The Impact of Reddit Discussions on Google Search Results

If you keep an eye on the SEO community discussions around the internet, you may have noticed a lot of people noting (or complaining about) a recent change with Reddit posts appearing more frequently in search results. The message board website network is the meeting place of many different communities, offering everything from content and discussion to expert opinions, real-time news and grassroots advice. This has made it the ideal place to go to get answers to many different questions from a community of trusted individuals.  

Following a recent agreement between Reddit and Google, there’s been some conversation around the increased presence of Reddit posts in search results. This development has sparked curiosity about whether such visibility is a strategic move by the search engine or whether these pages genuinely provide a better experience for users.  

Be that as it may, Reddit’s content is finding its way into SERPs more than in the past and often unranking content sites and blogs discussing that have previously earned traffic from such searches. But how is this impacting the larger SEO space and how it can be leveraged by businesses? This post discusses why Reddit discussions contribute to shaping Google search outcomes, exploring the SEO benefits and challenges that come with it.   

Why is Reddit becoming more Popular in Search?

Reddit’s Structure and SEO Value 

If you’re not familiar with the social network, Reddit is divided into subreddits, each focusing on a specific topic or interest. This segmentation allows for highly targeted content, making it easier for Google to match queries with relevant discussions. Within these subreddits, threads are created by users to discuss various subjects, questions, or news. The upvote system further refines content visibility; posts that receive more upvotes are seen as more valuable or relevant, pushing them higher on the page. This user-curated ranking signals to Google the quality and engagement level of the content, often making it more likely to appear in search results. 

Benefits for Users 

When using Google as a source to find information or when you put a question in a search query, we are increasingly seeing community-based discussion websites appear in SERPs. Anecdotally, where rich snippets from various websites are not present for a particular informational query, listings from these kinds of websites are often earning a #1 or #2 spot.

Why would this be the case? Well, Reddit, along with Quora and others provide quick answers to these types of questions and there is some notion that these listings receive higher click through rates than blog content that may answer the same question. This has certainly impacted the change in search results. Likely, this is a result of a user population that simply doesn’t have the patience for long-form content to get answers for their question; they are expecting to have their query satisfied in a matter of seconds and discussion or forum based websites provide this where rich snippets do not. Here is a good example:

Reddit becoming more Popular in Search

Further, the population of searchers is naturally becoming younger and we now need to think about catering to a generation that has been brought up on social media as a way to find information. Discussion-style content is naturally more in line with this, where users can see quick responses as well as getting a sense of context and legitimacy from comments and discussion. If someone is providing misinformation, chances are somebody else in the discussion will point out their mistake, so there is an element of verifiability that isn’t as readily available with blog post pages for example.  

This also plays into the fact that such a discussion isn’t as vulnerable to spam, or users trying to push a product. The visibility of posts on Reddit is determined by a voting system, where other users can downvote spammy posts or comments, meaning it is pushed further down the page. With a lot of subreddits having a community ethic or shared values, someone that doesn’t belong is easily identified and often called out.

Reddit’s Authority and Fresh Content

Google values websites with high user engagement and regularly updated content—two areas in which Reddit excels. The platform’s active user base continually generates discussions on a wide array of topics, ensuring a steady stream of fresh content. As mentioned, Reddit provides a highly engaged community. This vibrancy and the topical relevance of discussions contribute to Reddit’s authority in Google’s eyes, making it a credible source for information on current events, niche topics, and more.

A good example of this, as Search Engine Land has pointed out, is in the case of users searching for product reviews. This has been a space that traditionally affiliate websites and blogs posts have performed well in and generated traffic from. However trends show that Reddit is starting to dominate these search terms as well.  

Why is this frustrating to SEO providers?

seo

Like just about any change in the SEO space, the community has expressed frustration as traffic is increasingly going to Reddit rather than informational posts where small businesses and websites previously could earn some clicks.

With many searches dominated by high authority websites and big brands, one area that smaller businesses could prosper in the organic space was to optimize content for informational search phrases and start marketing to people looking for help. This opportunity is compromised with Reddit starting to take over the SERPs for such searches.

Natural Challenges  

The natural logic would dictate that this change would encourage SEOs to increasingly use Reddit as a marketing tool. This would no doubt mean that spammers and poor quality content creators would also be more attracted to the discussion website.

As we’ve seen, the nature of Reddit is that it is better equipped to deal with this in a way that doesn’t negatively impact the space – good quality content and genuine information is more likely to be upvoted and approved by the community of the page that it is being posted to.

However even if this is the case, there are challenges for SEO providers looking to use Reddit more in their marketing strategy:

  1. Building a presence on Reddit that positively impacts SEO efforts is a long-term commitment. It takes time to build up kudos and legitimacy in a given niche. If you create an account and just start posting in a new sub-Reddit you aren’t immediately going to get traction and this may be marked as spam.
  2. Pushing content through Reddit with the expectation that it is going to earn clicks simply adds another gateway for users to navigate through, where previously they would be seeing the content in search results on Google and going straight to the website.
  3. Further, statistics suggest that most will simply find the answer to their question in the discussion rather than click through the users website or a link posted in the discussion. So chances are that the traffic never makes it through where the content was actually posted.
  4. Each subreddit has its own set of rules and guidelines, which can include restrictions on promotional content. SEO providers must carefully review these rules before posting to avoid having their content removed or being banned from the subreddit
  5. Reddit users are known for their ability to detect and reject insincere or purely promotional content. Attempts to manipulate the platform for SEO purposes can lead to backlash, damaging a brand’s reputation not only on Reddit but across the internet.
moving forward

Moving forward

While there are certainly challenges and hurdles that impact the barriers to entry and effectiveness for SEOs, there are also opportunities that come with increasingly using Reddit as a way of engaging your audience. Investing time into Reddit now while these changes are still being rolled out may be a good play, particularly in the sub-Reddits and are relevant for your niche. In fact, carefully selecting the right community might provide the best possible opportunity to connect with a qualified demographic that has interest in what you do. The local area sub-Reddit can also be utilized in the same way

For example, it may be worthwhile for a Melbourne based SEO agency to invest time in generating kudos and reputation in the Marketing, SEO or Digital Marketing sub-Reddits, but may also find the odd post in the Melbourne community page that is relevant to the services on offer. The point is that the strategic use of Reddit requires a nuanced approach, one that balances insightful contributions with subtle brand promotion. By actively participating in discussions, offering expert advice, and occasionally sharing content that adds value to the conversation, businesses can organically build their presence and credibility within the community.

Conclusion

This change is developing over time and SEOs and businesses will adjust accordingly. While this certainly encourages marketers to increasingly utilize Reddit as a way of interacting with their audience, there are no doubt some challenges that mean more barriers to make this a successful strategy.

The key to leveraging Reddit effectively lies in understanding and respecting its community-driven nature, emphasizing the creation of content that enriches discussions and offers real benefits to users. As we continue to monitor this trend, the reaction of the SEO community will undoubtedly play a crucial role in shaping the future of content visibility on the web.

The emphasis on value, authenticity, and community engagement in Reddit’s ecosystem serves as a reminder that, regardless of the platform, the core principles of successful SEO remain constant. This development in the SEO landscape is one we will be watching closely, recognizing its potential to influence not only search engine strategies but also the broader dynamics of online information sharing.