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The Complete List (44 Advanced Operators)

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The Complete List (44 Advanced Operators)

Google advanced search operators are special commands and characters that filter search results. They do this by making your searches more precise and focused.

For example, the site: operator restricts results to those from a particular site:

The site: search operator filters for results from a particular site

In this post, you’ll learn all of Google’s search operators and how to master them for SEO.

Google search operators: the complete list

Below is a brief description of what every Google search operator does.

I’ve grouped them into three categories:

  • Working – Works as intended.
  • Unreliable – Not officially deprecated by Google, but results are hit-and-miss. 
  • Not working – Officially deprecated by Google. 

Here’s the full list:

Working

Sidenote.

You can also use the _ operator, which acts as a wildcard in Google Autocomplete.

Unreliable

Not working (officially dropped by Google)

Search operator What it does Example
~ Include synonyms in the search. Dropped in 2013. ~apple
"+" Search for results mentioning an exact word or phrase. Dropped in 2011. jobs +apple
inpostauthor: Search for posts by a specific author in the discontinued Google Blog Search. inpostauthor:”steve jobs”
allinpostauthor: Same as inpostauthor:, but removes the need for quotes. allinpostauthor:steve jobs
inposttitle: Search for posts with certain words in the title in Google’s discontinued Blog Search. inposttitle:apple iphone
link: Search for pages linking to a particular domain or URL. Dropped in 2017. link:apple.com
info: Search for information about a specific page or website. Dropped in 2017. info:apple.com
id: Same as info: id:apple.com
phonebook: Search for someone’s phone number. Dropped in 2010. phonebook:tim cook
# Search for hashtags on Google+. Dropped in 2019 when Google+ shut down. #apple

11 ways to use Google search operators

Let’s tackle a few ways to put these operators into action.

My aim here is to show that you can achieve almost anything with Google advanced operators if you know how to use and combine them. So don’t be afraid to play around and deviate from the examples below. You may just discover something new.

Prefer video?

Check out nine actionable Google search operator tips in Sam Oh’s video.

1. Find possible indexing issues

Eyeballing the results of a site: search for your website can uncover potential indexing issues. 

For example, if we combine it with the filetype: operator, we see that this 3D printing company has quite a few PDFs indexed: 

Combining the site: and filetype: operators shows that this site has a few PDFs indexed

This isn’t a bad thing if it’s intentional, but I have a feeling it isn’t for some of these. 

For instance, its site has a lead-generation landing page for a white paper about the total cost of ownership for 3D printers:

Lead-generation landing page for a PDF white paper

But this PDF is indexed, so you can easily access it without filling in your details:

PDF that's supposed to be "gated" is indexed and accessible in Google search

The site owners should probably add an x-robots noindex tag to solve this.

2. Find and analyze your competitors

Use the related: operator to find websites related to yours, which are often competitors.

The related: operator shows related sites

You can then use other search operators to investigate these sites further.

For example, if we search for site:moz.com, we can quickly see that it has published a lot of content on its blog, help section, and “SEO Learning Center.”

The site: operator reveals where Moz publishes content

If we adjust our site: operator to focus on its Learning Center, we can start to get a sense of the type of content published and what it’s about.

Restricting the site: operator to a subfolder

In this case, it looks like there are lots of definition-type posts. 

In fact, if we add intitle:("what is"|"what are") to our search, we see 86 matching pages.

Restricting the site: operator with the intitle: operator

However, what Google can’t tell us is whether these pages get any organic traffic. To find that out, we’ll need to use a third-party tool.

If you’re an Ahrefs user:

  1. Go to Site Explorer
  2. Enter the competitor’s domain or subsection
  3. Check the Top pages report
Moz's top pages by traffic, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

If you’re not an Ahrefs user, you can use our free traffic checker to check pages one by one:

Estimated organic traffic to Moz's meta description guide, via Ahrefs' free traffic checker

Both of these methods show that many of its definition-type posts are getting in excess of 20K estimated monthly organic visits. So this could be a good type of content to create if you wanted to attract search traffic in this niche. 

In fact, that’s exactly what we did with our SEO glossary.

Here’s its organic traffic growth over the last few months:

Estimated organic traffic growth to our SEO glossary, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

3. Find guest post opportunities

Most people find guest posting opportunities by searching for “write for us” pages in their niche. 

