Reddit shown excessively in Google product review search results, study finds

Reddit shows up 97.5% of the time in Google Search product review queries and accounts for nearly two-thirds of the slots reserved for Google’s Discussions and forums SERP feature, a new analysis finds.

Why we care. Reddit can be a valuable resource for searchers but appears to have an obvious spam problem. More than half of Reddit’s top-ranked threads looked at in this analysis seem to have affiliate links in comments, as called out in the analysis by author Glen Allsopp, who wrote that “Google’s promotion of them feels excessive,” adding these “current search results are the worst I can recall seeing.”

By the numbers. An analysis of 10,000 keyphrases found that Discussions and forums appear 77% (7,702) of the time. Overall, 766 individual forums appeared, but just Reddit and Quora had 3X greater visibility than every other forum:

  • Reddit appeared in 7,509 results and was featured 14,263 times.
  • Quora appeared in 3,513 results and was featured 3,832 times.
  • Every other domain (766 of them), combined, appeared 4,989 times, with most sites never getting a second listing like Reddit. Some were inactive but there were no new forums or any forums with a low number of posts.

Over-correction? So why is Google pushing Reddit so hard? It could partially be in response to multiple stories over the last couple of years discussing how users add “Reddit” to the end of their queries. But based on the findings of this analysis, perhaps Google has over-corrected for this issue.

The analysis. You can read the full Detailed analysis here: The Discussion Forums Dominating 10,000 Product Review Search Results.

Reddit response. After publishing this article, a Reddit spokesperson contacted Search Engine Land with concerns about the Detailed report, calling it “flawed and misleading.” The spokesperson told me:

  • “The examples that are shared appear cherry-picked. Google is sending more product review traffic because we have good and legitimate product reviews. What is not true is that Reddit posts are getting spammed as a result of this and that we are locking threads as a way to deal with spam. 
  • “Many of the communities that the “best of” content is being pulled from have rules in place to remove spam or unwanted comments and posts that do not add to a discussion or question. We also provide tools and insights for our moderators to deal directly with spam content, like our spam filter and community health page.”

The Reddit spokesperson added that Reddit launched a new spam detection method in Q3 2023, which helped identify 2 million spam accounts.

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