‘Quality Of Google Search Crashed’ – Concerns As Reddit’s Traffic Nearly Quadruples In Six Months

‘Quality Of Google Search Crashed’ – Concerns As Reddit’s Traffic Nearly Quadruples In Six Months

Indy publishers are suddenly being usurped on Google search rankings by the community forum platform and its smaller rival Quora. SEO experts warn bad actors are gaming an algorithm change that prioritises first party data on forums.

Reddit’s remarkable rise up Google’s search rankings has left search marketing experts flabbergasted and concerned.

Data shared with B&T reveals that In the past six months, since Google changed its algorithm in a Helpful Content Update, Reddit’s traffic across the internet has nearly increased fourfold, often at the expense of smaller independent publishers.

Reddit’s surge in search traffic coincides with the platform listing on the New York Stock Exchange later this month. The social media platform is eyeing a valuation of as much $US6.5 billion ($9.8 billion) in an initial public offering.

In August 2023, Reddit notched up traffic of 160 million, which increased to 480 million in February this year. The rise in Australia tells a similar story, according to two data sets shared with B&T (see Ahrefs data below).

Reddit Global traffic Sep 2023 to Mar 2024. Source: Ahref

Reddit Global traffic Sep 2023 to Mar 2024. Source: Ahref

Reddit Traffic Australia Sep 2023 to Mar 2024

Reddit Australia traffic Sep 2023 to Mar 2024. Source: Ahref

It’s a similar case for Quora, whose global organic search traffic increased from around 75m in September to 250m in March.

On the flip side, the organic traffic for smaller publishers has fallen off a cliff since the Helpful Content Update in September.

An article by the product review site HouseFresh, complains about it being outranked on Google, ironically appears much higher up in search on a Reddit thread than the original article.

Ahref data shared that tracks organic search paints a bleak picture for the websites Truly Experiences, K9 of Mine and The Adventure Lab. 

Truly Experiences

Traffic before update: 1,136,595

Traffic on 5th Mar: 375,571

K9 of Mine

Traffic before update: 695,697

Traffic on 5th Mar: 139,379

The Adventure Lab

Traffic before update: 3,226

Traffic on 5th Mar: 151


Search Engine Optimisation experts have questioned why Google is pushing the search results of Reddit and Quora so heavily.

Peter Mead, the Head of SEO at Bring Performance, explained that Google recently struck a $60m deal that provides it access to Reddit content to train Google’s AI models.

Mead questions whether the deal could be influencing Google’s search results.

“Google now has real time access for Google to data about massive troves of content on Reddit’s platform,” Mead said. “Google will argue that no deal influences its search but it’s obvious Reddit is benefitting from it.

“In this industry where we are working with Google all the time, publishers want to see a fair and a level playing field. The question is has Google overstepped that mark.”

A haven for spam?

Carl Forrester, the SEO Manager at performance agency Calibre9, told B&T that the rise in search visibility on Reddit has led to heavy amounts of spam on Reddit forums.

“They are rewarding first-party websites like Reddit and it appears they’ve gone extremely far with that. A lot of the search results we are now seeing include out of date reddit threads and quite inaccurate information,” Forrester said.

“We are already seeing people taking advantage of Reddit’s increased visibility and posting things like affiliate links, decreasing the quality of the threads. Reddit previously faced a blackout from moderators over charging for access to the API (Application Programming Interface). 

“There could be further issues if the volume of spam increases as a result of the deal with Google.”

Calibre9 founder and SEO strategist Josh Thomson warned: “The quality of search results have crashed across all news articles. What we want to see is Google developing the most relevant content to a search query rather than search results form Reddit that are old, non-relevant and not insightful.”

Google declined to comment on the Reddit traffic surge specifically, but in a previous tweet said it was “independent of the Reddit partnership” and reflects a move by the search engine to favour “first-hand perspectives across all types of sites in our search results, including hundreds of forum sites”.

Last week, Google revealed that it is working on changes to its algorithm to tackle Gen AI-produced spam to improve its search. Google claims the change will reduce “low-quality, unoriginal content” in search results by 40 percent.

Reddit did not respond to B&T’s request for comment at the time this article was published.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Google quora reddit

Latest News

Sydney Comedy Festival: Taking The City & Social Media By Storm
  • Media

Sydney Comedy Festival: Taking The City & Social Media By Storm

Sydney Comedy Festival 2024 is live and ready to rumble, showing the best of international and homegrown talent at a host of venues around town. As usual, it’s hot on the heels of its big sister, the giant that is the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, picking up some acts as they continue on their own […]

Global Marketers Descend For AANA’s RESET For Growth
  • Advertising

Global Marketers Descend For AANA’s RESET For Growth

The Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) has announced the final epic lineup of local and global marketing powerhouses for RESET for Growth 2024. Lead image: Josh Faulks, chief executive officer, AANA  Back in 2000, a woman with no business experience opened her first juice bar in Adelaide. The idea was brilliantly simple: make healthy […]