For example, if you have a website about coffee, you can search for something like coffee intitle:"write for us" inurl:write-for-us:

Searching for guest post opportunities with intitle: and inurl:

However, as lots of people are using this method, you’ll often end up pitching the same sites as everyone else. For that reason, a better method is to find a serial guest blogger in your niche and look for sites they’ve written for.

You can do this by searching for [topic] inurl:author/[firstname-lastname].

For example, this search finds websites Ryan Stewart has written for:

Finding posts by a particular author using inurl:

You can also do this in Ahrefs’ Content Explorer by searching for [topic] author:[firstname lastname"].

Searching for posts by a particular author using the author: operator in Ahrefs' Content Explorer

The benefit of using Content Explorer over Google is that you can filter the results to focus on high-quality websites. Plus, not every site will use the /author/firstname-lastname/ footprint. 

For example, we can easily filter for posts from websites with a Domain Rating (DR) above 30 and an estimated website traffic of at least 5K per month.

Filtering for posts by a particular author from high-DR and high-traffic websites in Ahrefs' Content Explorer

Sidenote.

This can sometimes generate a few false positives, depending on how common the person’s name is.

You can even highlight results from domains that haven’t linked to you so you can prioritize getting backlinks from more websites. 

Filtering for one page per domain and highlighting domains that haven't linked to us in Ahrefs' Content Explorer

4. Find resource page opportunities

Resource pages curate and link to the best resources on a topic. This makes them great link prospects if you have a fitting resource.

To find them in Google, search for: [topic] intitle:resources inurl:resources.

For example, if you want to build links to a coffee resource, you can search for this:

Searching for resource page opportunities with intitle: and inurl:

However, not all of these pages will be worth pitching. You’ll find that some just link to their own resources, so you’ll need to sift through them and pitch the relevant ones.

If you want an even easier way to find resource pages, try this: 

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  2. Enter the domain of a big competitor
  3. Go to the Backlinks report
  4. Filter for backlinks with “resources” in the Ref. page URL
Searching for resource pages in competitor's backlink profile in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

5. Find files you don’t want in Google’s index

You probably don’t want Google to index every file you upload to your website.

For example, if you have PDFs behind lead magnets or content upgrades, you probably want to protect those files to prevent people from finding them on Google.

Let’s use the filetype: operator to check for these on ahrefs.com.

Searching for indexed PDFs from a particular site with site: and filetype:

It looks like there’s one PDF indexed, which is an old resource from 2017.

If we were bothered about people finding this (we’re not), we’d want to set this file to noindex with an x-robots header response

6. Find the email address of the person you want to reach out to

People often share their email addresses on Twitter, so you can use search operators to find those tweets.

For example, if you wanted to find Tim Soulo’s email address, you could search for any of his tweets that mention the word “email” and “gmail.com” or “ahrefs.com” (as his email address is almost certainly at one of those domains).

If you do this, his email address pops up right away: 

Searching for Tim Soulo's email address on Twitter with the site: operator

7. Find opportunities to add internal links

Internally linking to important content from other relevant pages on your website can send it more traffic and potentially help it to rank higher in organic search.

For example, let’s say we wanted to add some internal links to our list of SEO tips

If we search in Google for site:ahrefs.com/blog "SEO tips", we’ll find blog posts mentioning the phrase “SEO tips” somewhere in their content. 

Searching for internal link opportunities with the site: operator

In this case, we can ignore the first result, as this is the post we want to build internal links to. But there are 99 other results mentioning SEO tips, and many of them are perfect contextual internal link opportunities.

For instance, our guide to creating SEO content has an unlinked mention of “SEO tips,” so this is the perfect opportunity to add an internal link. 

Explanation of the use of keywords

That said, the one downside of using search operators to find internal link opportunities is that they don’t distinguish between linked and unlinked mentions. In other words, they often find opportunities you’ve already taken advantage of.

For example, our search found a mention of “SEO tips” in our list of SEO techniques:

Finding mentions on a site using the site: operator

But if we find that mention on the page, we see that it’s already internally linked:

Example of a mention found with site:

If this happens a lot and you find it frustrating, sign up for a free Ahrefs Webmaster Tools account and try this instead:

  1. Crawl your website with Site Audit
  2. Go to the Internal Link Opportunities tool in Site Audit
  3. Add your target page’s URL to the search field
  4. Select “Target page” from the dropdown next to the search field
  5. Hit the return key
Using the Internal Link Opportunities tool in Ahrefs' Site Audit to find places to add internal links

You should see a list of opportunities like this: 

Example of an internal link opportunity found in Ahrefs' Site Audit

It tells you:

  • Where to link from (Source page).
  • Where to add the link (Keyword context).
  • Where to link to (Target page).

