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  • Khushboo Pareek

Is Reddit dominating Google search results war against SEO?

The Google Search landscape is undergoing a transformation with users noticing an increase in Reddit results when conducting searches on Google, leaving website owners in a state of discomfort.

The problems seems to be on two fronts. On one, Google's generative AI search engine looms ever closer to widespread adoption, prompting existential concerns for SEOs and website creators.

On the other, a surge in content from platforms like Reddit and Quora is reshaping the traditional hierarchy of search results, reported BI.

According to data analysis from Semrush, which predicts traffic based on search ranking, Reddit's traffic has experienced an ascent since August, with projections indicating a substantial increase from over 132 million visitors in August 2023 to an estimated over 346 million visitors by April 2024.

Observing users frequently appending "Reddit" to their search queries over the years, Google decided to take steps and made significant changes to its search engine algorithm in August 2022.

As a result, platforms like Reddit, Quora, and other online forums became more noticeable in Google's search results. They appeared not only in the regular list of links but also in a new section specifically dedicated to "discussions and forums."

Back in February, Google and Reddit revealed an agreement allowing Google to use Reddit content to train its AI models. The deal, rumoured to be worth $60 million, aimed to enhance how Reddit information is displayed.

The pact led to speculation that Google might have promised Reddit greater visibility on its platform in exchange for access to valuable data. Reddit going public, further fuelled speculations.

A Google spokesperson said, "Our agreement with Reddit absolutely did not include ranking its content higher on Search."

Not only Reddit, but also the Q&A forum Quora is experiencing a significant increase in visibility in Google search results, according to data from Semrush and Sistrix.

Google, however, claims that "hundreds" of other forums and online communities are also experiencing increased visibility.

Steve Paine, marketing manager at Sistrix, called the rise of Reddit "unprecedented."

"There hasn't been a website that's grown so much search visibility so quickly in the US in at least the last five years," he said.

In response to a post on X, Google search liaison Danny Sullivan said that users not only enjoy encountering "forum content" but also actively look for it.

A paper authored by multiple Google employees and published in late 2023 argued that extracting information from internet searches can significantly enhance the accuracy of chatbots.

Another a study conducted in February, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) blogger Glen Allsopp discovered that 51 per cent of the top-ranking threads from Reddit in Google Search's forums sections contained spam as the top comment.

There are concerns about Google's ability to prevent low-quality content from being picked up by its AI-powered search engine, which frequently relies on top search results for its responses.

Meanwhile, competitors like OpenAI and Perplexity are vying to challenge Google's dominance with AI chatbots designed to function like search engineers.

According to Steve Paine, marketing manager at Sistrix, almost half of the content from shows up in the top 10 Google Search results. However, only a small fraction (8%) makes it to the top 3.

SEO consultant Natalie Slater told BI, "Personally, I would expect this current dominance by Reddit to calm down once Google notes that the search experience has not been improved by the increased inclusion of Reddit."


Image Courtesy: Unsplash


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