Saturday, September 22, 2007

Social news sites: Ranking web content

Have you wondered when or even if you need to consider using social news sites for ranking web pages? Steve Spalding of How To Split An Atom compares Digg, Reddit, Stumble Upon, Shoutwire, Slashdot, and Truemors from the perspective of increasing web traffic.

I found his article, How to use social news sites, helpful in understanding the differences and what types of articles are the focus of readers of these sites.

Popularity of topics center around politics and very unusual stories or pictures. Digg readers hate Bush, love Linux, Apple, and pictures. Submissions have a 24 hour time frame in which to get voted up.

Digg also has implemented a major update this past week that enhances the site to a more social environment. Some of the improves include: increased friend capabilities so individuals with like-interests can communicate, and emphasize content by sending links to friends and discussing topics on message boards.

Popular stories are more “news worthy” than stories in Digg. Reddit users like news, good titles, dislike Bush, Digg, and spam. Politics are big topics.

Stumble Upon
Stumblers like videos, cute pictures, and interesting content that can be presented at a glance. Stumble Upon is review based and is not time based. When submitting an article, think how the article can catch readers' attention in 5 seconds. Also, choose your category wisely.

Very few stories are promoted a day. When a page makes the top list, it will be there a while. The Shoutwire readers are politically outspoken. Readers on this site like social issues, partisan politics, and non-technical articles.

Slashdot is the oldest of social news sites. It gets lots of traffic and has a crowd that includes industry insiders and a insightful community. Slashdot is almost exclusively a “news” portal and the stories are chosen by a combination of users and editors.

Technology related, particularly focusing on security and online rights, and science news articles are rewarded. How-to articles are rare. The new “Firehose” feature has added some social voting features. Slashdot users are the most likely to have insightful comments.

Everything has a chance to be promoted, particularly because the number of submissions is small.

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