Every once in a while, a new internet site or technology becomes all the rage.
It’s like striking gold. Initially, it’s kept a secret and supported by the local community, but as soon as it becomes known, everyone wants a piece of it.
Reddit has become the latest internet marketing gold mine.
Marketers are trying to leverage the massive platform to build brand awareness and drive traffic to their websites. For example, Ryan Luedecke was able to use Reddit to make $2,200 in revenue for his new beef jerky company. But for every Ryan, there are many more who don’t understand how to harness the power of Reddit.
What Reddit is and why you should care about it
Reddit.com is a website that was started in June of 2005. Despite the fact that it’s just 10 years old, it is one of the biggest sites on the internet. It’s global Alexa rank is 24. This means that it gets the 24th most traffic of all the millions of websites. To give you some perspective, Google, Facebook, and YouTube take the first three spots. Amazon is 7th. Amazon China is 73rd. The New York Times is 99th place.
Reddit is an aggregator site. Users submit links to other websites, which can then be voted and commented on. Reddit has almost 20 million unique visitors and about 150 million page views per month.
The most interesting part of Reddit is that it’s different from the majority of large sites. Most other sites are strictly controlled by a team of moderators or editors. Reddit, on the other hand, is controlled by its users.
How does Reddit Work?
The first time you visit Reddit, you’ll probably have no clue what’s going on. It looks complicated, ugly, and chaotic, but its functionality is great.
I’m going to break down some of the most important concepts that you’ll need to know to successfully market your business on Reddit.
Concept 1: Karma
Everything on Reddit is driven by “karma,” which is the individual positive and negative points (called upvotes and downvotes) given and received by each member of the site.
Everyone can vote on every link or discussion posted on the site. Everyone’s vote counts for the same amount, so it’s essentially a democratic process. An upvote means that you believe it’s a good post, while a downvote means the opposite.
Submissions with the highest score (upvotes minus downvotes) rise to the top. However, there’s one more factor that controls the flow of submissions: timing. Newer posts don’t need as high of a score as older posts to rise up in the rankings. This keeps the content from growing stale.
Concept 2: Subreddits
The way Reddit works is that it’s divided into thousands of different categories called subreddits.
The URL structure looks like this:
For example, if you were interested in nutrition, you would go to:
In the worldnews subreddit, you will see submissions only about worldnews.
As a user, you have two main options. You can either visit each subreddit you’re interested in individually, or you can subscribe and unsubscribe from subreddits that you are and aren’t interested in.
Concept 3: Groupthink
Strange things happen when you pool many similar people together. There is a very distinct average type of Reddit user:
- 20-30 years old
- Likes technology/gaming
- Values intelligence (hates seeing “old news” on Facebook/Tumblr, etc.)
Upvotes and downvotes are supposed to identify good and bad posts. However, they are often used to express opinions. For example, someone who is politically liberal might downvote a submission that is pro Fox news.
Since the content is entirely controlled by users, they shape Reddit by their opinions and beliefs. This naturally attracts more like-minded people and fewer that are different.e.
Why does this matter to you? When a large number of people get together, groupthink is inevitable. The same topics are discussed over and over again with little else because people don’t want to go against the grain. If you do, you get downvoted.
Concept 4: Reddit for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Reddit can be useful for link building, but building links should not be your primary goal.
First off, Reddit is a highly authoritative site. It’s has over 702 million backlinks. Another good thing about Reddit is that it’s set up to prevent spammers, which is good for marketers like me and you, who actually try to create valuable content.
To prevent people from just mass-posting links across the site, not all links on Reddit are made dofollow. All links are automatically nofollow on Reddit until they get a certain number of upvotes.
Since spam posts will either get downvoted or won’t get any upvotes, they never become dofollow and therefore have zero or very little value.
Submissions to most subreddits can be either a text submission (html) or a direct link to a page. The same rules apply to both text submissions and links. If the overall submission receives a few upvotes, all the links in the text will also become dofollow.
Now you understand quite a bit about how Reddit has the potential to drive massive amounts of traffic to your website and how it works.
The trick to Reddit is that there is no trick. You have to genuinely contribute and become a member if you want any results from your time.