Usually when marketers think Reddit – they think massive promotion, reach, and influence. Reddit is the most influential social news aggregators in the world. It drives headlines, traffic, and new ideas further and more rapidly than any social network.
Editor’s Note – I originally published this post in 2014. Since then, not only has Reddit grown, but marketer’s tools for Reddit has grown. I’ve revised & re-published this post in 2016 with new resources and corrected information.
Simply using Reddit for promotion can be worse than a waste of time, it can actively damage your brand and reputation. Unless you are willing to put in the time and investment to learn etiquette, and become a legitimate member of a community (aka subreddit), you should not use Reddit to organically promote your content.
The Reddit community takes a better eye towards buying ads to promote your content. There are good and bad ways to advertise on Reddit – and it’s something you should certainly consider. But Reddit ads usually simply don’t give you the same promotional effect (even excluding monetary costs) as organic submissions.
Using Reddit to promote your content marketing & SEO efforts is going to take either a lot of time or some money – neither of which many marketers have.
To reiterate – if you don’t have time or money to market on Reddit well – please do not promote there. Be cool and respectful.
But that doesn’t mean Reddit is useless for marketing. Here are 3 ways to use Reddit for better SEO & content marketing without submitting or paying for submissions – all involving the goldmine of research that is Reddit.
It all starts with the concept of subreddits. Reddit is made up of “subreddits” – which are small communities organized around a topic where subscribers can submit, vote up or down, and comment on posts and links relevant to a specific subreddit. There is a subreddit organized around every conceivable topic.
The primary challenge is finding subreddits relevant to your website or audience. The easiest way to search for subreddits is to search, then follow “related subreddit” links.
You can also use this tool to find the most popular subreddits, then follow the sidebar links to related, but smaller (and more specific) subreddits.
Combine those 2 methods with a little bit of time just clicking around Reddit and you’ll find good subreddits to start with.
1. Research content ideas
Use subreddits relevant to your industry, field, readership to find content topics and ideas that tend to do well – then imitate & improve. To find content ideas that have worked well, filter subreddits by “Top” – and then by time period (ie, all-time, monthly, this week, etc). By default, the front page of a subreddit is determined by how “hot” a post is, so you’ll see a good bit of new & popular right now posts.
Use relevant subreddits to find unanswered questions – and use them to build content on your site. If someone is posting to a subreddit for help, chances are they’ve already Googled once, twice, probably 3+ times to find the answer. Again, look for submissions that have a question mark. You can also filters by If you can build content around those questions, you’ll rank for not only those searches, but also have content that answers similar questions other people are also asking.
You can also sort content by “most gilded” – which are posts that have generated the most Reddit gold (Redditors can pay to upgrade other Redditors to premium membership ie, “gold”). These posts will give you an idea of posts that are not only popular but also deeply appreciated.
And if you are looking for content that will stir conversation, you can sort content by Controversial – which all had the most back and forth commenting.
By looking at posts that have already done well, ask specific questions, generated comments, or been appreciated by the subreddit, you’ll have solid ideas to build content on your site that will get traction with your audience & other networks.
2. Get keywords
One of the toughest (and most essential) parts of doing SEO is choosing the right keywords. Aligning the language of your website with the language your audience actually uses to search for your products & services is a core part of search engine optimization.
The problem lies with finding keywords that you know you don’t know about. There are plenty of tools that SEOs will use to find these keywords (like Ahrefs, Books, Correlate, Wikipedia, Search Console, Pinterest, YouTube, Display Planner and much more)…but often they simply can only go as far as your research about an industry will go (and people in the industry won’t realize those keywords are unknown because to them, they are obvious.
It’s like studying the inside of a house where you know there’s a hidden closet somewhere, but you have no idea where it is. But also, the homeowners doesn’t know what closet you’re talking about until you do find it. The only real way to find all the closets is just to watch the homeowners use the house until they stumble on the missing closet.
Subreddits allow you to do just that – watch your audience interact and talk about products & problems in a normal way. It may take some research, but simply reading threads on the right subreddit will give you some golden keywords that simply would not have cropped up otherwise.
The goal with this step is to find the right subreddit, identify posts with a lot of comments & discussion – and read them with an eye towards terms and phrases that have not yet cropped up in your research.
You can also take links to extensive comment section and paste them into Google Keyword Planner.
There’s a new tool called Keyworddit that can automate this process to a degree. You can also find open keyword opportunities by placing the subreddit URL in a tool like Ahrefs and seeing what terms it ranks for.
3. Find new sites
A very related problem to the known unknown keyword problem is the known unknown website problem. In every field there are websites that get a huge amount of attention or are a consistent resource. These websites are incredibly important to know for research & promotion, but they often simply don’t crop up in discovery or initial research because they are too obvious or they appeal to your audience indirectly.
Side Note – I also like to use Display Planner to solve this problem.
For example, if you’re building a content strategy and you want to find productivity blogs to get involved with, you might be able to find LifeHacker or ZenHabits, but you might not easily find Self-Stairway. But you would find them if you started with /r/productivity and clicked through to /r/zenhabits.
Where Google may fail – subreddits can be your guide. In the sidebar of nearly every subreddit, there is a list of recommended subreddits and often a list of recommended websites (sometimes the list will also be in the subreddit Wiki). These sites are chosen by the community and updated, so you’ll be finding the currently popular blogs in the field.
Reddit is an incredible website & untapped resource. Most marketers focus on the promotional potential of Reddit without putting in the time or money to do it well. Don’t ignore the research potential of using Reddit for SEO and content marketing.
Start by heading to Reddit.com, doing a search for your topic, and spending a few minutes clicking through subreddits to see if there’s any research threads to follow.
You can also learn more about advertising on Reddit here.