The "new and improved" Digg launched the other week. And while I'm not going to get into the pros and cons of the new design, one very important thing to mention is that all the old links from Digg's past, approximately 14 million of them, are gone. I had been wondering for several weeks in the time leading up the Digg revamp what was going to happen to those old links and now we know. While I can hope that they'll be "reinstated" down the road, the loss of 14 million links (essentially overnight) got me thinking--what would happen if other popular link sources were to vanish? How many site owners would lose their link portfolio and SEO along with those links?

When it comes to link building, it's essential that site owners diversify their links as much as possible in order to protect their long term success.

Sometimes link building techniques become black hat.
For a while, link exchanges worked as a great link building technique. You get a link, I get a link and everyone wins. Except one day the search engines decided link exchanges were pushing the boundary of "acceptable" link building and decreed them to be black hat. Just like that an entire segment of link building was, at best, much less valuable and at worst, a danger to your site. This is one critical reason that site owners need to diversify their link portfolio. We cannot predict what changes the search engines are going to make or what link building tactic is due for the chopping block next. You don't want to risk the majority of your link profile being devalued because the one link type you were counting on is suddenly a red flag for the search engines.

Recent search algorithm updates have targeted back link profiles.
The latest Google update, Panda, targeted web spam tactics like keyword stuffing and over-use of exact match anchor text, but it also went heavily after sites with "unnatural" link portfolios. Keep in mind that a few bad links aren't going to undo years of good SEO, but you have to look at it like a seesaw. Once the scale starts tipping towards the "bad" links you run the risk of incurring a penalty should the algorithm catch up with you. By diversifying your link portfolio you help minimize this risk (provided you diversify by building quality links from a variety of sources). The more quality link sources you have in your profile the better your site will stand up to search engine scrutiny.

You can't control what other sites do.
How often do you really go through each and every link in your profile to see what has become of those sites? A site that used to be a great source of a link might have undergone a bit of an identity crisis and no longer be as relevant as it was when you got that link. A great blog might have been sold to a new owner and gone from high quality content to article farm. The point is you can't control what happens to other websites, but you are still connected to them via that live link. The more you diversify your link portfolio the more insulated your website becomes from any changes on other sites that provide you those inbound links. One good link gone bad won't have as dramatic an impact when you've got a dozen other quality links making up for it.

At the end of the day, diversifying your link portfolio is essential for long term SEO success, as well as for the protection of your website. It's never a good idea to put all your SEO eggs in one basket, nor do you want to give the search engines any reason to suspect "unnatural" link building.

August 6, 2012

Nick Stamoulis is the President and Founder of Brick Marketing, one of the premier full service SEO firms in the United States. With over 12 years of experience Nick Stamoulis has worked with hundreds of companies small, large and every size in between. Through his vast and diverse SEO, search engine marketing and internet marketing experience Nick Stamoulis has successfully increased the online visibility and sales of clients in all industries.


Everyone has been put on notice to some extent so while it definitely takes more time and effort to build quality links across a broader spectrum of websites for your clients, in the end it will be well-worth the efforts and will cull the SEO herd so to speak, to say nothing of the results you can deliver for your clients.

The new folks over at Digg say that the links might be brought back soon. But still your post presents a scary picture. Especially after Penguin and panda, it has become important to get backlinks from diverse sources rather than concentrate on a few popular sources. You never know which source might get penalized and get your boat sunk too. A diverse backlink profile will also negate some effects of poor quality sites linking to you. Excellent post Nick.

I was really surprised to see that all the old links are gone from Digg. You are absolutely correct, it is very important to scrutinize the portfolio of inbound links as links always enable the website to establish trust and relevancy. has started cracking down on sites as a result of the P&P updates and Digg eliminated all old's a common theme among 3rd party sites and having diversified links will help lessen the impact. At the end of the day, there is no substitute for managing your own site where the majority of your effort is focused.

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Search Engine Guide > Nick Stamoulis > Links Can Vanish; Will Your Portfolio Disappear with It?