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What a 503 Service Unavailable Error is, and How to Fix it

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How To Fix HTTP 503 Service Unavailable Error

Looking through websites is a daily thing now—we use it for practically everything at this point. So, you can imagine how seeing server errors, like HTTP 503 Service Unavailable popping up on your screen, can be pretty frustrating. 

For most, seeing this message means we’ll just bounce and head over to the next-best website that can give us what we’re looking for.

But if you’re like me and managing a website of your own, then this error is something you’d want to avoid completely. 

What is the HTTP 503 Service Unavailable Error?

A Service Unavailable Error is an HTTP status code that your browser shows when it tries to visit a website but the server hosting is unable to process the request at that time. 

404 Service Unavailable Error example

In layman’s terms, it means your server is overloaded or down for maintenance. That makes it unable to provide the content and resources any user is requesting at that moment. 

Webmaster’s Note: This post is part of our advanced guide to Technical SEO, where I cover everything you need to know about crawlability, indexing, and page speed optimization, as well as helpful tips on how to troubleshoot common website errors. I also cover other 5xx errors, including 500 Internal Server errors, 501 Not Implemented errors, and 502 Bad Gateway errors, in other posts.

Like other 5xx errors, websites can show a 503 error in many different ways. 

Variations of the 503 Service Unavailable Error

  • 503 Service Unavailable
  • 503 Service Temporarily Unavailable
  • HTTP Server Error 503
  • HTTP Error 503
  • Error 503 Service Unavailable

503 vs. 404 vs. 500 Errors

How is this different from other errors, like a 404 “Not Found” or 500 Internal Server Error?

Well, 404s only happen when the requested web page can’t be found on the server, usually because it’s been deleted or the URL has been changed. It’s like looking for a book on a library shelf only to realize it’s not in its proper place—or thrown out entirely. If you’re seeing them on your website, check out my other guide on how to find 404 pages and fix them

404 Page Not Found Error example

The 503 Service Unavailable error, on the other hand, is related to the server’s current capacity. When it pops up, it’s a clear sign that the server just can’t accommodate your request due to the server being temporarily overloaded or undergoing maintenance. It’s similar to a business displaying a virtual “back in a moment” sign. 

But isn’t that pretty similar to a 500 error? Not really. 500 errors happen when your server is dealing with an issue that prevents it from handling the request, while a 503 error happens when the server is still functioning properly and can process the request—but just can’t at the moment.

How to Fix the 503 Service Unavailable Error

Since the error message doesn’t indicate what, exactly, is causing the 503 error, you will need to troubleshoot it methodically to fix it.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Reboot your server
  2. Check for server maintenance
  3. Temporarily stop running processes
  4. Temporarily disable your plugins and website theme
  5. Temporarily disable your CD
  6. Check your DNS.
  7. Increase your server’s resources. 

Reboot your Server

One of the simplest solutions to a 503 error is to restart your web server. If your application is spread over multiple servers, you will have to restart all of them properly to bring the system back online as normal.

Check for Server or Web Maintenance

Either your server or application can be configured to automatically undergo maintenance. This is common if you’re using content management systems, like WordPress, which can be set to automatically download and install updates to their base software, without any action on your end. 

When this happens, your website can return 503 Service Unavailable Error during this period. 

If you have administrator access to your application or server, check its settings for automatic maintenance scheduling. You can disable this if you want to manually handle the updating process and avoid unexpected maintenance. 

Temporarily Stop Running Processes

Your server might be exceeding the maximum process limit, which is what happens when it’s running too many processes simultaneously, and overloading itself. When it does, it can stop working—resulting in a 503 error. 

To get your website back online, you will need to temporarily stop running processes. 

Keep in mind this fix won’t solve the error itself, it’ll just allow your website to go back online. You will need to investigate further into what plugins you have installed in your application that are causing many processes to run simultaneously.

Temporarily Disable your Plugins and Website Theme

Poorly-coded themes and conflicting plugins can up resources, create bottlenecks, and prevent your application from loading properly.