8. Find “best” listicles that don’t mention your brand

Let’s say you run an email marketing tool like ConvertKit. 

If you search Google for “best email marketing tools,” you’ll find thousands of results listing top picks:

Google search results for "best email marketing tools"

Given that you probably want to be featured on these lists, it’ll be helpful to see which ones do and don’t mention you already, right? That way, you can reach out to the authors of lists not mentioning your tool and see if you can get them to add you.

Luckily, you can do that by appending your search with -[your business name]:

Excluding results mentioning a particular brand with the "-" operator

Alternatively, if you want an even quicker method, you can use Ahrefs’ Content Explorer

If you’re not familiar with Content Explorer, it’s a search engine for marketers with an index of over 11 billion pages. You can use this search to find listicles that don’t mention your brand: title:"best [whatever]" -[yourbrand].

For example, if we look for lists of the best email marketing tools that don’t mention ConvertKit, we get 3,182 results:

Excluding results mentioning a particular brand in Ahrefs' Content Explorer using the "-" operator

What makes Content Explorer more convenient than Google is that you can filter the results by things like DR, estimated website and page traffic, and more. Then you can export them in a few clicks.

For example, if we restrict the results to one page per domain and filter for websites with a DR of 30 or more, we narrow things down from 3,182 to 156 pages.

Narrowing results with filters in Ahrefs' Content Explorer

This is a much more manageable number of websites to review and potentially reach out to.

9. Find websites that have reviewed competitors

If a website posts a review of a competitor, chances are it may also be willing to review you.

Here’s how to find competitor reviews: allintitle:review ([competitor 1] OR [competitor 2]).

For example, if we wanted to find reviews of ConvertKit competitors, we could search for this: 

Finding websites that have reviewed competitors with the allintitle: operator

If you like, you can add the after: operator into the mix to find recently published posts. This way, you can focus on pitching websites that you know are still active.

Using the after: operator to filter for results from a particular period

Sidenote.

You can use Ahrefs’ SEO Toolbar to download search results.

However, all of this is once again easier in Content Explorer because you can filter and export the results more easily. 

Here’s how to run the same search there:

  1. Choose “In title” as the search mode
  2. Search for review (mailchimp OR aweber)
  3. Filter for one page per domain
Searching for reviews that mention competitors in Ahrefs' Content Explorer

This gives us 2,948 results, which is a lot. So let’s prioritize our list by filtering for pages published in the last 12 months on websites that get at least 1K monthly search visits:

Filtering the results in Ahrefs' Content Explorer

Get alerts for new competitor reviews

Just set up a new “Mentions” alert in Ahrefs Alerts. You can use the same search from Content Explorer and filters for DR and domain traffic too. 

Setting up an alert for competitor reviews in Ahrefs Alerts

10. Find relevant Quora questions to answer

Quora is a website where people ask questions, contributors post answers, and the best ones get upvoted to the top.

As my colleague, Si Quan Ong, has proven, it’s a great place to build brand awareness. He’s had over 2 million views on his answers and continues to get over 25K views every month despite his recent inactivity:

My colleague's achievements on Quora

When it comes to finding questions to answer, Quora’s search function works well. The downside is that you can only search for one topic at once.

As Quora uses the question itself as the URL, you can overcome this problem with this search operator: site:quora.com inurl:([topic 1] | topic 2).

For example, if you have a health and fitness website, you can search for something like this:

Searching for relevant threads on Quora using inurl:

If you’re an Ahrefs user, you can even combine this with the SEO Toolbar to overlay traffic estimates on the SERP. That way, you can focus on answering questions that already get organic traffic.

Using Ahrefs' SEO Toolbar to check estimated traffic to relevant Quora threads on the fly

Or if you want an even faster method, try this:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  2. Enter quora.com
  3. Go to the Top pages report
  4. Filter for results with URLs that contain particular words

This will give you a list of relevant Quora answers, sorted by their estimated monthly search traffic from high to low.

