to determine the quality of content. Their latest search algorithm has now the intelligence to detect spun articles from original ones.

New Way to Evaluate Links: Google has announced that their latest algorithm update includes new metrics and calculations on how they evaluate links. The excerpt is part of Google’s official statement: “We often use characteristics of links to help us figure out the topic of a linked page. We have changed the way in which we evaluate links; in particular, we are turning off a method of link analysis that we used for several years. We often re-architect or turn off parts of our scoring in order to keep our system maintainable, clean and understandable.”

With this latest development from Google, search marketers should learn from the mistakes of those websites that are completely eradicated from the SERPs and create SEO strategies that have long lasting effects and are ethical to the eyes of search engines.