Reddit has been steadily improving and updating search experiences over the last year to support the millions of posts, communities, and users, now the platform has launched more updates and features to help users find and engage in the topics that matter most to them.
The platform has announced a number of new updates to the search capabilities of Reddit to make the vast platform of content more easily searchable, starting first with the ability to search comments. With this latest update, everything on Reddit is now searchable – users, posts, communities, and now comments. Additional new features include completely new user interfaces for search and improved search relevance.
With this new capability, users looking for particular discussions or comments on Reddit no longer need to click on posts and then scroll to find threads that are relevant to them. The new feature solves this problem and gives users the ability to comment search directly and further refine their searches by searching for comments within specific communities.
For example – if a user wants to find a thread about the best locations in London, previously they would have to look through each post in the r/London community, browsing the comments to find it. Now, they can easily see all the different recommendations on the best places for high tea that people have shared in comments.
Last year, Reddit surveyed users asking what they wanted to see most out of the search, and one of the top results was comment search. In the limited initial testing, the platform observed that more than 26,000 Redditors used comment search to scan through over five billion comments.
New User Experiences and Interfaces
Reddit has also created a new look for the search results page on desktop and mobile – showing content in a new, simpler design. Based on user feedback the tab now prioritizes posts over other content types in the updated search design and simplified the results page so users can more easily skim through the results and find what they’re looking for.
The team is also working to make search safer for all users by reducing the number of unexpected results based on the searcher’s intent. In Q1 of 2022 alone, the platform saw a 20% growth increase up from Q4 2021 in users utilizing the search function on Reddit.
Improved Search Relevance
To improve relevance in search, and create a better experience, Reddit updated the infrastructure and focused on:
- Allowing for less restrictive matching – 100% of a query doesn’t have to match the text of a post to return relevant results. By doing this Reddit saw a 60% increase in results for queries that previously didn’t receive results. For example, let’s say someone searches for “dogecoin stonks 2021,” and doesn’t find what they’re looking for because there isn’t an exact match; with the new treatment, they’re more likely to get related results (and more of them) than they would have before
- Using user patterns to improve results – the platform now has a better understanding of user intentions when they search for something on Reddit. For example, if someone is searching for a topic that a lot of other people are searching for, the tab will automatically sort their results to prioritize the newest content to make sure the results are fresh
- Incorporating signals for post results – this enhancement looks at users’ clicks and interactions on search results as a ‘signal’ of what might be valuable for them. For example, if 30 other people clicked on the fourth post result when they searched for “succulents”, the next time someone else searched for “succulents,” Reddit is more likely to show the fourth post at the top position in results