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A recent ranking happening that has been gaining a lot of attention among SEO practitioners is the apparent lightning-fast ranking of a Reddit post within mere minutes of its posting

For one, this shows something quite important to those in the world of SEO: posting on Reddit can lead to a good ranking. 

Think about why this may be: a blog post may show up on featured snippets for a search query, but a target audience may be more attracted to Reddit posts from users in organic search results.

Including relevant search terms and link building are things that SEO practitioners consciously put in their consciously relevant content. But people discussing a topic on Reddit may use the right key words and other ranking factors just naturally, leading to a top ranking post. One that may be above your blogs, even if you put in a table of contents.

But for the SEO practitioners who dig a little deeper to divine what possible connection there may be between the Google search engine ranking algorithm and the content that appears on Reddit forums, a startling revelation awaits. 

The Google and Reddit Deal

That revelation is that Google, just this year (2024 C.E. (Common Era)), inked a pretty sizable deal with Reddit to access the web site’s content for the training of Google’s generative artificial intelligence (A.I.) platform, Gemini

This partnership is the result of growing awareness among A.I. developers that the sum of written content on the Internet may be freely available to read, but not exactly freely available to exploit for commercial reasons. One of these ends is training A.I. platforms on content, which has led to a litany of lawsuits against companies like OpenAI that chose to train their generative A.I. platforms on copyrighted material with no notification to or payment of the copyright holder. 

So, anyone who wants to stay ahead of the A.I. game without getting slowed down by the quicksand of lawsuits will need to pony up to access valuable content to train an A.I. platform on. Hence, Google paying a hefty sum to Reddit, which has a literal virtual ton of content for an A.I. platform to train on. 

Among some SEO practitioners, this is more or less evidence that Google is likely preferencing Reddit posts because of the $60 million deal. Like the relative of a showbiz big-wig that gets a huge role in a major motion picture mere weeks into rolling into Tinsel Town, there is something oddly suspicious about a Reddit post by some random user suddenly shooting to the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP)

What Even Is This Reddit Thing?

For the uninitiated, Reddit is a site that has been around for quite some time now. 

Reddit is a content platform that is not dedicated to any one topic, but rather hosts a large number of discussion forums, each dedicated to a particular theme or topic. These discussion forums are called “subreddits”. 

This site is not quite social media, partly because the majority of its users post with pseudonymous usernames rather than real-name profiles that are meant to represent the actual person behind the post. 

Basically, there is a subreddit for just about anything you can think of. And of course this involves commercial products and services that people will discuss the merits and demerits of. 

From a video game to a clothing brand, people will show up to a subreddit just to discuss the things they enjoy as consumers. 

Notoriously, it can be difficult for businesses to actually control what is said on a subreddit because the whole attraction for users is having the feeling of an “authentic” discussion relating to a consumer product or service. If everything on the subreddit feels like an undercover advertisement for a product, then people will likely pick up on that. 

But still, given the high number of users on Reddit, businesses will need to deal with the reality that Reddit can be one of the premiere sites that make or break a company’s reputation. 

How the Partnership Could Affect SEO

Has Google added extra import to a Reddit post, or are we SEO practitioners all just jealous that a random Redditor can get high rankings so easily?

A worthy question to consider, it is.

Whether there really is a quid-pro-quo thing going on with the placement of Reddit posts high on the SERP is unknown to the wider public at this point, though Google of course denies this. 

But regardless of what is really going on behind the scenes and under the table, it is still noteworthy that Reddit is enjoying high rankings on the Google SERP. 

This means that businesses should certainly not be passive about the web site Reddit, because it is filled with opportunities to do branding online. 

For instance, hosting question and answer sessions about a new or upcoming product can be a good way for users to get truthful answers about a product straight from the mouth of the company that sells it. 

And regularly popping into the subreddit to monitor customer feedback can offer you a hint about what sentiments are likely to rank on the search engine for users searching for reviews and customer experiences about a product or service. 

Ultimately, what a business must understand about Reddit is that its reputation as a source for rankaable content is clearly growing in the eyes of Google and the figurative eyes of its search algorithms. As a result, businesses will need to pay more attention to Reddit as a possible make-or-break source of a business’ online brand image. 

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