Reddit secrets: Strategies for building link karma

Summary:Looking to boost your link karma on Reddit? By using the tactics outlined in this post, up-votes are guaranteed to come your way...

Real horse? NOPE! Chuck Testa.

Real horse? NOPE! Chuck Testa.

Are there any Redditors out there? If so, then you know how addictive, fun, and challenging it can be to build link karma. Being an avid Redditor for longer than I care to admit, I've devised a number of personal strategies and "secrets" for building link karma at will. Some of you may ask, "Why even bother with something as pointless as building link karma?" Well, my friend, if you're asking that, then I invite you to explore the fine world of Reddit and all of its subreddits.

If, however, you're a Reddit junkie who is "fiending" for a karma fix, then implementing the following methods should help your link karma numbers climb drastically. I highly recommend reading this entire post, because I write about certain facets within each method that are applicable to the other methods I mention.

Before we get started, I created a rage comic to go along with this post for my fellow F7U12 Redditors (click the image below to see the full comic):

WWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAEEEEEEEYYYYYYYY

WWWWWWWWAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAEEEEEEEYYYYYYYY

Method 1

The first method I'm going to cover is one that establishes a foundation for all the methods I cover in the post. With that said, I'm starting with you Redditors who have been around for a while and have a number of successful posts. Basically, all you do is go back to your earliest posts on Reddit (mine go back a little over 2 years now) and work your way forward reusing/repurposing your content along the way. Deceptively simple, right?

Now, while I know many Redditors out there are rolling their eyes at the thought of reposts, here are a few points to consider:

a) There's a good chance that TONS of people are on Reddit now who weren't before when you posted what you did a year or two (or longer) ago. I've had plenty of reposts that garnered ~1000 up-votes without a single person complaining about them being reposts.

b) You have numerous options for not just reusing content, but repurposing it as well. Heck, many Redditors repurpose content all the time by doing cross-posts (x-posts) between subreddits, so why not do the same with something you posted a long time ago? Maybe you posted something to /r/pics that you think would perform better now in /r/funny. Or, maybe you change the title but repost in the same subreddit. Or, maybe you don't change a single thing!

c) Ultimately, the people decide what they do and do not like. If 200 people complain about a repost via comments but you pull in even so much as 20 up-votes, then the number of people who felt moved enough to up-vote outweighed the complainers and you ended up with what you set out to build: link karma.

Now, the next part of this method is to delete your older posts once you've created new ones out of the older content. This isn't necessary at all, but I prefer to since I don't want duplicates showing up in my user profile. At the moment, the karma you gain or lose is independent of the posts you gain or lose it from. In other words, deleting a post won't strip you of the karma you built with it!

Method 2

Now it's time for the really fun stuff. This method will have you being part Google hacker (see: How to become a search ninja), part, "wow, you must not have a life." Basically, you're going to seek out Redditors who have been on Reddit for at least a year, first. Then, you're going to go back through their old posts and do what you did in the method above: reuse/repurpose successful content. So, how do you find such people? With the following extremely awesome Google query I've crafted (click it to see it in Google):

site:reddit.com/user/ "redditor for 1 year" | "redditor for * years" +"link karma" -inurl:comments|submitted|liked|disliked|hidden|sort

That query says the following to Google: "Google, I want to see Reddit users who have been on the site for a year or more and all I want to see is their primary user page. Additionally, I want you to highlight "link karma" for me in the description snip-it you provide so I can quickly see just how much link karma any given user has without having to click through to their profile."

With that query in Google, I've made it easy for you to find Reddit users like this who have over 47,000 link karma, but there's a hitch: Good luck going page-by-page through this particular user's history using Reddit's in-built "prev/next" functionality (seriously, can we get some pagination going, Reddit?). As such, a nice little workaround is to view that user's top-rated content for all time and start your search from there. Luckily, Reddit makes this extremely easy for us. Have a look at the screen shot below:

As you can see, Reddit allows us a "sort by" function, whereby we can sort content in a number of ways. Here, our preference is to sort by "top" and make sure the "links from" section is set to "all time." Once you do that, that user's posts will all be sorted by number of total up-votes, which you can see on the left. Lastly, beneath the post title, you can see how long ago the post was submitted and to which subreddit it was posted to. Perfect. That's everything you need to go about business as usual. To note, you can sort YOUR user page like this as well, so maybe you prefer doing this instead of manually going all the way back through your posts as explained in the first method.

