December 5, 2017

Looking to up your SEO? Get some porny words into your search titles and headlines


According to Ross Benes at Digiday, women’s lifestyle publishers like Refinery29, Bustle, Teen Vogue, and (of course) Cosmopolitan are showing up at the top of search results for people who are actually just looking to watch porn.

This is probably not an accident.

“Porn is more frequently searched for on the internet in general than the beauty, fashion, and politics coverage that these publishers tout on their sites,” Benes says. “Across the internet, three of the top 10 search terms on Google over the past six months were about porn.”

So when popular platforms like Refinery29 and Bustle, which get high traffic anyway, include more explicit language in their articles about sex, those articles are more likely to turn up at the top of searches by users who are looking for something… else. According to one anonymous ad buyer, “If someone is on a mission to look at porn and gets distracted by a publisher’s article, I guess that’s a win for the publisher.”

It’s difficult to imagine this kind of distraction strategy being that effective, but the numbers don’t lie: various “evergreen instructional [articles]” and “viral explainers” continue to get hits months (and in some cases years) after they’re published.



Taylor Sperry is a former Melville House editor.