Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Google search “discussions and forums” highlights the results you really want

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Shreya Christinahttps://cafe-madrid.com
Shreya has been with cafe-madrid.com for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider cafe-madrid.com team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

It’s more or less a meme right now that you should add “reddit” to a search if you want to find really useful results rather than a page full of ads and seemingly AI-generated SEO hack articles; the Brave browser even built this feature into its search page earlier this year. The company more or less admits to people noticing this in its blog post, saying, “We’ve heard from you that you want to see more of this content in Search, so we’ve explored new ways to make it easier to find.”

The company also says the feature is a good way to “get first-hand advice and learn from people who have experience with something you’re interested in.” Personally, it’s nice to hear this reasoning. There are plenty of searches where you’re not looking for a definitive answer, but a range of opinions. And while I often add “reddit” to my searches, it would be nice to see them on the same page as articles from professional reviewers.

You may always have to scroll a bit to find the discussions and forums – Google’s example leaves a blank area where ads or sponsored results could very well live. But it certainly feels like there’s a way back to some of the effortlessness it had years ago when the top results still featured unoptimized web pages and forums just because they happened to match what you were looking for. (You know, before those things were replaced by social media and Reddit as the main source of information, and SEO-optimized spam text meant every recipe had to start with a 1,000-word essay and a backstory.)

An illustration of the difference in information density you get by adding “reddit” to a search. No shade for any of the websites on the left, but this is the kind of thing I want to cast as wide a net as possible.

Google says the discussions and forums will be rolled out in the US today for English searches and that it “may update it in the future as we learn what’s most useful to people.”

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