Now, if you, as a Redditor, do not want YOUR user profile to show up in a Google search like this, then all you have to do is head on over to your preferences and check the following box within your privacy options:

Lastly, since Google only shows 55 pages of results, you can work on refining the query I posted above. For example, you could start by searching for the specific amount of time a Redditor has been on the site and start getting more specific from there:

Search for those who have been a Redditor for 1 year: site:reddit.com/user/ "redditor for 1 year" intitle:"overview for" +"link karma" -inurl:sort Search for those who have been a Redditor for 2 years: site:reddit.com/user/ "redditor for 2 years" intitle:"overview for" +"link karma" -inurl:sort Search for those who have been a Redditor for 3 years: site:reddit.com/user/ "redditor for 3 years" intitle:"overview for" +"link karma" -inurl:sort

With that said, head on over to the next page where I continue the link karma-building fun and ultimately conclude the post with some general tips and a personal philosophy of how I feel about all of the methods I've discussed (hint: I'm in favor of recirculating great content).

Trollolol onward for moar Reddit topsy krets... »

« Previous page

Method 3

For the last method I'm covering in this post (more to come at a later date), we're going to concentrate on the top content throughout Reddit and its subreddits. To start, let's head on over to the subreddit /r/funny, where we see the following:

As noted in the image above, click the tab that says "top." Once you do, the new page that loads will look similar to the following:

As you can see, we're provided with essentially the same set of data from when we did this in the previous method. The exception here is one that actually gives us even more to work with: since we're sorting top content from a subreddit as opposed to from a user, instead of seeing which subreddit a user posted top content on, now we see which user posted top content to a subreddit.

What that means is you can click on the user names of those who have submitted top content on subreddits of interest, then follow all applicable steps from the previous two methods to sift out even more content to reuse/repurpose!

Anyway, once you've sorted the top content from subreddits you're interested in, simply go through them and see how long ago they were posted, then go to town reusing/repurposing the content. Done and done.

General tips and conclusion

Here's a handful of general tips that will help to greatly serve your link karma-building endeavors:

1 - Post on subreddits that have at least 10,000 readers (or somewhere thereabouts). Every subreddit shows how many people are subscribed to it on the upper right-hand side, below your user name. If you don't mind ~10-20 up-votes, tops, then feel free to post in subreddits with fewer readers; however, my personal experience yields that the more readers there are, the more voting that transpires.

2 - Monitor your posts for the first 2-5 minutes to gauge initial performance and immediately delete anything that starts receiving down-votes. Tons of people browse subreddits by the newest content posted, so you can rest assured that -- unless you're posting to a subreddit without many readers -- you're going to see voting happen almost immediately. If you start noticing down-votes happening but you're sure your content is good, perhaps you should consider posting it to a different subreddit or with a different title. And don't remove your post if you've only received one or two down-votes off the bat. When you start hitting around 3-5 down-votes, I've found that's a good indicator of where things are going to head. And if you keep that post up and it continues to amass down-votes, guess what that affects? Your link karma total.

3 - If you want to get the most bang for your buck when posting safe-for-work content, post somewhere between 8:00 AM and 12:00 PM EST. If you're looking to post something a bit more NSFW or "off-color," then posting between 8:00-11:00 PM EST has managed to bode well for me. This is just a personal recommendation based on my experience, though; I don't have any hard data that proves these time frames to perform any better or worse.

4 - Just to clarify, don't repost a successful news story from any point in time. Reposting old news is probably the one thing that just won't ever pan out for you -- though there may be appropriate circumstances, like using a title such as "Remember this?" or something similar. But now I'm just rambling, so, to the next point!

5 - It's a misconception to think that having a massive amount of karma will do anything at all by way of influencing how others vote for you. Put simply, you can't get away with posting garbage. Garbage is garbage and the Redditors that vote are a fickle bunch who can sniff out spam and marketing content like nobody's business, so don't waste your time going down this path of building link karma if you think it's going to also build authority for yourself. By and large, Redditors care about content; not its users.

And with that, I'll go ahead and bring this post to a close. As a personal philosophy, I don't think these methods are inherently right or wrong. I know they will fall under heavy scrutiny from many Redditors since they hate the idea of something being reposted, but there is PLENTY of content I've never seen that's just waiting to be reposted. And by gauging from the times I've done this previously, there are PLENTY of Redditors out there waiting to up-vote content that others may have seen a year ago or more.

So, get out there and have fun building some link karma!

Horse Image Source: Know Your Meme

-Stephen Chapman

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Topics: Social Enterprise, CXO

About

Stephen is a freelance writer and blogger based in Charlotte, NC. His contributions to ZDNet cover topics related to security, gaming, Microsoft, Apple, and other topics of interest with a tech/SMB skew.

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