Searching for relevant Quora threads with traffic in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

For example, one of the questions above asks whether it’s better to make a protein shake with milk or water and gets an estimated 792 monthly visits. If you can answer this question well and get upvoted, chances are hundreds of people will see your answer every month.

Even better, as you can include links in your answers, these answers can send some nice referral traffic your way.

11. Find how fast your competitors are publishing new content

Combine the site: operator with before: and/or after: operators to find out how much content any competitor has published in a given time period.

For example, here’s how many posts another SEO blog published in December 2022: 

Checking a competitor's publishing pace using the site:, after:, and before: operators

And here’s how many it published in the whole of 2022:

Checking Search Engine Land's publishing pace using the site:, after:, and before: operators

Just be aware that this operator isn’t always 100% accurate, as it includes updated pages.

For example, the search below returns a post with January 25, 2022, attached to it:

Misleading result from using these search operators

But if we plug that post’s URL into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer, we see that it’s been attracting organic traffic since 2019. So it must have existed long before 2022.

Estimated organic traffic to the misleading results, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

If you’re an Ahrefs user and want a more accurate way to see a competitor’s publishing frequency, run a site: search in Content Explorer and filter for “Pages published once.” 

Filtering for pages from Search Engine Land that were first published in the last 12 months in Ahrefs' Content Explorer

Final thoughts

Google advanced search operators are super powerful. You just have to know how to use them.

But I have to admit that some are more useful than others, especially when it comes to SEO. I find myself using site:, intitle:, and inurl: often. Yet I rarely use allintitle: and many of the other more obscure operators.

I’d also add that many operators are borderline useless unless paired with another operator, or two, or three.

So do play around with them and let me know what you come up with. 

I’d be more than happy to add any useful combinations you discover to the post. 

Got questions? Ping me on Twitter.



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How Do I Get A Job With A PPC Agency

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Conversion Tracking In PPC Campaigns

This month’s “Ask A PPC” question is particularly significant because the job market has been quite volatile.

“How do I get a job with a PPC agency when I have only worked in-house. What experience would they want?” – Karl Toronto

It’s understandable that people want to know which skills employers seek when hiring for a PPC team. There can be a disparity between what people think they need and what the market actually demands.

We’ll delve into some data and commentary to explain why various traits are valued.

It’s crucial to understand that the ideal candidates will be versatile and have an aptitude for all aspects of digital marketing.

However, no one can excel at everything, so leveraging your strengths or preferences is beneficial.

Ensure that you’re securing the best role for yourself while the company hiring you finds the best fit for them.

Here Are The Essential Skills

  • Analytics.
  • Creativity.
  • Ad network knowledge.
  • Willingness to test/learn.
  • Culture fit.

Discrepancy Between Market Demands And Perceived Needs

I conducted a poll on my LinkedIn to gauge the skills desired by current employers and practitioners.

Screenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Analytical skills emerged as the most sought-after trait. Employers seek individuals who can interpret numbers and discern the story behind them.

However, relying solely on analytical prowess may overlook the importance of creativity.

Creative skills are vital in today’s ad networks, especially emphasizing visual content like videos and campaign types that force visual content (Performace Max/Demand Gen). Neglecting creativity can hinder a company’s branding efforts.

Unexpectedly, ad network skills and cultural fit were deemed far less critical than analytical skills. Brands should prioritize team cohesion for long-term success, yet this aspect is often undervalued.

The disparity between job descriptions and actual skill requirements contributes to the difficulty in the job market.

Agencies that hire for how PPC used to work will be left wanting. Practitioners who only focus on popular skills instead of needed ones will be made obsolete by the privacy-first era obscuring data and AI owning creative.

Analytical Skills

Analytical abilities involve knowing where to find relevant data sources and understanding how they contribute to success.

While PPC historically relied on measurable outcomes, the landscape is evolving, necessitating adaptability in data analysis. Technical proficiency and strategic acumen are crucial for navigating different data sources.

These include:

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
  • Google Analytics 4 (GA4).
  • Ecommerce platforms.
  • Content management platforms (CMS).

Empathy for various ad channels improves your candidacy, and knowing how to work with post-click data will give you an edge over those who can only work with ad platform data.

While being highly technical isn’t required, having empathy for coding and scripts will give you a better chance to stay current with evolving data mechanics (especially as APIs become even more important for accessing data blocked by privacy-first regulations).

