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How Does Reddit’s Algorithm Work?

reddit algorithm

How Does Reddit’s Algorithm Work?

One of the top ten visited websites in the U.S. today is Reddit. It is a popular social networking platform where users can post their own content and share links of other contents on another site. Other Reddit users can either up-vote or down-vote the content and make comments.

While the site is primarily designed to operate as a social platform, online businesses can also find Reddit as a valuable asset. It is a great online place for E-commerce to increase their visibility and to promote their products and services by posting great contents. Thanks to millions of visitors of Reddit every month, you can make your business be seen more visibly. And one of the most important things to achieve this is by understanding how does Reddit’s algorithm work.

How Can Featuring Content on Reddit Help You

Before knowing how the Reddit algorithm works, it helps to learn how can you and your business benefit from having your contents posted on the site.

At the front page of Reddit site is a list of content links posted by users. You might already heard about  and visited the subreddits where contents are categorized into different areas of interest, such as health or fashion. Each of the subreddits also has its own unique front page.

Perhaps what users have in common is the aim to get their links featured on the front page of Reddit. Who wouldn’t want it anyway?

With your posts listed on the front page means maximum visibility that gives your content great exposure to online influencers. If you don’t know it yet, a lot of journalists and bloggers use Reddit for their story ideas most of the time. So, being visible on the platform can also mean being exposed to other prominent websites. And voila, you’ll get greater visibility and wider audience base.

Understanding How Reddit Ranks The Featured Links or Contents

Now, this leads us to a very significant point: how does Reddit rank the posted contents? You must be very concerned about this if you want to be seen on the front page. This is where learning how does Reddit algorithm works becomes very important. It involves understanding two major things – the Reddit story algorithm and Reddit comment algorithm. These two use different types of algorithm that work differently.

The “Story Algorithm” of Reddit Explained

Being an open sourced website, Reddit’s code is freely available. The site’s algorithm is implemented in Python while its sorting algorithms are executed in Pyrex for speed reasons. The story algorithm that the site always use is referred to as the Reddit hot ranking which implements a logarithm function in its algorithm. It means the submission time of the link and the number of votes are the major contributing factors on how the story will rank on the list appearing on the front page of Reddit.

To put it clearer, the algorithm values more the first votes placed on a link than the later votes casted on it. In other words, the first 10 upvotes on a certain link will be counted as high as the next 100 upvotes. So, in essence, as your link becomes older, its ranking also becomes lower. In effect, your link becomes less significant over time, but you can request for initial traction on your submission so that it gets visibility early on.

Now, taking in both the factors into account, the link or the content will be ranked by Reddit by getting the number of votes it has and deducting the points according to how old already the link is. Thus, the newer the link is, the bigger the chance it will rank higher than an older one.

The logic behind this algorithm is plain and simple. It will keep the front page of Reddit fresh, ensuring that links with a lot of upvotes will not get stuck on the list for months but allow newer contents with many upvotes to be featured upfront.

However, another factor also has an impact on the final ranking, the downvotes. Stories that has plenty of upvotes and downvotes at the same time will likely get a lower ranking than those that receive only upvotes. Downvoting makes Reddit ranking quite unique and it’s one of the rare sites that use it actually.

Related: Have a look at our Reddit upvote and downvote services to increase your visibility or decrease your competitions post ranking.

The “Comment Algorithm” of Reddit Explained

The reason why Reddit implements a different algorithm than hot ranking algorithm to rank comments is simply common sense. It won’t be logical to rank comments by giving precedence to the older comment. Instead, it ranks based on the best rated comments using the confidence sort algorithm which is according to the Wilson score interval.

This type of algorithm ranks the best rated comments that has the most data as the highest. It treats the count of votes as a statistical sampling and the more votes there are, the closer that a provisional ranking of say 85% confidence score becomes the actual score. This is where the Wilson score interval applies and provides good properties for a small number of extreme probability or trials.

Let’s put it this way. If a certain comment has 1 upvote and no downvote, it earns a 100% upvote rate but will rank lower than a comment that has 10 upvotes and 1 downvote. The system places higher confidence on the latter comment, which it will likely rank higher than a comment with 40 upvotes and 20 downvotes. This is because the comment with 10 upvotes and only 1 downvote most likely will have fewer than 20 downvotes the time when it reaches 40 upvotes.

The best thing about using the confidence sort algorithm is that submission time does not have any impact on the ranking. Also, it doesn’t care if a comment have received many votes. Rather, it’s very particular on how many upvotes the comment has and compare it to the total number of votes as well as the sampling size.

So, basically that’s it! Learning the way how does Reddit’s algorithm work can help you better understand how the entire platform works. This will help you use the site more effectively and to your advantage.

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