Reddit & SEO: An AOR Guide

Digital, Website Design & Development, General

Read Time: 10 Min

Things you might not have otherwise thought were important, tend to crawl out of the SEO cracks and become important all of a sudden, especially in the digital space. We’ve been on an SEO kick here at AOR, writing about, talking about, and acting on SEO best practices, and we wanted to share a special little tidbit not many of our clients knew about: Reddit, specifically, Reddit & Google’s new partnership.

If you need a refresher on all things SEO, we chat about it in our recent SEO guide here.

SEO doesn’t always have to do with your website, however, sometimes healthy SEO has to do with how you interact as a brand on other platforms. Let’s chat about it.

The Rise and Importance of Discussions by Real Humans

If you take anything away from all the juicy SEO stuff you’re about to read, let it be this: not only do people value real, honest, community-driven interactions with brands, but so does Google. It’s no secret that AI has found its way into the day-to-day operations of most businesses and brands — and we aren’t saying it’s a bad thing. But, if you’re relying on AI to, for example, write your blog posts, it becomes less and less believable, people lose interest, and Google won’t like it.

In other words, Google is picking up on how easily businesses are incorporating AI-generated content into their blogs, so Google has started to favor responses from real humans in the form of discussions and forums. It’s looking for firsthand experiences, engaging content directly from the mouths of users or employees, and community-driven interactions.

The best place to find all of that? Reddit. And could there be something going on between Google and Reddit? We’ll chat about it in a bit.

How is Google already showing this preference?

Reddit links are now taking up a large portion of organic link SERP positions. It takes users a good amount of scrolling before they get to other organic links, meaning your blog posts could be ranking high for search terms, but other features are taking those #1 spots.

Apparently, “It can only take minutes for a Reddit post to rank in the top ten.” (via Search Engine Journal).

That’s right, minutes. We tried searching ‘best neighborhoods in Denver’ on Google and this is the order of search features we were given:

Paid links → ‘People also asked’ → Forums and discussions → Reddit organic links → All other organic links

Try searching anything on Google right now, with the right keywords, I’m sure you’ll see Reddit threads right at the top of your SERP.

GOogle screenshotGoogle screenshot

 

The Reddit/Google Partnership

Just as Reddit content and the ‘discussions and forums’ SERP feature started to appear at the top of your results pages, we learned that Reddit signed an AI content licensing deal with Google….coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. Both the deal and user’s preference for discussions and Reddit searches may have contributed to this change. Either way, the important thing is, if you stay up-to-date on what Google prefers, you have the ability to take advantage.

What’s the deal?

Google is paying Reddit $60 million a year to help train their AI platform (Gemini). They’ll have access to Reddit’s data API (UGC across a wide range of topics, authentic conversations, and perspectives), and in turn, Reddit gets to use Google’s search functions.

“We know people find this information useful, so we’re developing ways to make it even easier to access across Google products.” (via Google Blog).

Basically, Reddit helps Google get smarter, and Google helps Reddit get noticed through Google searches.

Despite this partnership being the root reason we are seeing Reddit discussions at the top of our SERPs, Reddit’s community-driven content does align with Google’s preference for user-centric, high-quality information.

 

What’s the Impact on Traditional SEO Tactics?

There is a shifting focus from keyword matching to actually understanding user intent. Why are they asking the questions they are asking? What do they want to get out of the information they can find with you? Reddit is a place people from all generations go to find the answers to the questions they have, and also to speak directly with people who are having the same experiences.

Traditional organic tactics such as keyword optimization, link building, and on-page optimization are not as effective with the new emphasis on community engagement tactics. Now, engagement-driven, fresh content is valued over static pages.

So yes, because Reddit is a high-visibility platform, it can divert traffic from your site despite your traditional SEO tactics. However, a site with expertise, authority, and ongoing trust can still outperform Reddit’s broader content topics. At the end of the day, there are reasons to trust and mistrust both a company with niche expertise and the experiences of ‘random strangers’ on the internet.

The only solution? Embrace the change.

Strategies and SEO tactics are ever-changing in the SEO world, so it’s important to adapt to them, not allowing your brand or business to get left behind.

Our recommendation? Balance traditional SEO practices with community engagement and content relevance. Traditional SEO hasn’t gone completely out the window. There’s still room for it in your strategies. We just think it’s important for businesses and brands to start prioritizing informative, engaging content over keyword density, even if that’s through your website.

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Benefits & Drawbacks of the Discussion-Driven Approach

Before we dig into some strategies you and your team can begin to implement, let’s consider what is and isn’t working about this strategy based on what we already know about SEO tactics, and the recent changing landscape.

