REDDIT USERS: How Do You Rank Top In Google?


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QUOTE: “the website that came up was a website named hobo-web” Reddit User, 2015

That comment above led to a heated discussion on the front Reddit about SEO recently. The talk centered on how Hobo managed to achieve top rankings with the content strategy my in-house team has created with this website.

I thought it might be worthwhile clearing a few things up touching on how I managed to rank top in Google with my blog.

SEO hits the first page of REDDIT

There was some commentary from the some well-known marketers:



Someone had to alert me over Twitter what was going on:


It was pointed out in the thread:

Nice try, guy who works for the SEO company at the top of the Google results.

But it wasn’t me who submitted it to Reddit, for the record.

But yes – that’s how a lot of people market themselves online.They fake everything.

They fake everything.

And yes – that was Hobo at the top of Google. It’s been on page 1 for a couple of years.

I don’t spam Google or other sites like Reddit because I run a blog myself, and I hate comment spam. SEO are NOT all comment spammers.

Believe that or not.

I am too busy documenting my experiences (I write my notes on my blog, so I don’t need to remember stuff ). Also, I spend a lot of time automating my processes so I can do SEO faster for clients.

I was surprised when they seemed to be talking about Hobo and specifically my strategy and blog posts.

Here’s the result from here in the UK, with the Hobo site at the top of ORGANIC RANKINGS – number 1 out of 4,000,000 results:

A commenter said:

Man that’s got to be a 100 thousand people that might have searched “Best SEO Tutorial” on purpose after this post got on front page. I sure hell did.

Maybe – but I never got all that traffic.

Although I did notice the sponsored ads disappear from that SERP….. no doubt as a result of all the REDDIT users clicking the ads.

I did wonder how all of a sudden my Google traffic was up 300% (although it went higher, later)

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Apparently Reddit users started searching Google for this term, and I got a lot of traffic from it.

There’s a bit of confusion in the thread I can clean up fairly easy about what SEO is.


Frankly that isn’t what i’m seeing when i Google it.

When you search for a keyword phrase using Google with quotes, it is a different set of results than without quotes.

Where you are in the world, and how often you use Google, will also determine the actual results you get.

Today – a lot of people got my page ranking top.

View post on

and I rank top in quite a few countries (even with a domain):

Referrals from local Google engines around the world

How Can REDDIT (now) RANK for the term?

“Ha googling “Best SEO (search engine optimization) tutorial” results in this same reddit page being the first non-ad link. Good job Reddit!”

Google SERPs always shift and sometimes change every day, minute by minute – sometimes imperceptibly – sometimes noticeably. Google likes to give some fresh content a boost too, for instance. Google trusts big sites…. like Reddit. A lot more than they trust the rest of us, usually.

Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) are always dynamic – and Google is on record as saying they use more than 200 ranking factors to judge site quality. And some of these factors or signals change every day – hundreds of times a year.

Google wants to make SEO difficult, and this constant churn is part of it.

To rank high in Google for the long term you have got to hit a lot of those quality signals if you are not using blackhat SEO strategies to rank your site.

The REDDIT poster who kicked this all off has made a slight error in posting the message as people were a little confused which keyphrase they were supposed to be using to search Google. Users were searching for the term with and without parenthesis.

Some Reddit users are wondering why Reddit ranks today for that term:

If you search in quotes, “Best SEO (search engine optimization) tutorial” on Google, the first result is this exact page on Reddit.

It is simply now Google has an EXACT MATCH REFERENCE OF THAT PARTICULAR KEYPHRASE ON A POPULAR SITE (REDDIT) – with, let’s face it – ZERO COMPETITION for that exact term.

The term is ALSO in the page title element, too, making the page on Reddit seem very highly relevant to Google. The Reddit page has the potential to rank high in Google – at least for a while. It all depends on how this plays out and in what final state that article on Reddit ends up – and then –  how I and other competitors  respond.

That exact term was not an exact match on my, or any other popular site, before Reddit.

No-one is optimising for the term “Best SEO (search engine optimization) tutorial” because there is not a lot of volume OR value in it – and now – REDDIT ranks for it.

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Google is just trying to deliver results that best matches the intent of the query – and at the moment – that page is Reddit.

Reddit’s ranking may well be temporary – especially if the page is just used to manipulate Google’s results. In fact – user generated content can get a site punished in Google if the content is manipulative. Google’s algorithm (over time) filters out pages it thinks are not suitable to rank high, in an effort to satisfy users.

