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Unlocking Reddit for SEO: 9 Actionable Strategies for Marketers

You may have noticed more Reddit posts lately in the SERPs while searching for product information or reviews, right? Well, we all are in the same boat as Google is lately prioritizing helpful content in SERPs, and Reddit has been a valid source of helpful and authentic information for the last 20 years! Reddit is gradually becoming a significant buying decision-making factor for B2C businesses as people tend to check reddit reviews before purchasing products, and this trend is rising. According to Reddit, 90% of users trust them to learn about new products and brands. Guess what? People even add the term “reddit” at the end of their search queries. Brands need to regulate their Reddit presence for three reasons: 1) to gain traffic, leads, and backlinks, 2) to manage reputation, and 3) to build an audience.

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No other social media platform or discussion forum has achieved such credibility before. Yes, Quora has also been doing well for some time, but they have lost the game to Reddit thanks to the spammy content and lack of moderation. With 1.212 billion monthly active users and over 100,000 subreddits, Reddit can now be addressed as the most overlooked yet incredibly powerful social media site for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in 2024. Today, we will dive deep and explore the 9 actionable strategies for effective Reddit SEO marketing that you can use to optimize Reddit content for higher brand visibility and traffic. We will also discuss how to avoid subreddit and site-wide bans on Reddit. Before going further, let's discuss why Reddit matters for SEO, its functionality, and algorithm. 

Explore the key sections we are going to cover:

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Understanding Reddit and How Its Ranking Algorithm Works

As already discussed, Reddit has 1.212 billion monthly active users who love asking questions, providing answers, and debating. An extensive user base and continuous engagement make it a goldmine for SEO professionals. Besides, the user-friendly interface makes it easier for redditors to find the right content, leading to higher engagement, sharing, traffic, and ranking. 

The Power of Upvotes and Downvotes

Karma is more like a reputation base for Reddit users. The more Karma you have, the more trust your account will have, and other users will know that you provide good content. Not to mention, Reddit follows a democratic voting system, and therefore, Karma highly depends on the number of upvotes and downvotes. When you publish valuable and insightful content, such as posts or comments on Reddit, people reward it with upvotes. On the contrary, they tend to penalize spammy and irrelevant content with downvotes. The number of upvotes and downvotes a post receives determines its visibility and ranking. A higher number of upvotes can take a post to the top of the subreddit, while a higher number of downvotes can make it simply disappear. 

User Engagement and Discussion

Continuous engagement and discussion are other factors that Reddit considers when deciding whether a post should receive more or less visibility. Receiving a good number of comments in the first few hours illustrates that people are showing interest in the topic, and thus, Reddit rewards the content with more visibility. Therefore, your content should be designed to grab users’ attention and encourage them to participate in the discussion.

Pro Tips: Keep some arguable elements in your content, but be careful about overdoing them. 

Content Freshness and Post-time

Post your content when your target audience is mostly active, as Reddit prioritizes fresh content. Avoid posting content at midnight or midday because redditors are usually more active in the morning and evening. It is highly recommended that you analyze when your target audience on Reddit is active before making any post. 

Exploring Why Marketers Have Traditionally Ignored Reddit

Digital marketers previously stayed away from Reddit for two reasons: Some had misconceptions about its potential and how it works, and the challenges and restrictions demotivated some. 

Misconceptions About Reddit

For a long time, marketers thought Reddit was a chaotic and unregulated platform with millions of aggressive users. Therefore, they did not want to allocate time and resources to it. Another reason could be that the other SEO platforms were performing better compared to Reddit, or at least so they thought.

The Challenges of Self-promotion or Marketing on Reddit

Some marketers stayed away from Reddit because of the promotional restrictions, as neither Reddit nor Reddit users like self-promotion in the organic posts. When someone tries to promote something or publish spammy content, redditors can easily detect it and give downvotes. As a result, the post can be deleted, and in the worst case, the account can be banned, too.

The Unexplored Potential of Reddit: From Traffic to Link-Building Strategies

Despite all the challenges, Reddit has massive potential since its content is gaining a higher ranking in Google Search Engines recently. Marketers need to add value to the relevant subreddits instead of self-promotion or publishing spammy content. By optimizing content on Reddit, it is possible to bypass good traffic to your website by creating backlinks, and everyone knows how good and effective Reddit backlinks are for SEO. 

