Report: Reddit signs AI content licensing deal with Google

  • February 26, 2024
  • SEO

credit: Danny Goodwin

Reddit’s Google Search visibility has exploded in recent months. Now the companies have struck a content licensing deal. Coincidence?

Now we know – Google is the unnamed AI company that Reddit reached a content licensing deal with, Reuters reported.

Why we care. Reddit was already facing backlash among SEOs because Google appears to be favoring the platform in the Discussions and forums SERP feature. Reddit is even outranking original sources of content in some instances.

Now the question some people will naturally ask: did Reddit get all this valuable visibility in Google’s super-valuable search results because of, or partially due to this deal? Or is the heavy presence of Reddit in Google Search results an attempt at a correction following multiple stories about how searchers are appending Searches with “reddit”. (Or could both these things be partially true?)

The deal. Google is reportedly paying Reddit $60 million per year to train its artificial intelligence models (e.g., Gemini). However, neither Reddit nor Google has officially commented on the deal, which was reportedly signed “earlier this year” and comes as Reddit heads toward an initial public offering (IPO).

On Feb. 16, Bloomberg (subscription required) first reported that Reddit had reached a deal with “a large AI company.”
Reddit filed for IPO. This also happened hours after this story was published. Of note relating to search:

The company is building on its search capabilities and plans to ‘more fully address the $750 billion opportunity in search advertising that S&P Global Market Intelligence estimates the market to be in 2027.’

Reddit said it plans to use artificial intelligence to improve its ad business and that it expects to open new revenue channels by offering tools and incentives to ‘drive continued creation, improvements, and commerce.’

It’s also in the early stages of developing and monetizing a data-licensing business in which third parties would be allowed to access and search data on its platform.

Making them pay. Reddit made it clear last April they wanted AI companies (e.g., Google, Microsoft, OpenAI) to pay for using its content. Well, now it appears Google is doing just that. Steve Huffman, founder and chief executive of Reddit, told the New York Times (subscription required):

“The Reddit corpus of data is really valuable. But we don’t need to give all of that value to some of the largest companies in the world for free.”
Rankings jump. Meanwhile, as Glenn Gabe, SEO consultant at G-Squared Interactive, posted on X, the number of URLs ranking in Google jumped from 22 million between last May and 41.1 million today, according to Semrush data:

“That’s a massive jump… i.e. It’s not just rankings that improved, it’s the pure number of pages ranking.” Official announcements. Hours after publishing our story, Google and Reddit made it official – Google now has access to Reddit’s Data API:

Google: An expanded partnership with Reddit
Reddit: Expanding our Partnership with Google
Of note from Google’s announcement:

“Over the years, we’ve seen that people increasingly use Google to search for helpful content on Reddit to find product recommendations, travel advice and much more. We know people find this information useful, so we’re developing ways to make it even easier to access across Google products. This partnership will facilitate more content-forward displays of Reddit information that will make our products more helpful for our users and make it easier to participate in Reddit communities and conversations.”

So yeah. Reddit hasn’t gotten all that visibility in Google Search by accident. It’s a feature, not a bug.

Jim is a Senior Digital Marketing Strategist Spyder Digital and has over 19 years of experience in the field. His insight and ability to drive new business for his clients from the Internet is unparalleled.


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