The fact that the Reddit page will not satisfy the intent of a Google visitor will probably and eventually play a part in the page losing visibility over time – less it make Google appear negligent to its users.

FYI – When the exact match term is NOT on the page, Google has historically relied on sending users to pages on trusted sites that talk about that particular term or terms closely related to it.

I still rank near the top in those SERPs because of my CLOSE RELEVANCE to the keyword phrase used.

But this new page might even do better – it depends on what Google thinks is the best page to suit the query.

I could impact my rankings – positively or negatively – optimising this page for a term I already rank high for with another page.

I avoid doing anything that a Google web spam team member would frown on.

For my site, or my clients.

That is just because I do not want to work for six months or longer only for Google to burn it down because of ‘unnatural’ quality signals.

And Google will burn you.

I rank for a lot of terms like that through long-tail keyword optimisation, and I get @100K visitors a month from Google:


Now, today – for instance – THIS NEW page (the article you are currently reading) on Hobo might at some point rank for Best SEO (search engine optimization) tutorial JUST because Google NOW has another EXACT MATCH signal on a NEW page on this site (which is ‘trusted’) and I already have very relevant content on this site.

I am talking about that particular term on this page, after all. This page will probably rank at some point for the exact term, with quotes, in parenthesis too.

I could also add it to my Page Title and make this term the ENTIRE SUBJECT MATTER OF THIS PAGE – making it even more ‘relevant’ to Googlebot – and really give it the best chance of ranking in Google for the future. Especially if it were to pick up links.

But it’s not a term I am at all interested in (until today).

I naturally could add that term to the actual SEO tutorial page and rank with that page – which is a stronger page than this one. But nobody is searching for “Best SEO (search engine optimization) tutorial” unless they are reading REDDIT today….. and it all gets a little KEYWORD STUFFED if you overdo it. I do not want to edit my main page.

You can’t rank for everything.

That is how Google can send so much traffic to lots of sites.

Spamming Reddit?

If you are shopping around for a SEO company, be careful of those who say they can have you quickly listed on the top of the search engine results page.I have a new SEO and web design company. I’m not going to babble but it’s pretty impressive what the OP was able to do, even if he is spamming reddit.

No. Getting on Reddit was nothing to do with me or anybody acting on my behalf, I’d like to make clear.

It is clear that when people mention ‘SEO’ they think ‘total manipulation’.

Some of the comments are very interesting:

SEO professional here – it is useful to see – but no – you can’t trust the first result. Often whoever ranks number 1 for SEO related terms have got there via pretty nefarious techniques – and you may find they are completed removed from Google within months.

I liked this comment:

As someone who did SEO back in the day… no you can’t. It’s such a competitive search term that if someone is ranking up there they must of done some shady SEO shit and will be removed eventually. The amount of effort you have to put in to rank legitimately is not feasible. You wouldn’t have enough hours in a day and wouldn’t be able to spend a lot of time on other rankings that can actually make you money.

Well. We’ll see, won’t we.

If I am gone from Google tomorrow, I’ll need to review what I am doing – evidently!

A reddit user has just said a result they found at number 1 on Google can be trusted. That is kind of what Google wants. As long as getting there didn’t require low-quality techniques.

FYI: SEO ‘back in the day’ is different to what it is now (in lots of keyword niches). Doctors used to stick drills in people’s heads to relieve pressure. Now – you get a pill.

Things change. As has SEO.

I think I have pretty much followed the rules to get that ranking.

And that’s the game.

Google raises the quality standard every year and so must we as Webmasters and content creators.

I’m just trying to give Google what it wants.

Google said to “reorganise your website and content” (paraphrase) – so I did.

I took simple leaps of faith like “if thin content is bad, then fat content is….good?” and “if some links are good, then some links must be bad, too.”

Stuff like that.

Every six months or so Google throws a spanner in the works for you to work out.

That is what SEO is about today – or at least – the type of SEO I practice.

There are other ways of doing this, for sure.

SEO professional here – it is useful to see – but no – you can’t trust the first result. Often whoever ranks number 1 for SEO related terms have got there via pretty nefarious techniques – and you may find they are completed removed from Google within months.

I’ve been on page one for the keyword phrase long enough and time enough for Google to work out if I was manipulating it using low-quality techniques.

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That is a good term that drives traffic and generates organic links that fuel better future rankings and more traffic in a self-reinforcing snowball effect if done correctly.

The best way to pick up high-quality natural links over time is to rank top of Google and the best way to rank top of Google is high-quality natural links.

Most people are searching Google for information.So. Give them it, if it is any good visitors will share it, and the more people eventually will see it.