Here are some takes from PPC experts on why analytics is the most important:

A screenshot of a LinkedIn comment by Georgi Zayakov, who describes himself as analytical Screenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024
A LinkedIn post by Kathryn B., a paid media specialist at a PPC agencyScreenshot from LinkedIn, April 2024
Screenshot of a LinkedIn post by Nikolaos B., discussing how marketers must become data-savvyScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Creativity

Creativity is essential for crafting compelling ad content, yet many PPC agencies struggle in this area.

Clients are often tasked with providing creative materials due to cost or complexity constraints.

You’ll get a competitive edge if you have these skills:

  • Video Editing: With the rise of PMax, as well as many ad networks leaning heavily into connected TV, having video editing chops will be a huge asset for any team. If you’re not comfortable using conventional editing tools, AI tools like Descript are a great way to take on those tasks.
  • Graphic Design: No matter the ad network your potential employer is hiring for, you will need some ability to design static images. Whether you use stock photos or AI-generated images or come up with the creative yourself, the days of purely text ads are over. Tools like Canva can help bridge the gap for less technical designers, but don’t discount ad network AI.
  • Content Creation: While the first two categories leaned toward visual content, written content is still important (i.e., most ad formats include some text). Having the ability to understand how diverse audiences prefer to be addressed while respecting the specific requirements of each format is a great skill to hone.

While some roles may prioritize analytics or ad network knowledge, emphasizing creative abilities can distinguish you during the hiring process.

Here are some experts who value creativity:

A screenshot of a LinkedIn post by Erik PetersonScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024
A screenshot of a Linkedin post by Amy HebdonScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Ad Network Knowledge

Ad network expertise is valuable, but adaptability is paramount as platforms evolve rapidly.

Some agencies will have specialists, while others hire folks they expect to be passable at every network they service. It’s important to understand what workflow will enable you to succeed.

If you’re happy working with all platforms, then don’t shy away from it. However, if you do better in focusing on one aspect of PPC, that’s totally valid. Just know it might limit your ability to get hired into smaller “familyesque” agencies.

Understanding auction dynamics and bidding strategies is crucial.

Many of us who entered the industry when manual bidding was more popular have an unfair advantage over those who came in during the Smart Bidding era (i.e., anything from 2020).

This is because manual bidding requires you to think about the mechanics of each ad platform’s auction and how you could use those mechanics to your advantage in building account structure.

Knowing what to track and allocating appropriate budgets are key considerations.

Understanding that some networks require more conversions than others to run (e.g., Meta Ads’ 50 in a 7-day period vs. Google Ads’ 15 in a 30-day period) should influence what you choose to track, as well as how you report the data.

Additionally, if you are under or over budget, you’ll set yourself up to fail. Knowing which channels require a big investment upfront and what the breaking point for each network is (either on underspending or spending too much) is critical.

Awareness of potential pitfalls, such as false positives or negatives, enhances campaign effectiveness. For example, it’s important to know how to check if automatically applying recommendations is on and what tasks it’s on for.

It’s worth noting that none of the experts who chimed in on the poll made a clear case for ad network knowledge specifically.

Willingness To Test

Success in PPC requires openness to experimentation and a willingness to adapt. While this wasn’t one of the criteria in the poll, it was one of the most popular traits experts look for in hiring.

Perfectionism can hinder progress in a fast-changing environment. Testing new ideas and embracing failure as an opportunity for growth are essential.

While analytical skills aid in test design, empathy and creativity are equally vital for devising effective experiments.

Here is an expert who favors a willingness to test:

Screenshot of a social media post by Mike RhodesScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Cultural Fit

Cultural alignment with an agency fosters productivity and job satisfaction. However, you can only achieve that by being honest with yourself about what you want and the mechanics of how you work.

Agencies demand intense effort and collaboration, making compatibility with colleagues crucial.

Anyone looking to make the shift from in-house to agency needs to be prepared for a much faster pace of work and a lot more agency.

Open communication with leadership regarding preferred management and learning styles will ensure a positive working relationship.

Respect for peers and a supportive atmosphere contribute to a fulfilling work environment.

