I've just started working for a client who has a website with editorial content on various humanitarian subjects. For example, some of these articles are highlighting the issue/problem with 'prostitution' (and other similar keywords) in various countries around the world.

Looking at our traffic and specifically organic search traffic, we are receiving a high number of searches for these keywords. Unfortunately, it's obvious that a high number of these visitors are actually searching for the subject matter 'prostitutes', rather than our editorial content.

I was wondering if anyone had any advice on how to handle this or general guidance.

The traffic itself I don't see as an issue, if not morally questionable from the searchers POV. We are thinking of adding links and support charities in this area and promote these on these pages. But, my main concern is that Google will be ranking use as a website to find 'prostitutes' in these countries, i.e. incorrect audience targeting. Rather than a humanitarian news website.

Note, we have lots of other content which isn't based on these keywords, so blocking these few articles may be an option. But then we risk actual legitimate users searching and finding them.

Any help/advice would be appreciated. Note, due to my contract with the company I am deliberately being vague with details (URL, etc). So please try and answer a general query.

  • 1
    You have us at a disadvantage - we cannot evaluate the content in order to provide a factual answer. I can tell you that search is not about keywords but whole language. For a search using few search terms, it is nearly impossible to make good search matches. Also keep in mind that some topics are harder to make search matches with such divergent search intents. However, much of the time where there are misdirected search results, I have found that the content is comparatively weak on topic areas that help direct clearer search results. For example, outreach, support, causation, etc. Cheers!! – closetnoc May 17 '18 at 17:01
  • Thanks, very helpful. So as topline... would you recommend trying to improve the keywords in other areas more specific to the website, to try and bring Google round to the correct matching for the website as a whole? – alexmcfarlane May 21 '18 at 7:55
  • P!ease stop thinking in terms of keywords. That is SEO B.S. search engines do not match search terms. The original Google research paper states that search term matches provide poor results. Search engines are semantic these days. This means you really need to think in terms of topics and topic strength. That was my point. Makes sure the topic strength is not prostitutes and prostitution, but outreach, support, causation, etc. Remember SEs are machines and can only analyze the content by scoring it and not the way humans do instinctively. This is done using LSI. – closetnoc May 21 '18 at 14:35
  • So make each page clearly about ?? (whatever the topic is) and make it clearly about ?? by expanding upon those points significantly enough as not to be ambiguous. Semantics uses disambiguation techniques to properly score the content topic. You may want to be more explicit and use fewer pronouns and assumptions that the reader understands automatically. As writers, we make automatic assumptions that can often be misunderstood by LSI if too ambiguous. In your case, make sure that there is enough content and explicit usage of language as to be absolutely clear what the page is about. Clear?? – closetnoc May 21 '18 at 14:44

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