The porn industry goes white hat

James, Nick and I have had several conversations this year about how the seedier side of the internet would struggle adapt to the changing SEO landscape. Sectors like gambling, payday loans and of course porn have been built on black hat tactics, and it was difficult to see how that could ever change. Forget content marketing or brand building, it seemed these sectors, particularly the porn industry, were doomed to a life of keyword stuffing, link wheels and three way exchanges (when did SEO start sounding so smutty??!!).

It seems, however, that we were wrong. Pornhub have just released their 2013 Review, a series of infographics on the (genuinely very interesting) porn consumption behaviour of the world, presumably in an attempt to acquire completely legitimate links. In fact when you think about it, all the signals that apply to other markets can absolutely apply to porn – engagement stats, direct visits, repeat visits, click through rates, general health and usability of the site, etc – so perhaps long term SEO in these shadier corners of the internet doesn’t look so different after all. In fact the only signal that’s difficult to see playing a major role is social; somehow it’s difficult to imagine people sharing their favourite porn clips with close family and friends….

Porn on the move

I won’t delve too far into the data shown by Pornhub, but one of the most interesting conclusions was that more than half of all porn in the US is watched via mobile or tablet. I’m not sure if these people are just brazenly walking the streets of America with one hand on their phone and the other in their pocket, or if this is more a reflection of a reduced dependence on desktops within the home, but what’s obvious is that the porn industry is certainly evolving with the times.

Dan

P.S. I feel I should point out that I stumbled on the Pornhub resource quite innocently via Quartz 🙂