If the previous fixes didn’t work, you will have to take a closer look at what you have installed on your application.

If you started seeing 503s after installing a new plugin, then it’s a likely culprit. Otherwise, you will need to disable all of them, and enable them one by one to test which one is causing problems. 

For theme errors, you will need to set your website back to whichever default themes your CMS offers. In the meantime, you should get your theme fixed by your web designer and web developer team. 

Temporarily Disable your Content Delivery Network (CDN)

CDNs can also cause 503 errors. If you think this might be the case for your website, you should temporarily disable your CDN. Every CDN should have a feature or setting where you can pause its services.

Wait a while before turning it back on, and check if your website is working after the reboot. 

Check your DNS

The 503 error could be a DNS-related issue. This covers unresolved IP addresses, unresponsive DNS servers, and corrupted DNS caches. If your DNS is set up properly, and there’s no problem with your DNS server, then the best way to solve this is to flush your DNS.

How this is done depends on your operating system.

Microsoft Windows

Open the command prompt and input:

ipconfig /flushdns

This will clear out the DNS files and restart the resolver cache, You should see a confirmation message once this is done.

macOS

Press F4 to open your Terminal. Run the command:

sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder

Google Chrome

Open the browser, and enter this URL into the address bar:

chrome://net-internals/#dns

You will see an internal setting page. Select “Clear host cache.”

Increase your Server’s Resources

If after all this troubleshooting you’re still seeing that 503 Service Unavailable error message, then there’s a good chance that it might be caused by a lack of server resources. 

This is especially common if you’re using a cheap hosting service, as they tend to throttle resources. 

To fix this, you will need to either migrate to a new service provider or upgrade your hosting plan. However, before you decide on either one, you should contact your provider’s support service and inform them of the 503 Service Unavailable errors, and what you’ve currently done to try and solve it.

The support team might be able to help you work out the cause by investigating on their end, and advise you on what the next best step might be for your website. 

What Causes of the 503 Errors?

It helps to know what the most common causes of this error are, so you can work through the list and diagnose the source of the problem. 

Here are some typical 503 error causes.

  1. Traffic overload.
  2. Server maintenance.
  3. Server overload.
  4. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.
  5. Backend system failure.
  6. DNS issues.

Traffic Overload

A sudden, massive increase in website traffic is one of the main causes of the error. The surge in visitors is something to be happy about—especially if it’s the cause of your SEO efforts—but if your server doesn’t have the resources or bandwidth to handle them, then it’s going to conk out.

It also becomes a problem if there’s a high volume of requests, such as if your website is running a sale or promo on your products, and a ton of people are trying to check out. 

Server Maintenance

If you’re working with a web hosting service, then they may have briefly taken down the server for maintenance. 

While it can be inconvenient for your website, it’s temporary—and it’s a crucial step in ensuring any website on its servers is safe and running smoothly. 

Make sure to communicate with your service provider, so you know when they have scheduled maintenance. I also recommend displaying a maintenance page with a specific period and alternate contact details to let any visitors know that your website is only down temporarily.

Server Overload

Your server needs enough resources to deal with even light traffic. But, resources can be strained from setup errors, such as inadequate memory, CPU processing power limitations, or network congestion. 

These problems may be avoided and server performance can be enhanced by carefully optimizing server settings, load balancers, and caching systems.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks

DDoS attacks are a serious risk to the availability of websites. When these happen, a network of infected devices overwhelms the server of a website with a huge amount of fictitious requests, limiting its ability to serve actual users. 

In response, the server will send a 503 Service Unavailable error as a protective measure. This prevents access to the website throughout the assault. 

Backend System Failures

Websites process and provide content to users through a variety of backend systems, databases, and APIs. Any cog in this machine failing will result in the server being unable to process requests. 

DNS Issues

It can also be caused by Domain Name System (DNS) problems, such as incorrect configuration, server outages, or propagation delays, which prevent the server from finding the requested URL. 

