Recently, a WebmasterWorld thread had claims from multiple webmaster’s stating that non-explicit images are being filtered from image results in SafeSearch mode. This has been an ongoing issue since back in 2007. At that time, Barry Schwartz, of Search Engine Roundtable, stated: “What we have been noticing is that Google has been a bit more sensitive on image filtering recently. This has impacted a lot of webmaster’s, where they have noticed a major decline in image search traffic”
Google’s explanation is as follows: “This change actually doesn’t prevent anyone from getting to the content they want to see. So, if you search for explicit content, you’ll be able to find it — just make sure your query reflects this intent, and Google will show the most relevant content for the search. This recent change is just one in a number of search quality improvements we make on an ongoing basis. Our data has shown that this specific change has resulted in more people finding what they were looking for, while significantly reducing the chances of stumbling upon undesired content for potentially ambiguous queries.”
However, toggling your SafeSearch on and off doesn’t just affect explicit images. You will find that safe images will disappear from results as well.
So what does this mean for cosmetic surgeon websites? These sites almost always have before and after galleries for procedures such as breast augmentation, butt lift and labiaplasty. These pictures can definitely be considered explicit by Google Image standards. To combat this, you need to makes sure that your on-page content and your actual image file names don’t contain words Google might consider “adult”, and even check with your current hosting company to find out if they host adult sites on their server.