Here are a few thoughts on cultural fit from polled experts:

The image shows a LinkedIn post by David Zebrout containing text discussing the importance of integrating PPC network knowledge with intertimed optimizations in generating profitable growth.Screenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024
LinkedIn post by Lisa Erschbamer discussing the importance of cultural fit and individual personality in team dynamics for effective performance at a PPC Agency.Screenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024
A screenshot of a LinkedIn post by Aaron Davies discussing the importance of cultural fit, individual skills, and team communication in marketing for a PPC agency. The post has reactions and a question comment by NavahScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Final Thoughts

Navigating the current job market can be challenging, but understanding industry needs and honing relevant skills increases your chances of success.

Balancing technical proficiency with creativity and cultural fit is essential for thriving in a PPC role. By aligning with market demands and showcasing your strengths, you can secure rewarding opportunities in the field.

Have a question you’d like us to address? Fill out the form!

More resources:


Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

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Why Every Marketer Should Be On Reddit

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Why Every Marketer Should Be On Reddit

In its nearly 20 years of existence, Reddit has built a robust, dynamic, and highly engaged community.

It has cemented itself as not only one of the key influencers for the internet culture we have come to know today, but also as one of the top 10 social media sites in the world, with more than 500,000 monthly visitors across more than 100,000 active communities.

Despite its size and influence, marketers have long avoided, overlooked, and failed to establish a presence on what is arguably one of the most influential social media sites today.

To be fair, Reddit has always been known as one of the hardest communities to have marketing success with, requiring months (if not years) of dedicated commitment to actually being a part of the community and engaging with your audience through meaningful, genuine, and honest interactions.

To many, that is just too much risk and too much work, but let’s be honest – most amazing things take risk and hard work. And for all of you who put in that work to be successful on Reddit, you already see the payoff it brings.

Regardless of the reasons, marketers who continue to overlook Reddit’s potential are missing out on an extremely influential community with ideal targeted demographics, where authenticity and genuine connections lead to valuable information, positive branding, and marketing success.

Not convinced? Let’s take a closer look at Reddit!

Reddit Stats You Cannot Ignore

Reddit users are dedicated to their use of the platform, with a reported 82 million (16.4%) of its 500 million users visiting the site daily, sharing over 1 billion posts, with over 16 billion comments across 100,000+ active communities, making it easily one of the top visited and most active sites in the United States today.

The user base is so loyal that they spend, on average, 20 minutes on the platform each day (and over 45 minutes a day for long-time users of more than 7 years) and, in many cases, are inactive on other social platforms.

This makes Reddit one of the only places to actually get in front of this massive audience, with 32% being inactive on Facebook, 37% on Instagram, 41% on TikTok, and 53% on X.

When it comes to demographics, a 2019 survey concluded that the overall Reddit audience was majority male (59%), ranged in age (36% aged 18-29; 25% aged 30-49), and well educated (42% college degree; 31% some college) making them an ideal audience many businesses looking for success.

They also helped Reddit improve revenues by 21% to $804 million in 2023, with a global addressable market for advertising estimated at $1.4 trillion by 2027.

Thought by many to be mostly a North American audience, Reddit claims more than 50% of its traffic comes from international users, a rather impressive climb from its earlier years.

It is important to remember, though, that Reddit is a platform that allows communities to grow and thrive, so those demographics change from subreddit to subreddit.

If that isn’t enough to grab your attention, surveys have found that 75% of users find Reddit a trustworthy source for making purchasing decisions.

For years now, it has been included heavily and prominently in Google search results, which have become even more visible due to reports following their inclusion in SGE results and with Google’s recent $60 million a year deal with Reddit to have real-time access to Reddit content and to use its content to train Google’s future AI models.

Speaking of Reddit’s visibility in Google’s search results, let’s take a closer look at why that deal is so important, especially to search marketers.

Reddit In Google Search, SGE, And Google’s Reddit Deal

For years, Reddit results have been prominently displayed in Google’s search results – so much so that users have even started adding the term “reddit” to the end of their search queries.

So often, you will see Google suggest search lines with the term “reddit” prefilled at the end.

Screenshot by author from search for [are purple mattresses good], Google, May 2024

Even without selecting the query that includes “reddit,” you will notice Reddit’s prominent placement in two places: discussions and forums, and Reddit sitelinks, which are both just below the ads and the first organic result.

Reddit resultsScreenshot by author from search for [are purple mattresses good], Google, May 2024

This was amplified by Google’s recent Helpful Content Update (HCU), which allowed platforms like Reddit and other forums to show up more frequently in search results,

Reddit’s ability to be helpful in satisfying a user’s search for information is so successful – in combination with reported shortages in new content for AI models from all major platforms – it is not surprising Google struck a deal with Reddit to show its content faster in search results and to use the content in training future AI models.