How to Avoid HTTP 503 Service Unavailable

The good news for you is that there are several things you can do to prevent this kind of server-side error from happening to your website, such as:

Scalable Hosting Solutions

Pick a web development and hosting company that provides cloud hosting or other scalable alternatives. They can also dynamically modify server resources depending on changes in traffic thanks to scalable hosting. This guarantees that your website can manage unexpected traffic surges without running the danger of service interruption.

Use a CDN

CDNs are used to spread the content of your website over several servers in various regions. CDNs will cache and provide content from the closest server to the user. When used right, it helps drastically improve site speed, and lessen the burden on your server. 

Monitor Server Resources

Keep an eye on how often the server’s resources, such as its CPU, RAM, and bandwidth, are being used. Real-time monitoring makes it possible to spot potential resource constraints and take preventative measures before they result in service outages.

Optimize Backend Systems

Make sure that the databases, APIs, and backend systems of your website are all performance optimized. Use effective coding techniques, utilize caching tools, and improve database query performance to lessen server load and avoid errors.

Load Testing

You can test if your servers can handle higher traffic through load testing. Doing this can show your server’s capacity, and help you spot performance hiccups. I recommend doing this to take care of any problems before they get out of hand.

Implement DDoS Protection

To identify and stop DDoS assaults, use a reliable DDoS prevention service. DDoS defense systems protect your server from malicious traffic, keeping the service accessible to authorized users.

Monitor DNS Health

Examine your DNS setups often for errors. Make sure your DNS settings are accurate and take immediate action to resolve any DNS-related problems that might result in service interruption.

Custom Error Pages

Make custom error pages for your users to see, in case a 503 error happens on your website. You should add a short message about the temporary disruption, projected downtime, and other ways to contact your company in the meantime. 

Doing this can help potential customers reach your business even if your website is temporarily down.  

How 503 Service Unavailable Errors Affect Your Website’s SEO

Server-side errors, especially 503s, can have a significant impact on your SEO

  • Crawling and Indexing Issues – If a crawl bot sees 503 errors on your website, then it understands that your server is momentarily unavailable. In response, it will stop crawling your website for a time, which in turn means your website might have problems with indexing. 
  • Decline in Rankings – If Google sees that your website is dealing with 503 errors more than just occasionally, it takes that as an indication of untrustworthy content and a subpar user experience. Remember that user experience is a ranking factor, so it makes sense that this kind of issue can push Google to bump you lower in the rankings.
  • Dropped Pages from Index – Google’s crawl bots may ultimately decide to de-index your pages if they’re seeing the same 503 errors again and again on your website. Getting those same pages back on Google’s search results will take some time, leaving your old positions open for the taking by your competitors.
  • Loss of User Trust – Imagine you’re one of your users. What do you think will happen if they find your website routinely returns Server Unavailable errors? Odds are, they’ll remember this experience and start avoiding your website. 503 errors risk your website losing its users’ confidence. If users leave your pages and decide to not come back, your user engagement metrics will suffer, and so will your rankings.
  • Impact on Crawl Budget – Each website has a crawl budget that search engines use to decide how frequently and thoroughly they will explore its pages. Your crawl budget is reduced when search bots encounter errors because fewer resources are available to explore other crucial pages. The indexing and discovery of fresh content on your website may suffer as a result.
  • Backlink Loss – Your linkbuilding efforts might suffer too. Other webmasters might notice that their links back to your website are leading to a 503 error, which can lead to them removing your link on their content, or another link builder stealing that link from you. If you end up losing a ton of backlinks due to frequent 503 errors, then that will have a huge negative impact on your website’s authority and search rankings, and ultimately your SEO.

Key Takeaway

503 server errors should only pop up when your website is in maintenance mode, but if you’re unlucky, it can happen at any time—you might be staring at that error message on your screen right now.

If you are, you need to roll up your sleeves and do some troubleshooting. Keep this guide in mind to get at the root cause of your 503 errors, and get your website back up again before it starts impacting your user experience (and SEO).

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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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