How to use Reddit search to discover winning content ideas


If you’re anything like me then Reddit is a fantastic place to hang out, particularly when you’ve got a little time to spare.

The depth and breadth of user-driven content on Reddit is incredible. If you’ve written it off as a repository of cat pictures then it might be worth re-evaluating (I’m allergic to cats, and most cat pictures).

It’s weird but a lot of people seem to be a bit scared of Reddit. Perhaps they have been bitten by a community that is very sensitive to intentions. If Redditors feel like they’re being marketed to, or trolled, or duped, then it’s normally game over.

Reddit can be a source of insane levels of traffic (I’ve submitted content that has generated more than a million views within 24 hours), but it’s also a great place to find ideas, and to see what works.

If you’re new to Reddit then here’s a quick walkthrough of some of the techniques you can use to mine the gold.

1. Install RES

There is a fantastic extension called the Reddit Enhancement Suite, which allows you to improve and customise the Reddit experience. I’ve used it for years and suggest that you install it before you begin.

2. Use the search tool

reddit search

Obvious right? Let’s put ‘SEO’ in there and see what we find (ignore the advanced search stuff for now).

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We can use the various filters to refine the search results.

3. Get to grips with the subreddits

For most searches you’ll see a bunch of popular sub-categories (aka ‘subreddits’) relevant to the content you’re looking for.

You can subscribe to these, open them up in new tabs to check them out later, or ignore them.

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The subreddit filtering options allow you to limit searches to one particular category…

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You can also refine the results at this stage, by using the advanced operators…

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This level of filtering is helps you to drill down into specific areas, while minimising the noise.

4. Explore popular posts

Directly underneath the subreddit results you’ll see a ton of individual posts. Some of these will be links to third party sites. Others will be ‘self’ posts, where the user creates a text-based post (these are often question-based).

Posts are sorted by ‘relevance‘, by default. Relevance is pretty much keyword orientated.

The two other sorting options are ‘top’, which is based on the number of votes, or ‘comments’, which is self-explanatory.

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You may find that a lot of off topic content will appear if you select ‘top’. In this case, there’s only one post with ‘SEO’ in the title…

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This is where the subreddit filtering and advanced operators come into play.

Here is the same search, sorted by ‘top’, but limited to the r/SEO channel…

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Much better. Way less random content.

5. Use the ‘time’ filter

Reddit will also unearth posts since the dawn of time (aka ‘2006’, when it was born). That’s fine, but it’s often better to see what’s been working recently.

Here’s what we see if we set the time filter to ‘past month’…

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6. Remove the relevancy setting

At this stage, given that we’re looking in a specific subreddit (/r/SEO), let’s also change the sorting option from ‘relevancy’ to ‘top’ (ranked by votes).

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Now we have a list of the most popular content submitted within the past month to a niche SEO-flavoured community.

7. Check out the popular posts

Now you’ve got some posts to check out. In the r/SEO channel these are predominantly ‘self’ posts. In other categories they could be links to third party articles, videos, or user generated content that lives on other websites (e.g. images hosted on Imgur).

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As I mentioned earlier, a lot of these ‘self’ posts are based around questions. As an aside, questions need answers… that’s always a great opportunity to create some ultra-targeted content.

8. Dive into the comments

The comments are a wealth of information, ideas and insight. Your entire content generation strategy could probably be underpinned by user comments on Reddit.

9. Check out related subreddits

In the right sidebar of r/SEO you’ll see a few things that should be of interest.

Firstly, you can see how popular a channel is, and how many people are tuned into it at this precise moment.

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You will also see a bunch of subreddits that might be worth exploring.

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That’s the long and short of it. Do have a play around and see what you can find. There’s more to life than cat pictures!

I’ll also write a follow up post on how to maximise your chance of success if you use Reddit as a distribution channel for your own content, so stay tuned.

Do leave your comments below and by all means recommend your favourite Reddit tactics.

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