Since news of the deal between Reddit and Google was reported, there has been a lot of additional focus on Reddit’s visibility in Google’s search results.

Experts throughout the search industry report an increase in not only the total visibility of Reddit going up within search but also the speed at which a Reddit post is indexed and shown to users.

Google responded to concerns about Reddit showing up more in search results, saying that “some of the SEO folks who tend to be vocal on this platform (X) really dislike seeing more forum content in our search results. But actual searchers seem to like it. They proactively seek it out. It makes sense for us to be showing it to keep the search results relevant and satisfying for everyone.”

Google responded to concerns of Reddit showing up more in search resultsScreenshot by author from X (Twitter), May 2024

Although disputed by Google, Roger Montii wrote about one report of Reddit content being indexed within five minutes.

ChatGPT to Surface Reddit Content

Adding to the deal Reddit made with Google, it was recently reported that OpenAI has partnered with Reddit to surface their content in ChatGPT, adding to the clear value that both OpenAI and Google see in Reddit’s content today and in the future.

Of course, this has sparked a lot of interest in companies of all sizes. They want to figure out how their brands can participate and succeed on Reddit in hopes of increasing their visibility in Google’s search results, SGE, and ChatGPT and building their brand’s visibility amongst one of the most influential audiences on the internet today.

**Quick warning: Reddit requires genuine, long-term engagement and a strategy for success. So, I would definitely advise individuals and businesses to avoid trying to game, spam, or blindly jump into marketing on Reddit and take the time to really understand the platform, its audience, and your place of value within its communities.

Let’s look at how some major brands have been successful on Reddit in the past.

noosa Yoghurt

Noosa Yoghurt’s 2021 back-to-school campaign on Reddit was a great example of tapping into niche audiences to create engaging, user-driven content.

To capitalize on Reddit’s community of vocal yogurt enthusiasts, noosa launched a Flavor Poll that invited Redditors to upvote their favorite noosa flavors in the comments. This created a sense of community and interactivity around what could have been a standard poll.

Noosa Yoghurt’s 2021 back-to-school campaign on Reddit.Screenshot by author from Reddit, May 2024

After tallying the upvotes, noosa published a Promoted Post that showcased the results using a sleek custom infographic, highlighting the community’s favorites while also giving the brand important insight into consumer preferences.

Noosa published a Promoted Post that showcased the results.Screenshot by author from Reddit, May 2024

The results:

  • 49% increase in brand recall among Reddit users who were exposed to the campaign.
  • 30% increase in brand favorability.
  • 39% increase in purchase intent (15X the typical lift observed in the food vertical).
  • 50+ billion monthly views.

Sony Pictures Germany

To drum up excitement around the release of “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” in Germany, Sony Pictures Germany crafted a Reddit campaign that combined organic and promoted content to engage the platform’s robust fan communities.

The brand created a Reddit account under the protagonist’s name, u/MilesMorales, and used it to share exclusive content directly within Spiderman-related subreddits.

It also organized an AMA with the German voice actor Miles Morales to create a more personal connection with fans and promoted video posts featuring the movie trailer to amplify the excitement.

Sony Pictures Germany crafted a Reddit campaign.Screenshot by author from Reddit, May 2024

The results:

  • Sony Pictures Germany achieved a click-through rate (CTR) that was 344% higher than that of its standard paid media.
  • 831 upvotes.
  • 618,000 impressions.
  • The film remained No. 1 on the German movie charts for three consecutive weeks.

It is important to note that promoting your content and your brand on Reddit is definitely not the only value Reddit can bring you and your business.

Reddit is an amazing place to get honest feedback.

Whether you are trying to figure out what your target audience wants from your brand, test out a new feature or concept before investing and launching it openly, or even just to have continued open communication with your customers to support them and keep them connected to your brand, Reddit can help you succeed in an amazing way.

Transamerica Helping Reddit Make Dollars Make Sense

Transamerica’s campaign on Reddit is a great example of a company identifying an opportunity to connect with its target audience on the subreddit /r/finance.

This allows the company to better understand its customers’ needs and focus on content creation and future marketing plans.