The Benefits

  1. Diverse User Base: Reddit is filled with thousands of users from all over the world with all different backgrounds and of all different ages. The possibilities for accessing very specific markets are endless. Not only that, if you’re looking for a broad audience, you’ll get it.
  2. High-Quality Content: All the content you find on Reddit is user-generated. Because Reddit values authenticity, it acts as a platform for impactful content. The content you’ll find on Reddit is to the point, honest, and relevant.
  3. Natural Link Building: Participating in relevant discussions and providing valuable contributions can lead to organic backlinks from other community members, strengthening your site’s authority.
  4. Market Research: Reddit houses a wealth of data on customer trends which are extremely valuable for informing SEO strategies. A better understanding of consumer pain points, preferences, and emerging industry topics will put you ahead.

The Drawbacks

  1. Strict Guidelines: Reddit won’t allow any obvious self-promotion or spamming. It is a careful balancing act to lend your expertise without doing so in the context of a CTA.
  2. Time: You’ll need to spend a significant amount of time on Reddit, answering questions, contributing to forums, and exerting your expertise before users will begin to trust you and you will build a reputable presence.
  3. Backlash: Reddit is a place for real answers, which means most users are extremely candid. If negative comments are being made about you or your business, it’s hard to come back from that without proper brand management.
  4. Unpredictable Algorithm: The content relevant to users (that sits at the top) can shift quickly and suddenly due to Reddit’s voting-based system.

At the end of the day, not all users are experts, so it’s hard to throw yourselves into a battlefield of unpredictable internet warriors, but it’s possible the win can be even more rewarding than the grueling battle to get there. Consider all your options, and most importantly, figure out if the effort and strategies are right for you. Let’s go over a few of them:

 

Reddit SEO Strategies

We aren’t going to lead you into the dark on this one, we’ve thought about it and gathered a few key strategies that might work for some of our current and future clients.

Engage & Participate

Keep active, the easiest way to do this is to follow and engage with relevant subreddits. A subreddit or subcategory is more specific, for example, under the Denver Reddit, there will be a subreddit for ‘Best Coffee in Denver.’ It’s those more specific subreddits where you’ll be able to see what people in the community are talking about/interested in, what problems they are having, and then lend your expertise. Ensure you are bringing authentic insights to discussions to prove you are a knowledgeable/trustworthy source of information.

All of this work will ultimately enhance your brand credibility and authority and prove that you care about your participation in Reddit and aren’t just doing it for self-promotion.

Monitor Mentions

This strategy is applicable to all social media sites. If someone is discussing your brand or something related to your brand and they tag you, you should be a part of the discussion. Being on top of this quickly shows that you care, it allows you to address misinformation, concerns, or negative comments in a timely manner, and answer questions potential clients might have that are time-sensitive.

There are tools to assist you in tracking mentions:

  1. Google Alerts (Free)
  2. Mention Tools (Paid)

However you go about it, make sure you are quick, accurate, and reflective of your brand personality.

Consider Paid Efforts

Like any other social media platform, you can pay to be seen on Reddit. In fact, Reddit ads tend to have a huge influence on the purchase journey. Moreso than other platform ads, they encourage viewers to look more closely at your product or service. Rather than the pay-per-click advertising platforms like Facebook and Instagram provide, Reddit users a pay-per-impression system. This means you pay every time the ad appears whether or not someone clicks on it.

If you do decide to go the Reddit ad route, you can choose to use sponsored posts, display ads, or promoted user posts to get noticed. It would be wise to make your target strategy align with the subreddits relevant to your brand.

Increase Social Media Presence In General

Improving your social presence on all platforms can increase your rankings on SERP by means of your authority score. Google is rewarding social media presence more and more, so it may be time to dust off the Instagram app and get back to posting quality content. Being active on social media can…

  1. Increase your brand visibility.
  2. Give users opportunities to interact with you.
  3. Allow you to share content across platforms.
  4. Become more authoritative and relevant in the eyes of Google.

Pay Attention to Changing Algorithms

Once you get on Reddit and start taking advantage of its increasing relevance, remember to pay attention to algorithm changes. This partnership between Reddit and Google is new, things will inevitably change as it grows. To stay on top of things, follow subreddits that talk about algorithm changes, follow experts in your field on social platforms, and use tools like SEMrush to track changes to rankings and SEO.

 

Embracing Changing Strategy

Reddit is an evergrowing strategic SEO tactic for evolving a business. With this new partnership, you bet there will be a race to get in there and start sharing expertise, so get ahead of it! Hopefully, with the tools and strategies listed above, you have what you need to at least start familiarizing yourself with the platform and how it can work for you. Stay tuned as we ourselves start to navigate the platform.

As always, if you have any further questions or want to see our knowledge at work, give us a call and visit our website.

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