Google merges its SafeSearch help information into a single new document

Google expanded the document to explain how SafeSearch works, added some troubleshooting but the overall guidance has not changed.

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Google has published a new help document for SafeSearch that merges together all of Google’s SafeSearch details into one larger help document. This new document explains how SafeSearch works, adds some troubleshooting but the overall guidance of SafeSearch has not changed.

What is SafeSearch. SafeSearch is Google’s adult content filter that aims to filter out explicit content from your results. Explicit results include sexually explicit content like pornography, violence, and gore, according to Google.

New document. The new document is now located over here and it explains what SafeSearch is, how how SafeSearch works, how to see if SafeSearch is filtering out your site’s content and how to optimize your site for SafeSearch. It also goes through the metadata you can use with SafeSearch, as well as how to group your explicit content on your site into sections on your site for Google to better understand it. Finally, there is also a troubleshooting section at the bottom of the document.

Some tips from the document. Again, the guidance in the new document are not new, they are the guidance Google has been sharing for years. Google does say it uses machine learning “and a variety of signals to identify explicit content, including words on the hosting web page and in links.”

  • You can use a site command with SafeSearch on to see if Google is filtering out all or some of your URLs for SafeSearch.
  • You can the meta rating tag to define if your content is adult, this includes both content=”adult” or content=”RTA-5042-1996-1400-1577-RTA”.
  • Google recommends you group your explicit pages into sections of your site using a separate domain, subdomain or separate directory.
  • It can take Google two to three months for Google to process adult pages properly, it is slow.
  • Even if you blur explicit images, Google may still decide the page is explicit if the image can be unblurred or leads to an unblurred image.
  • Medical nudity doesn’t make it not explicit
  • Explicit content is not eligible for rich snippets, featured snippets or video previews.

Why we care. Sometimes sites can be labeled as explicit and be filtered out by Google’s SafeSearch filter. It doesn’t happen often but I see it come up from time to time and when it does, it can be frustrating to deal with. This document helps you understand how the SafeSearch filter works and what you can do to help all or parts of your site not be filtered, in an unintended way, by SafeSearch.

About the author

Barry Schwartz
Barry Schwartz is a technologist and a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics.

In 2019, Barry was awarded the Outstanding Community Services Award from Search Engine Land, in 2018 he was awarded the US Search Awards the "US Search Personality Of The Year," you can learn more over here and in 2023 he was listed as a top 50 most influential PPCer by Marketing O'Clock.

Barry can be followed on X here and you can learn more about Barry Schwartz over here or on her personal site.

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