Hey, sweeties! 👋🏼 As the title says, I want to talk about a bit of a controversial topic today, which is swearing and dropping the f-bomb in blogging. Should you be using the f-word on your blog? And what’s the impact if you do? Will it turn readers away, will it affect your SEO ranking? Let’s chat about it.
How it all started
In my last two posts, the It Ends With Us book review and the Three Great Loves theory post (and in the Monday Morning posts for that matter), I let myself loose and went wild with the use of “fucking”. Or, perhaps, I didn’t so much as let myself loose but rather I let my more authentic self join the party, as I do speak like this in real life. My writing voice is very much my everyday real-life voice, and it’s a conscious decision to adopt this writing style, because I find it allows for a more sincere connection with the audience. That’s not to say I’m a big potty mouth, but I do sprinkle the f-word here and there and, not gonna lie, I do use it at work and it has very, VERY occasionally slipped in front of patients (I work in healthcare). And, this happens when I talk in both English and my native language Greek (granted cussing in Greek is so much more satisfying for some strange reason; do any of you bilingual people relate?).
So, using it more in my last two posts got me thinking – does cursing on your blog have a negative impact on your SEO ranking? If I let my truer self loose, will I lose my readers? And that is something I haven’t thought about before, because number one, there are no clear rules about blogging (and content creation really, they’re all still very new) and number two, one of the reasons I love blogging is because you have your own online space where you can write whatever you want. Or can you?
Will curse words alienate your readers?
I started doing research about this and I came across this post by ProBlogger, where he discusses this very topic “Do You Swear on Your Blog?”. You can go check his post out, but basically he did a poll and had hundreds of people respond and it was controversial. Some didn’t mind, some did mind, and the consensus was cussing for the sake of cussing is a turn-off. Using the f-word within context or to emphasise a situation or whatnot, is generally more acceptable.
Having said that, one person left a very on point comment which resonates with me and it’s the following:
”I read a how-to-blog article 2+ years ago, maybe on Lifehacker, it said something to the effect of – hold nothing back, apologize for nothing, write true and you will be happy and someone will read it, somewhere.”
That comment is in line with what I said above about a blog being a happy place and your own little space where you can express yourself however you wish.
Does using the F-word affect SEO ranking?
This is another question I really wanted to know the answer to. I was worried that, even though I am unapologetic for using “fucking” in my blog posts (and other f-word derivatives), I still would hate it for my posts to be hidden from search engines because of the use of curse words. Especially when my post about the Three Great Loves is my favourite post I’ve written to date, and that includes all my blogging ventures, even the ones I wrote as a teenager.
In this post by SearchEngineJournal titled “Can Swear Words Hurt Your Search Rankings?” it mentions that Google does not take an official position on curse words in website content. But, it does appear that the quantity/severity of swear words may have an impact.
If your content is deemed unsafe for an audience under 18, you may find that your site doesn’t appear when people search with SafeSearch on (it’s on by default). In addition, if you use explicit words in your titles or meta descriptions, Google may choose to rewrite these. These are more of anecdotal facts, though, rather than a clear answer.
The general advice is, if you can avoid or replace curse words, especially when they don’t particularly add to the content, you should do so. It, also, highly depends on your niche – obviously a blog/website targeting children as their audience shouldn’t be using f-words and it would be down ranked by search engines.
The bottom line
My final thoughts are that after doing this research I feel a bit more comfortable continuing my use of f-words on this blog. I feel less worried that my content might get buried by Google and other search engines. Also, my TikTok is the epitome of bad words, seeing that I post a lot of Sex and the City content. 😅 And my engagement there is the highest I’ve ever had in any social media platform. So, that is reassuring, too.
If you worry about this issue, too, I would refer you back to the quote above: hold nothing back, apologise for nothing, be true to yourself and your target audience will find you.
Lastly, I’m very curious, do YOU use the f-word and cussing in general on you blog? What about in real life or even at your job? Tell me in the comments!
*featured image by Adobe library