Reddit trolling GOT writers proved the social network’s SEO influence

Yes, you read that correctly.

Important note: While this article is spoiler free, it will present various biases towards the show, so if you are easily swayed by that, be aware!

We wrote in our previous article how Reddit should be on your radar as far as marketing on social networks is concerned. And what happened last week is a very good case study on just how influential Reddit is on Google’s SERP.

So, what exactly happened


The Game of Thrones fans subreddit r/freefolk (spoilers throughout), angry with the shows final episodes, decided to hilariously troll the writers of the show by “Google-bombing” this post (spoilers within), to rank high for the search term “bad writers”. The post climbed to the top positions of Google’s SERP within days.


In case you are new to the term “Google-bombing”, it means upvoting a Reddit post in droves to get it to Google’s top SERP. In this case it took 40k upvotes to reach that effect.

We started tracking the keyword and post the day the story broke, and below is the progress it made on Google, Bing, Yahoo! and Yandex. For Google we chose English as the UI language, all mobile rank types (iPhone, iPad, Android phone and Android tablet), a desktop rank, and for a geo-targeted location we chose West New York, New Jersey as a good sample point. Finally, we also added the tag “got” so we will be able to easily locate it in our tool:

What we can learn from this


Well first the obvious – Reddit has some significant punching power as far as Google ranks are concerned. And there’s a very good reason for that – Reddit is becoming a force to be reckoned with. It is the 16th most visited website in the world, and the 5th in the US according to Alexa. Some predict it will even pass Facebook eventually inside the US!

In most cases, the level of discussion on Reddit offers truly high quality content, arguably much higher than some major news outlets. Reddit might currently be the best beacon of truth we have since it has the magic of being “open-source” for online discussions. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have been heavily criticized in recent years for the spread of fake news and stolen content, while Reddit kept their name relatively clean.

Reddit has even been known to solve some seriously obscure mysteries on r/sleuths.

While a major news outlet might post poorly researched or highly biased articles and heavily censor comments (or block that option altogether), Reddit is a free playground of idea flows and discussions. Anyone posting fake news on Reddit quickly gets called out and ridiculed, and many of those major news outlets frequently get criticized and  have their shady practices highlighted on Reddit as well.

Reddit by now is a high quality source for content and deserves to be ranked high on Google’s SERP. Even the example above is valid, since “bad” is a subjective and not an absolute term. If the fan opinion consensus that the writers of the show did a poor job, then the description is well deserved, and the search result is relevant.

Second, it’s very interesting to note that only Desktop ranks were influenced by this post and all mobile type ranks remained out of the Top 100 roster. If ever there was a clear cut case that shows how Google ranks Desktop and Mobile results differently, this is it!

Yahoo! and Bing also picked up on the event and ranked the post equally high to Google, while Yandex didn’t rank it at all.

Another insight to be gained here is that Reddit’s structure is like a SERP, in that it uses H2 titles. Writing captivating titles with high quality content, will get the post organically upvoted, and eventually ranked for a relevant keyword featured in the title. Be sure to check out our title writing tips:


23 Tips on How to Write Better Titles for Your Ads and Web Pages

Conclusion


Reddit is a star on Google’s SERP, akin to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Being mentioned in a highly upvoted Reddit post, for relevant keywords in the title, can be an amazing marketing bonus for brands that can make it happen. Other than the viral potential, brands can also benefit from having a Reddit presence for customer support and lead generation.

Finally, if there is a Reddit post that contains a mention of your brand, be sure to track that post on the main search engines as well!

The best tool on the market to track Reddit on Google and other search engines


As we demonstrated in this article, Pro Rank Tracker is the best solution for tracking Google ranks the correct way in 2019.

In our example we broke down that Reddit post into the proper ranking layers that Google uses with our Deep Google algorithm:

  • Exact geo targeted location
  • Default UI language
  • Mobile OS type
  • Mobile device type (tablet or phone)
  • Distinguishing a desktop rank from a mobile one
  • (Not used in the example) Unique Google SERP elements: Video carousel, Local Pack (Snack Pack), Google Business map results (Local Finder).


We also gave other notable search engines their fair share – Bing, Yahoo! and Yandex.

Search engines that we can track but were irrelevant in this case – Amazon (all local versions included) and YouTube.

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