Googles New Love for User Generated Content

Content created by end users has not been particularly popular with Google in the recent past. Forums were systematically losing visibility, question/answer portals were often losers in all sorts of Google updates and comment areas within articles are (according to Google) only allowed with nofollow links anyway.

Seen heavily in the English data recently is a very interesting turnaround. First, Reddit, the Internet’s central forum, has gained massive visibility – from under 100 VI points (in the US) in the middle of last year to almost 1,000 VI points today. This success is exemplified by the Taylor Swift subreddit: today it has overtaken the artist’s official website in visibility on Google (USA).

This is not an isolated case, the question/answer site Quora has also been able to make massive gains recently: from around 70 VI points to almost 400 VI points now. However, not all websites with user-generated content are currently benefiting: Stackoverflow, for example, is not showing an upward trend and we are currently not seeing any changes in Germany either.

One theory: Google is clearly trying to give human-created content more visibility in search results and thus counteract the tidal wave of AI-generated content. The fact that Reddit has announced an IPO in the next few months is probably just a coincidence, although certainly not harmful to Reddit’s valuation.

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