So. If you give them it – and if it is any good – visitors will share it, and the more people eventually will see it.

Google rewards that type of activity over time.

My tactics have got cleaner and cleaner over the years because I do not want to base a business on tactics Google is intent on making illegitimate.

Selling SEO services, I need to be able to do the same type of SEO for clients.

Just to answer this:

Smart SEOers (who you should actually be listening to) know to not even bother and instead focus on things that have a far, far better ROI

If I can make an impact in a SERP without breaking the rules, then I will do that. And that means (in this niche) avoiding the most competitive and historically spammier results like “SEO company”, etc for now.

FYI This blog actually DOES rank for a lot of other terms too, though (in the UK):

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and other people have noticed:

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My first aim as an SEO is to rank for keywords with content that can pick up natural links.

Otherwise – it’s not going to last long in any competitive niche Google is watching.

All the high-quality links I pick up to my one page might very well help every page on my site rank for more and more terms anyway.

I rarely talk about this site rankings in public because traditionally it just paints a target on you.

Same way I do not list the clients I work for on my site.

Or tell people who I work for when they phone up out of the blue.

I don’t use low-quality techniques to rank in Google because – if I was – and if this page then subsequently embarrasses Google after hitting the front page of Reddit…..  I am toast.

And ALL my rankings would be in jeopardy.

I thought this story was relevant today in case I am torched in the morning :)

Giving Google What It Wants

How do you think they got to the top?

Taken altogether – I am just giving Google what it wants, I think.

Somebody has got to rank top, still, after all.

When I cannot do it this way anymore – I will do black hat SEO.


Because – well, if I am selling SEO to real businesses – it’s an easier sell to make with proof that 1. it can be done and 2 I can do it.

People are put off by SEO essentially because it’s a lot harder work than it used to be.

It’s not about shortcuts anymore – well, not in the niches and keyword verticals I work in.

Technical SEO is on the rise again. Keyword optimised content is on the rise again. Knowledge Graph Answer Boxes, for instance, today present an excellent opportunity for anyone willing to put the work in to get results.

SEO is still a game of evolving fortunes and a game of survival of the fittest. Sometimes you can get results quickly –  sometimes it can take a year of hard work to get significant results.

How fast you get results can depend on what you have to work with when you start.

SO – How Did I specifically rank For THAT keyword phrase REDDIT users are talking about?

I  listened to Google’s advice:

One other specific piece of guidance we’ve offered is that low-quality content on some parts of a website can impact the whole site’s rankings, and thus removing low-quality pages, merging or improving the content of individual shallow pages into more useful pages, or moving low-quality pages to a different domain could eventually help the rankings of your higher-quality content. GOOGLE

That isn’t rocket science or manipulation or black magic and ANY real site with decent original content can evolve successfully doing the same thing – if they are willing to work at it.

I just looked at the content I had on my blog receiving no visits and repackaged it – consolidating link and content equity into single resources that hopefully were useful to Google visitors.

That is what I interpreted Googles guidelines to mean back at the end of 2013.

I built a tool to help me do it.

Those who stop SEO will essentially generally be surpassed in SERPs by those who do SEO – so if you want to be one of the winners in Google it is going to require investment in web dev, information architecture, keyword mapping and content creation.

SEO is not one discipline.

If you are not willing to do that then it’s black hat SEO time, for you, or Google Adwords.

My long-term strategy for this blog was to rank with in-depth content that was kept up-to-date.

My industry and the opportunity within it suits it.

If you as a business want to rank in Google in future and get ‘free’ traffic – you will need a plan that includes content marketing and technical optimisation.

My favourite quote form the article:

If you search ‘Second best SEO tutorial’, should you trust the first result or the second?

N.B.: This post today on Hobo is also an example of ‘newsjacking’ – which like SEO, is a marketing term.

It is often a good way to pick up the odd link or tweet.

It is all, just marketing. Although – I have never news jacked a story my site was mentioned in before.

I am an SEO who ranks page one for a lot of terms but I don’t know how Google ‘works’ exactly – no one does. Quantum physicists don’t know how quantum physics works, either – and they have a job – so I am not ashamed of this fact.

I don’t guarantee rankings because it is a scam saying that you can.

I can test your site against Google guidelines and recommend the work that needs to be done to get your site moving. My team can do the work – or I can plan for others to do it.

It’s hard to put lipstick on a pig on 2015 – but a large part of online marketing is STILL about optimising quickly to take advantage of opportunities to get traffic and links.

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