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NSFW? No SEO for you!

What's your first thought when you hit a Blogspot blog that slaps this warning screen in front of your face?

Some readers of this blog have contacted Google because they believe this blog's content is objectionable. In general, Google does not review nor do we endorse the content of this or any blog. For more information about our content policies, please visit the Blogger Terms of Service

My first thought is, "splog." Followed, as a close second, by, "threats of violence." In any event, it gives every indication that previous readers thought the site was problematic and flagged it.

Well, that might be the case.
That is, in fact, the warning message that comes up after a user flags a blog via the little "Flag Blog" link in the top left part of the page.

But a few months ago, after being acquired by Google, Blogger introduced a feature whereby bloggers can designate their blogs as having adult content. All well and good, right? Not quite. Bloggers who dutifully complied with the new feature found that their visitors were being presented with the warning above.

I don't understand it. Come on, Google, if you insist on having a warning (to protect the children, clearly) what's so difficult about writing a custom message letting visitors know that the blogger marked the blog as adults-only, instead of recycling the "flagged" message?

And what's really baffling is that apparently, some tech-savvy folks don't think this is a problem at all. Digital Inspiration described the adult content feature as:

Good move that could save some embarrassing moments especially when you are browsing at a public place. Google already provides warnings about harmful websites that may appear in Google search results.

Uh, yeah. That warning that Google already provides about harmful web sites? It's the same warning.

So by trying to be responsible and mark their blogs as adults-only, suddenly sex bloggers found themselves being tossed into the same bin as spammers and stalkers. It didn't just cost them potential visitors who may be confused or upset by the warning page; it also cost them potential visitors who suddenly couldn't find their blogs at all.

If you do a Google search for something in the actual content of an adult blog, the blog doesn't show up in the results. Whenever the blog shows up at all, the description is always, "Blogger Content Warning - Some readers of this blog have contacted Google ..." The only way I could actually find, via Google, some of the blogs that have the warning was to search for those words, rather than the actual content of the blog.

Unsurprisingly, many bloggers who write about sexuality are a bit peeved about being cast into the Google leper colony, and thus have removed Blogger's adult content designation in favor of posting their own custom notice at the top of their blog.

While Google definitely took a step in the right direction by not forbidding adult content altogether, they canceled out that step when they effectively ghettoized blogs that deal with sexuality. Those of us who have Blogspot blogs should put pressure on Google to complete that step in the right direction.

Tags: adultcontent, Blogger, Blogspot, SEO, Sex2.0, sexuality

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