Use tools like Ahrefs, Moz, Google Analytics, or any other relevant SEO tools to track the backlinks and their performance. Do not forget to monitor the backlinks regularly to ensure the created backlinks positively impact your website.

Nowadays, people also check reviews and user experiences published on Reddit before purchasing products or services. Negative reviews about your brand and products can also exist. Of course, you can not force them to delete such reviews, but you can engage in such posts, listen to what they say, and minimize the damage. 

Optimize Your Reddit post: Effective Keyword Research, Engaging Content Creation, and Perfect Post Timing.

Effective Keyword Research

It is necessary to conduct adequate keyword research before writing content to leverage the full potential of Reddit. You can use popular keyword research tools such as Google's Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, and SEMrush to find the keywords your target audience uses on Reddit. Another way is to check the existing popular posts and comments there. Such practice will help you to find the right language and keywords to communicate with your target audiences. Let's see how you can do the keyword research for Reddit:

1) First, conduct in-depth keyword research, as you usually do, and find some low-competitive keywords.

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2) It is clear now that Google is favouring discussion platforms, especially Reddit and therefore rolled out a new section in SERPs named "Discussions and Forums" at the end of 2023. Your competitor will be other reddit posts. Now do some Google search with the selected keywords and check if any relevant post comes in the SERPs. 

3) If a reddit blog post comes up, check it and analyse if you can write something better. If no reddit posts come, then you are set to fly. 

Engaging Content Creation

Creating engaging content is the first and most crucial step to gaining higher visibility and ranking on Reddit. Therefore, make sure your content is not only interesting but also adds value to the subreddits you are targeting. Do not engage with controversial topics, as you risk losing karma. Do not forget to add visuals such as high-quality images, infographics, or interesting videos to your post. Finally, stay authentic because no one likes a phony.

Best Time to Post on Reddit

As we already discussed, posting at the right time is crucial for Reddit, similar to other social media platforms. A Reddit user named ADarkcid recently came up with an exciting proposition after analyzing 120k posts in 10 days for 180 subreddits. Based on the analysis, he suggested posting before your target audience starts coming online. Then, the post will be in the rising category and gain more upvotes than the other posts. 

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Curious to learn more about the study? Check-in Github

How to Effectively Use Subreddits for SEO

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Suppose your company name is ‘XBike’ and you produce bikes, motorcycles and accessories. You want to run a SEO campaign on reddit. Let's see how you can effectively use subreddits for SEO.

Step 1: Make a List of the Relevant Niches

Targeting the right niche is essential for any social media marketing platform, and Reddit as a discussion forum is no exception. Niche-specific subreddit communities are usually smaller in audience size but can offer valuable insights and higher engagement rates. Therefore, we suggest starting your subreddit journey with relevant niche findings! Make sure not to start sorting now. Instead, you can make a list of all relevant niches for now. 

Some popular subreddits where people talk about bikes are cycling, motorcycles, bicycling, hiking, running etc.

Subreddit name Members
hiking2.1 M 
cycling818 K
motorcycles 3.1 M
bicycling 1.1 M
running 3.3 M

Step 2: Target the Right Subreddits for Your Niches

Now you have a list of relevant subreddits similar to your domain or product. But they may not be the right fit and can not provide what you are looking for. From our above example, the cycling subreddit has the least members but members are comparatively more engaging. On the other hand, the subreddit hiking has around 2.1 M members, but they are comparatively less engaging. Therefore, you need to check their audience number, engagement rate, and relevancy manually to decide whether the subreddit is the right fit. If all of the metrics are positive, then proceed to step 3.

Step 3: Understand the Rules or Guidelines They Follow

Every subreddit has its own set of rules or guidelines, so you should carefully read them before making the final decision. We suggest so because if the rules are too strict, it will be difficult for you to survive there as a marketer, and it may not be worth your time either. 

Step 4: Keep Engaging Continuously

Congratulations! You are ready to start your subreddit journey with a list of relevant subreddit names. So what next? Well, keep engaging and earn karma as much as possible. Keep reading to know more about karma and how to be the Reddit king.  

Importance of Reddit Karma and How to Build It

The more karma you achieve, the more reliable you will be as an author on Reddit. But the question is, what strategies should you follow to achieve more karma on Reddit, and how can you maintain them? If you do not know, Reddit karma is not permanent, and it can increase or decrease with the number of upvotes or downvotes you receive. By the way, Reddit karma is not always 1:1 proportional to upvotes and downvotes, which means 1 unit of upvotes will not exactly give you 1 karma, or 10 downvotes in a comment may not reduce your total karma by 10 as it largely depends on algorithm. 

