Digg made a change to their site today, adding the no-follow attribute to all external links until they felt sure the link was safe.

They also issued a statement about the change on their blog and even went as far as to speak directly to SEOs, saying they would indeed lose some of the authority they may have been getting from Digg in the past.

“These changes reduce the incentive to post spammy content (or link spam) to Digg, while still flowing ’search engine juice’ freely to quality content. We’ve added rel=”nofollow” to any external link that we’re not sure we can vouch for. This includes all external links from comments, user profiles and story pages below a certain threshold of popularity.”

Since Digg has received some backlash in the past about releasing changes that effect the way the search engines crawl their site, they made a point of mentioning that they had consulted ‘with leading experts from the SEO/SEM and link spam fields, in an effort to lookout for the interests of content providers and the Digg community’ before launching the change.

Of course it is important to note that they are doing a better job of handling ‘nofollow’ than Delicious does. Instead of completely nofollowing all external links, they are going to have a system to determine which links actually deserve to be followed.

So if you take a quick look at the front page of Digg, you will notice that all the popular stories are properly followed.

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Where if you head over to the section for the newest content, you can see it is being nofollowed.

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Based on what I have seen on the site to date, the determining factor in whether a link is nofollowed or not, is simply whether it is ‘popular’ or not. Even many top level domains are currently being nofollowed when in the upcoming sections.

Of course this change should really not effect most social media marketers, as the social media site links are never what you really shoot for anyhow. So only people who really throw stuff in Digg in hope of getting any link value they can out of the site, will really be effected.

Social Media Marketing is about getting the visibility and exposure for quality content through the social media sites, and then getting higher quality natural links by being in front of an audience that is more prone to give links.

The only change that may actually affect people is the links on the profile pages being nofollowed as well. Unlike popular pages having followed links though, when it comes to profiles, no one passes the quality test. Not even Kevin Rose, a Google PageRank 6 profile page, has his profile links followed.

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