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As web writers, SEO is King. So much hangs in the balance of using the right words for Google’s robots (I imagine them as Blade Runner-like replicants scouring the web) to pick up on. Sometimes though, the inadvertent use of a certain word can have some unexpected consequences. Sometimes, Google thinks your website features underage pornography.

Let’s be very clear here before I end up on a list; my blog does not feature any underage porn, or in fact anything close to it. It is just a humble review site.

However, I once wrote a review for the award-winning film ‘Blue is the Warmest Colour’. If it is famous for anything, it is for its lengthy and extremely explicit sex scenes. As such, discussing it led me to thinking about the influence of porn on modern filmmaking.

It also led me to using the words ‘porn’ or ‘pornography’ 21 times in a thousand word article.

As every web writer knows, the first thing you should do before starting a new blog is to think of your keywords, the search-engine ready phrases that will lead Googlers or Bingers to your website. You should then pepper them across the article, title and meta descriptions of your site. If you do not do this, who knows what strange search engine results you will come up in. Your article could come up, I don’t know’, a few pages down when people search for the phrase ’16 years girls porn’, like my poor review does.

This is an extreme example, but behind it lies a serious point about SEO writing. My website coming up when people search for niche pornography is not going to bring my target audience to the site.

The same applies to anything you write. Without the right SEO-friendly keywords, you might bring large amounts of traffic to your site, but none of it is actually useful traffic, traffic that is going to be engaged in what you are doing and maybe even will want you to do it for them.

In fact, what we can learn from this goes even further. Say I had cynically tried to bring people to my article just by using the word ‘porn’ frequently. People looking for porn would come to my sight and just be disappointed that what they had clicked on was not what they were looking for.

Just using the right SEO keywords might do a lot to bring people to your website, but it is not going to keep them there. They will only stay and keep coming back if you give them what they are there for. That is, quality, entertaining and informative content that they cannot get anywhere else.  A disappointed clicker is a customer lost. A satisfied clicker is a potential customer gained.
So next time you write any copy or content, keep an eye on those keywords and ensure they are accurate and appropriate. And, most importantly, do not fill a thousand word film review with two dozen uses of the word ‘porn’. If nothing else, it shows a deficit in your vocabulary that you cannot of another word for it.

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2 thoughts on “Google thinks my website features underage porn: A lesson in SEO

  1. Pingback: 30 Days of Mubi: Maurice Pialat’s L’enfance nue (Day 6) | Samuel Spencer, Freelance Writer

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