Reddit is working to repair its messy search function

The news: Reddit is upgrading its search capabilities. The website added the ability to search for comments in July, but now users across platforms will be able to search within posts, helping speed up the process of finding specific answers or key words.

At long last: Reddit has been boasting its highly engaged communities and niche fandoms as it looks to court advertisers and prepare for an IPO. But a long-neglected part of its appeal is its power as a search engine.

  • Those engaged users and communities focused on specialized topics make it a goldmine for search. Having a hardware or software problem with a computer? Whatever the issue, it’s more than likely that a user on Reddit has asked or answered your exact question.
  • But frankly, Reddit’s search experience is terrible. Though there are filters to help narrow a search, the results page bursts with results and links to irrelevant posts. It’s sometimes easier to search Reddit by going to Google and typing “Reddit” at the end of your query.
  • Keeping users on the platform is crucial if Reddit wants to become a go-to for advertisers. Reddit has had trouble increasing users’ average time spent on the platform over the last two years, even as the pandemic drove higher traffic to social media sites.

Our take: A lackluster search function means Reddit is ceding ground to Google, and an upgrade is in order. A better search function means Reddit can finally become the defacto way to search itself, keeping users on the platform—and exposed to the ads Reddit is trying so hard to convince advertisers to buy.

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