Google’s video SEO best practices document has been updated with a section on how to optimize mature content for SafeSearch.
SafeSearch is a setting that Google users can apply to their account which specifies whether to show or block explicit images, videos, and websites in search results.
Google requests that site owners assist the search engine with understanding the nature of their site’s content. This ensures SafeSearch settings can be applied when appropriate.
Here are the guidelines that have been added to Google’s document.
Group Adult-Only Videos in Common Location
If a site contains adult videos, Google strongly recommends grouping the videos separately from other videos on the website. For example: http//www.example.com/adult/video.mp4.
Add Metadata to Adult Pages
One of the strongest signals Google uses to determine whether a page contains a content that should be filtered by SafeSearch is metadata.
Adult videos that have been marked up with the correct metadata can help Google understand whether a whole page or a select video should be filtered when SafeSearch is turned on.
In the absence of metadata, Google looks for signals generated using machine learning, as well as simpler signals such as where the video was used previously and the context in which the video was used.
Rather than relying on Google to figure things out on its own, it recommends site owners use metadata which looks like:
<meta name="rating" content="adult" />
“Many users prefer not to have adult content included in their search results (especially if kids use the same device). When you provide one of these meta tags, it helps to provide a better user experience because users don’t see results which they don’t want to or expect to see.”
Credit for the discovery of these changes to Google’s best practices document goes to Brodie Clark:
Google just added a new section to their 'video best practices' doc. Not an industry I work with, but maybe of interest to some.
Optimising for SafeSearch:
• Grouping adult-only video URLs
• Adding metadata to pages (strong signal)
+ more details
— Brodie Clark (@brodieseo) June 5, 2021
Other Notes About Adult Content
This guidance on optimizing content for SafeSearch can assist Google with identifying adult videos from videos that are safe for all audiences.
While that is helpful, it’s worth noting that having any amount of adult content on a website will likely cause the entire site to get filtered by SafeSearch.
This was stated by Google’s John Mueller several months ago during a discussion about adult content and rich results.
When an entire site is filtered by SafeSearch then it is ineligible to serve rich results. Even a small amount of adult content can cause that to happen even if the majority of the site’s content is safe for all audiences.
To prevent an entire site from getting filtered by SafeSearch, Mueller recommends confining the adult content to a subdomain.
“It also happens the other way around where some sites might have classified sections which are for adults, and then if that section is embedded within the main website in a way that is hard to separate out, then we might say well we don’t know how much of this site should be filtered by safe search.
Maybe we’ll filter too much, maybe we won’t filter enough. On the other hand if you move that to a subdomain then it’s a lot easier to say oh this subdomain should be treated like this, and the other other subdomain should be treated differently.”