Transamerica’s campaign on RedditScreenshot by author from Reddit, May 2024

Aligning itself with its audience by demonstrating awareness of the topics around personal finance happening in the subreddit, as well as acknowledging the Redditors working at the company, it asked what topics it could create “specifically for the reddit community” around the topic of finance.

It stayed involved and engaged throughout the campaign, responding to threads and maintaining a lighthearted and sometimes humorous tone.

Transamerica’s campaign on RedditScreenshot by author from Reddit, May 2024

After getting all the feedback it needed, it created content around the more popular requests, going as far as branding and designing them similar to Reddit.

IRA vs 401K venn diagramScreenshot by author from Reddit, May 2024

It even took the time to individually comment a link to the published content on its site, bringing attention back to the overall campaign and the content it created.

This campaign was 10 years ago, and it is still referenced as a core example of engaging on Reddit as a brand in a respectful, thoughtful, and meaningful way.

Why You Should Be On Reddit Wrapup

TL;DR: If your brand has something meaningful to say and is interested in truly connecting with your audience, then yes, you should be on Reddit.

These successful brand campaign examples showcase Reddit’s power when used correctly. With research to understand the specific communities you want to reach, Reddit can have exceptional performance compared to other channels.

The stakes are high to get it right because Reddit communities can be highly negative toward self-serving promotion. But if you put in the effort and solve people’s needs and problems, Reddit has the potential to be a high-performance channel.

Edit: Updated daily active users figure based on Reddit’s Q1 Earnings Report

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SEO

No Algorithmic Actions For Site Reputation Abuse Yet

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Looking up at an angle at the Google sign on the Head Office for Canada

Google’s Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan, has confirmed that the search engine hasn’t launched algorithmic actions targeting site reputation abuse.

This clarification addresses speculation within the SEO community that recent traffic drops are related to Google’s previously announced policy update.

Sullivan Says No Update Rolled Out

Lily Ray, an SEO professional, shared a screenshot on Twitter showing a significant drop in traffic for the website Groupon starting on May 6.

Ray suggested this was evidence that Google had begun rolling out algorithmic penalties for sites violating the company’s site reputation abuse policy.

However, Sullivan quickly stepped in, stating:

“We have not gone live with algorithmic actions on site reputation abuse. I well imagine when we do, we’ll be very clear about that. Publishers seeing changes and thinking it’s this — it’s not — results change all the time for all types of reasons.”

Sullivan added that when the actions are rolled out, they will only impact specific content, not entire websites.

This is an important distinction, as it suggests that even if a site has some pages manually penalized, the rest of the domain can rank normally.

Background On Google’s Site Reputation Abuse Policy

Earlier this year, Google announced a new policy to combat what it calls “site reputation abuse.”

This refers to situations where third-party content is published on authoritative domains with little oversight or involvement from the host site.

Examples include sponsored posts, advertorials, and partner content that is loosely related to or unrelated to a site’s primary purpose.

Under the new policy, Google is taking manual action against offending pages and plans to incorporate algorithmic detection.

What This Means For Publishers & SEOs

While Google hasn’t launched any algorithmic updates related to site reputation abuse, the manual actions have publishers on high alert.

Those who rely heavily on sponsored content or partner posts to drive traffic should audit their sites and remove any potential policy violations.

Sullivan’s confirmation that algorithmic changes haven’t occurred may provide temporary relief.

Additionally, his statements also serve as a reminder that significant ranking fluctuations can happen at any time due to various factors, not just specific policy rollouts.


FAQ

Will Google’s future algorithmic actions impact entire websites or specific content?

When Google eventually rolls out algorithmic actions for site reputation abuse, these actions will target specific content rather than the entire website.

This means that if certain pages are found to be in violation, only those pages will be affected, allowing other parts of the site to continue ranking normally.

What should publishers and SEOs do in light of Google’s site reputation abuse policy?

Publishers and SEO professionals should audit their sites to identify and remove any content that may violate Google’s site reputation abuse policy.

This includes sponsored posts and partner content that doesn’t align with the site’s primary purpose. Taking these steps can mitigate the risk of manual penalties from Google.

What is the context of the recent traffic drops seen in the SEO community?

Google claims the recent drops for coupon sites aren’t linked to any algorithmic actions for site reputation abuse. Traffic fluctuations can occur for various reasons and aren’t always linked to a specific algorithm update.


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