Why Do You Need Reddit Karma?

Reddit community moderators often set the rule that you will be able to join the subreddits, but you can not make a post or comment on a post without specific qualifications. These rules are usually set on the account age or karma basis. For example, an account below 10 days or 50 karma can not make a post. If an account with less karma and age makes a post or comment, the automoderator (subreddit bot) will delete it. There are also some secret groups where you will need preapproval from bots or humans to join, and they will consider your karma and account when making the decision. 

Two kinds of Karma are publicly available: post karma and comment karma. When you place the mouse cursor on a Reddit username, you can see both. Karma can also be global and subreddit-specific. Although subreddit karma is not public, it can be tracked with the right tool. Sometimes, subreddit moderators can also set subreddit-specific limitations that you can not make a post or comment without gaining some karma in that particular subreddit, which keeps the subreddit spam free but makes it pretty difficult for new users to make the cut.

8  Actionable Tips for Gaining Karma on Reddit

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  1. Post quality content regularly exactly before the prime time with balanced frequency.
  2. Engage in the discussion and leave helpful and insightful comments, especially when you are not allowed to post. Do not feel afraid to post a little funny and scary content, too, since it is super easy to get upvotes with such posts. However, be careful about overdoing it and never abuse other redditors. 
  3. People say it is harder to maintain karma than to gain it, as one little mistake can ruin everything. Therefore, remember to check the subreddit rules carefully. 
  4. Caution! Downvotes are injurious to karma. So, stay away from highly controversial or divisive topics.
  5. No one said it would be easy to be a Reddit king. Consistency is one of the biggest hurdles you will have to overcome. Participating in the discussion session regularly and creating and publishing fresh content is necessary. 
  6. Find your suitable subreddits. Your post can get lost in the big, popular subreddits, while smaller subreddits can not offer high traffic. Popular subreddits tend to be more strict, too, while smaller subreddits can be niche-specific and generate leads. Run A/B tests and find the best option that matches your goal or marketing campaign’s objective.
  7. If you have expertise in a topic, consider using the Ask Me Anything (AMA) feature. You can also host an AMA event and win excellent visibility and karma. 
  8. Take advantage of the reward feature. If you find someone’s content helpful, you can give rewards. In return, there is a chance people will check your profile and upvote your content. People can also give you rewards if they find your content valuable. 

Pro Tip: As mentioned earlier, find when your target audience is mostly online and post your best content 30-60 minutes before. This will increase the chance of higher visibility, leading to more upvotes.

What Happens to Your Karma When Your Reddit Post or Comment is Deleted?

In general, if your post or comment gets deleted on Reddit, the associated karma will not be impacted, and you will not get or lose karma for that comment or post. Some subreddits have strict guidelines, and they do not allow the deletion of anything, be it a post or a comment. 

There are three kinds of deletion scenarios:

  1. Self-Deletion: Deleted by the user who creates the post
  2. Moderator Deletion: Deleted by the moderator of a subreddit
  3. Deletion because of Spam or Policy Violations: When a post gets deleted by Reddit administrator or subreddit moderator

Tools and Techniques for Tracking Reddit SEO Success

Tracking is essential to any campaign, so you must decide which tools to use and which KPIs to prioritize. To track your Reddit activity, follow our three-step guidelines.

Analyze the Outcomes Using Analytics Tools

You can check the performance of your Reddit posts and comments using well-known tools such as SEMrush, Ahrefs, Google Analytics, etc. Do not forget to set the tracking links properly to get relevant data. The next step would be to analyze the posts and comments and compare them to find a few winners. By analyzing the criteria of these well-performing posts, you can later identify rules for your next posts.

Check the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

No worries if you are unsure what metrics to track on Reddit exactly. You can check the number of upvotes and comments. Other options are internal traffic numbers from Reddit, the total number of backlinks, the total number of leads, the total number of sales, etc.

Regular Reporting and Adjustments

Continuous reporting and adjustment will decide the long-term success of your SEO strategy. SEO for Reddit is no exception. You must constantly monitor Reddit content performance and its impact on your domain and refine your overall SEO strategies.

How to Use Reddit Ads to Boost SEO?

