There is no social media site more misunderstood and underutilized by SEO professionals than Reddit. Reddit got almost 1.6 billion visits in April 2019.
Since Reddit has a reputation for being quirky, with its own, unique code of conduct, and not particularly welcoming to newcomers, many people are quick to dismiss it. They think it is just gamers, tech geeks, and guys who are still living at home in mom’s basement.
Reddit is the most underrated place to do keyword research. They have a massive and diverse audience, and you can gauge the popularity of a topic to quickly determine the context, tone, and intent in which they are used.
In this post, I will walk you through how to use Reddit to do keyword research as well as strategies for coming up with high-quality content ideas, including how to:
- How to Find Your People on Reddit
- How to Spot Potential Content Ideas
- Look for Patterns and Trends
- Test Content Ideas and Ask for Feedback
- Find and Build Rapport With Subject Matter Experts in Your Field
How to Find Your People on Reddit
The first thing you need to do is test the waters and see what is already being said about your topic on Reddit. Most people start with the front page of Reddit or only stick to subreddits that have millions of subscribers like r/videos, r/AskReddit, etc.
While you can find some good stuff (especially in r/AskReddit), you are going to waste a ton of time and go down a lot of unnecessary rabbit holes.
Since there is a subreddit for anything and everything including entrepreneurship, e-commerce, and personal finance to mechanical pencils, dog shower thoughts and my personal favorite: Find a Reddit. (i.e., You guessed it – it is a subreddit to find other subreddits. So meta not to mention useful.), it is much better to go specific and deep into a couple of subreddits.
Say, for example, you run a gourmet e-commerce shop selling gourmet beef jerky, you should search for subreddits all about jerky and maybe also e-commerce entrepreneurs if you want to talk shop.
The fastest way to find subreddits is to plug your topic or related topics on this site: http://www.reddit.com/subreddits/search?q=yourtopichere.
When you search jerky, there are several subreddits on the topic.
If you need to go deeper in your search for subreddits, here are two other sites that can help.
Choose No More Than Five Subreddits to Focus On
It is helpful to focus on no more than five subreddits (ideally less than 3) at any given time, which will save you time and help you go deep into a topic. For my beef jerky example, I am going to stick with r/jerky and r/e-commerce for tips in this post.
How to Spot Potential Content Ideas
Within 10-15 minutes of browsing a subreddit, you can find over a dozen potential content ideas and angles based on conversations people are having in the community.
By default, Reddit shows hot discussions upfront. However, I find switching to “rising” or “controversial” tends to get better results.
Pro Tip – If the subreddit has less than 20,000 subscribers or doesn’t have a ton of recent activity, you may want to change the filter settings to view posts in the last month or year.
Now, it is time to dive into the threads. Here are the types of discussions that I look for:
- “How do I do X” type posts.
- Lengthy debates.
- The most voted questions as well as any questions that were upvoted but ignored in an AMA.
- Discussions or comments that receive many upvotes but don’t have a great response yet.
I recommend making a list of these threads in a spreadsheet. The “how do I do X” type of posts are almost always great places to start for brainstorming and creating new content.
Here is an example of a discussion that I would add to a spreadsheet and explore further; this is an example of a user looking for the best jerky marinades.
Another example would be this how to style question. Based on the fact that it has been upvoted 81% of the time and has almost 20 comments (in a smaller subreddit), this tells me there is likely a lot of interest in this topic.
Focus on User Intent Overestimate Traffic or Search Volume
One of the biggest mistakes that marketers make is focusing too much on overall search volume or estimated traffic numbers at the expense of keyword intent. Going back to the gourmet jerky shop example, if the purpose of your content to build brand awareness and acquire new customers, you should focus on content about your unique process for making jerky as opposed to a DIY guide for how a home cook can make their own beef jerky. The second content idea might get a ton of traffic, but likely won’t result in many buyers unless you are selling DIY jerky kits.
Look for Patterns and Trends
The best content ideas generally come from spotting a new pattern or trend before everyone jumps on it; this comes from making a point of spending 10-15 minutes a few times a week in these subreddits and then jotting down threads and replies in your spreadsheets. Over time, you will be able to see specific keywords, phrases, and questions that get asked over and over again. This data is often fodder for great content pieces for blog posts, videos, landing page copy, social media content, etc.
You can also use this newfound knowledge to help write SEO-friendly headlines, write landing page copy, or even to give you a better sense to see how your target audience searches or talks about this topic online. After all, the content that will resonate the best is anything that is written and presented in a way that your target customer likes to consume information.
Test Content Ideas and Ask for Feedback
Reddit can be a great place to ask for feedback and conduct informal market research. Just be careful that you don’t abuse this or try to disguise self-promotional posts as “questions.” Redditors will see right through that. When you ask a thought-provoking question, or for feedback on a concept, you may be surprised by the quality and quantity of responses you receive.
One great use case is to post several different headlines, taglines, or content concepts as new discussions; this allows you to see what resonates best before spending hours creating a new piece of content.
Find and Build Rapport With Subject Matter Experts in Your Field
Take a cue from journalists and spend time finding and building relationships with subject matter experts in your area.
Journalists have been using Reddit to dig up interview sources for stories for years. You can use this same approach with creating your own, authoritative content. Not to mention, you can also build relationships with journalists who cover your topic to get featured in news stories. With Google E-A-T, interviewing, quoting, and linking to these experts’ sites is a way to demonstrate expertise and authority, which may help your content rank better in Google.
Another advantage is that it is often easy to start conversations on Reddit than through more crowded channels like Twitter or email.
Using AMAs to Find Subject Matter Experts
AMAs are one of the most common use cases people generally think of when it comes to using Reddit.
It seems like most famous people have done at least one, including Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Gordon Ramsay.
However, it is not just for celebrities. AMAs are on all kinds of topics. You can do a quick search or two in a subreddit to uncover any past or upcoming AMAs related to your topic. The most obvious use case is to reach out to the person doing the AMA. However, you can also find many subject matter experts hovering in the comments of these AMAs. You usually spot these people by the quality of the questions they ask.
If you are not already using Reddit to do both customer and keyword research, you should start. This is a place where you can see how people are talking about your product and industry as well as build relationships with subject matter experts. You can use this knowledge to inform your content marketing strategy, write copy that better resonates with your ideal customers, and even test copy and content ideas.