Google Core Update & Reddit Answers in Google SERP – Is this the right way to go?

Google Core Update & Reddit Answers in Google SERP – Is this the right way to go?


The Google Core Update of March 2024 was certainly an eventful one, to say the least. Among all the frenzy, however, we have noticed that Reddit answers have benefited quite significantly from the update. Now, Google is displaying more Reddit answers as search results, as it looks to try and promote authentic and user-generated content. However, there are concerns that while this might be beneficial, it can also present highly inaccurate results as concrete answers to actual user questions. In light of this, today we take a look at the fallout of the update, to determine where Reddit goes from here. 

March 2024 Update

Unpacking the March 2024 Core & Spam Update

The March 2024 Google Core Update was the search engine giant cracking the whip on low-quality content that it deemed to be spammy. With the spam update taking nearly 15 days to roll out starting from March 5th to 20th, and the Core update still ongoing, there’s definitely a lot to unpack.

Notably, Google made some alterations to its AI spam prevention system, famously known as SpamBrain. According to remarks from Google itself, it has improved the effectiveness of the system to enable it to detect new types of spam that were engineered to previously circumvent its systems. It goes on to add that it will remove the benefits that websites have amassed from spammy links and that even changing those links now may not necessarily avert the punishment. So for websites that have used black hat practices like link spamming, Google is saying that their days are numbered.

So what does that have to do with Reddit, you may ask? Well, there have been a lot of cases of spamming on Reddit as some unscrupulous users have tried to take advantage, mostly using AI tools. With Google largely unable to spot the difference between AI and user-generated content, cases of spamming on Reddit have been through the roof as many try to get featured on SERPs.

Reddit before the update – The state in numbers

Prior to the update, Reddit was a hit with search results already. Its answers used to frequently appear alongside product search review queries on Google, making appearances more than 97% of the time in such cases.
When it comes to Google Discussions and Forums, Reddit has also become dominant and the numbers really speak for themselves. As things stand, Reddit answers enjoy greater visibility of about 300% compared to traditional blog platforms.
So why has Google catapulted Reddit answers in SERPs? Well, the Google Search Liaison had the following to say:

“Our system ranks results highly if it believes that they are highly useful and relevant, rather than just elevating ranking simply because it uses a particular query.  I’m aware that the larger part of the SEO community isn’t too pleased about seeing forum answers on search results. However, actual searchers have really embraced it and proactively sought it out, which is why we continue to show more of such content to them. Of course, this is not to say that our ranking systems are flawless. You can be sure that issues can arise but you can also be certain that will keep on accepting constructive feedback and using it to improve our ranking systems going forward”

Reddit tops SERPs but are the answers accurate?

Things have gone from good to great for Reddit following the Core update, with Reddit search results now making a prominent appearance in search results than in the past. This may have something to do with the fact that a lot of content on the discussion board is human-generated.
Be as it may, however, reservations are simmering within the SEO community, and here’s one particularly significant opinion of a top marketer:

Google has made a case for why Reddit results are now featured on SERPS due to the first-hand experience they provide. No arguments there. However, you’ll find that a superior search result with more detailed steps and expertise can be more beneficial to a user than a ranking Reddit thread that’s based on a lot of guesswork” – Casey Markee, SEM consultant.

The SEO community wants Reddit results fixed, citing a lack of EEAT

SEO experts are now calling on Google to limit the power of Reddit. In particular, they desire that the platform’s answers shouldn’t be as highly ranked as they are now. Among the popular reasons that they’ve based this on include:

  • Bias and Subjectivity – Reddit users can provide answers that lean toward their preferences.
  • Lack of Expertise – Anyone can provide a Reddit answer, without necessarily being a subject matter expert or having experience in the topic for which they are answering.
  • Generic Answers – Topics are often overly simplified or generalized because users may not have the proper contextual understanding.Roger Montii who has over 25 years of SEO experience, perfectly sums this up as he further proceeds to echo these grievances as he says:

“It can certainly make sense to rank the views of real people highly. However, I wouldn’t take the opinion of a random Joe on Reddit over that of an exclusive forum dedicated to the specialty I am interested in. I would even pay to get answers in these expert forums but I wouldn’t heed the advice of a random “DIY-er” on Reddit”

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Why the sudden change by Google? Understanding the disruption

Well, if you think about how Reddit works, it’s generally a platform that was built to address user concerns and provide answers based on other peoples’ experience or expertise. While AI is not being employed to provide some of those answers, Google is none the wiser when it comes to differentiating between human and AI content.

This is also part of the reason why Reddit AI answers have frequently appeared in search results, Going back to the statement from Google’s official liaison, the search engine giant has found Reddit answers to be highly relevant and useful, which is why they are ranking highly.

Crucially, while they haven’t openly admitted that this could be due to some flaw with their ranking system, they also haven’t completely shut the door on that theory either. Whatever the case, one thing remains clear – Reddit answers are now appearing more frequently in SERPs after the update than before.

Question marks on Reddit’s Trustworthiness – The fine EEAT line it toys with

The short of it is that the EEAT guidelines require that users produce people-first content rather than write for search engines. That has mostly been the case with Reddit in the past couple of years, with this very active online community becoming the go-to over traditional websites for many who seek to buy new products or require guidance with some other tasks.

However, some serious and very legitimate concerns are beginning to simmer with Reddit. For instance, some users on the website may produce promotional content purely for the benefit of their own products and services at the expense of actually helping out users, which can certainly give Reddit a bad rep. These types of users generally tend to contribute to Reddit spam, which the platform cannot afford to sweep under the rug if they are to preserve the integrity of Reddit.

Furthermore, it’s also very easy for answers that sound correct, but factually aren’t, to get upvoted by users. There are also cases where users may NOT be subject matter experts or qualified enough to provide an answer on a particular topic. However, they still do anyway, which can lead to doubts about the accuracy of answers, which certainly beckons user profile checks and other quality control measures.
Overall, all of these issues cast a massive shadow of doubt on the integrity of Reddit answers in search results and they certainly make up food for thought if you plan to use this platform for your marketing going forward.


Reddit’s popularity has surely exploded in recent weeks, no doubt helped by the March 2024 update which looks to shine the spotlight on more user-generated content. However, it’s also quite clear that  Google is having a hard time telling apart the difference between AI and human content. Either way, Google has also stated that it has no problem with AI content as long as it is relevant and useful. But that’s a topic for another day.  Anyhow, Reddit answers in search results can be useful when accurate, however, it’s not always the case 100% of the time. Ultimately, we find that the jury is still out on this, and we’ll let you be the judge.

Are you for or against Reddit search results appearing on SERPs? 

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