Most popular subreddits come with high restrictions, and running indirect marketing campaigns is getting even more complicated. So, if you plan to launch an SEO campaign on Reddit, trying Reddit ads is probably a good idea. And in case you are wondering if it is possible to gain karma through paid ads, sorry to spoil, but karma can be achieved only through organic posts. So, according to Reddit guidelines, you can not buy karma. Good news! Although you can not get Karma through Reddit ads, it can still give you more visibility. This will eventually increase your post and comment karma since more people will check your profile and organic content. 

There are two kinds of Reddit ads: promoted posts and high-impact offerings. Free-form ads, image ads, video ads, carousel ads, conversation placements ads, shopping ads, and AMA fall under the promoted posts. In contrast, Reddit takeover ads, front-page takeover ads, category takeover ads, and first-view ads fall under the high-impact category.

Promoted Posts VS High-Impact Offerings

Promoted posts look and act like organic posts and can target specific users, niche-relevant subreddits, specific locations, interests, and behaviors. People will also get the option to comment and give upvotes and downvotes. On the other hand, Reddit describes high-impact ads as its premium offerings and allocates the front page to ensure maximum visibility. The main goal of the high-impact offerings is to reach a large audience quickly, and therefore, they target a broad audience. 

Pro tip: If you have a limited budget and want to grow a loyal community, go for the promoted post options. Run A/B tests for both promoted posts and high-impact advertising and select the better option that fits your needs if there is budget flexibility. 

Best Practices to Avoid Reddit Spam and Ban Risks

Always follow Reddit’s best practices, aligning with community guidelines and subreddit-specific rules, to avoid being flagged as spam. When users violate rules or try to trick the system, Reddit algorithms or subreddit moderators can use various bans to prevent spammy content. Before going to the suggestion part, we should explore the kinds of bans or restrictions Reddit can implement.

Understanding Different Types of Bans or Restrictions on Reddit

Reddit has 4 main types of bans: subreddit-specific bans, site-wide bans, shadowbans, and IP bans. Let's break down these 4 ban types below:

Ban TypeDetails
Subreddit Bans This ban applies only to the subreddits where the user violates rules. It will not affect his/her interaction on other subreddits. Subreddit bans can last a few days or without an end date, which means a permanent ban.
Site-wide Bans Sometimes Reddit administrators get bored and start banning people. Sorry, I was kidding. The site-wide ban is only used when a user makes a serious offence. In that case, the user can not access Reddit temporarily or permanently. 
Shadowbans Shadowbans are used to stop aggressive spammers and bots. They can log in, post, and do all the activities with zero visibility. 
IP Bans In the worst case, Reddit bans users’ IPs to prevent them from creating new accounts again for consistent violations. Reddit uses this ban against severe measures such as hate speech, harassment, or repeated spam activities.

Some Tips to Avoid Reddit Bans: 

Here are some strategies you can follow:

Follow Content Guidelines

Whenever you join a subreddit, carefully check all the posting and commenting rules. Do not post or comment something that is not allowed, as violating such rules can lead to your post being deleted by the moderators. In the worst case, your account can be banned permanently. 

Be Respectful and Avoid Spamming

We understand Reddit is the place for debate, but we still need to consider the limit. You must respect other redditors and never engage in an abusive conversation. Publishing spammy content would be the last thing you want to do on Reddit; otherwise, your account can be banned temporarily or permanently. 

Avoid These Common Mistakes

Try to add value to the subreddits you are targeting with original, helpful content, and stay away from irrelevant comments, overposting, spamming posting, and aggressive self-promotion. Indirectly promote your brand and keep the frequency under 5%-10% of the published content to prevent a Reddit ban. 

Integrating Reddit SEO with Overall SEO Strategy

Besides, it is also necessary to align your Reddit SEO strategy with the broad SEO strategy. Consider developing a holistic SEO approach for your brand, including content creation for cross-media platforms, link building, and continuous engagement. Cross-media promotions are important because they not only reduce the overall marketing efforts but also help reach a wider audience. Publishing helpful content and link-building strategies will drive traffic to your website, while continuous engagement will help you build an audience on Reddit and mitigate negative branding.

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That’s all for today. Follow this comprehensive guideline to unlock the true Reddit potential for your brand. Understanding subreddit guidelines, publishing helpful content, running A/B tests,  monitoring the analytics, and adjusting your SEO strategies according to the test results are the 5 key steps to succeed in this game. If you like this post, share it with the friends and colleagues you care about so that they can also learn.