Google Discover will not show content or images that would normally be blocked by the search engine’s SafeSearch tools.
Though not surprising, this is the closest we have come to seeing this confirmed by someone at Google. Google Search Liaison Danny Sullivan responded to a question on Twitter by SEO Professional Lily Ray. In a recent tweet, Ray posed the question:
“Is the below article on SafeSearch filtering the best place to look for guidance on Google Discover? Seems that sites with *some* adult content may be excluded from Discover entirely; does this guidance apply?”
In his initial response, Sullivan wasn’t completely certain but stated: “It’s pretty likely SafeSearch applies to Discover, so yes. Will update later if that’s not the case.”
While Sullivan never came back to state this was not the case, he later explained that “our systems, including on Discover, generally don’t show content that might be borderline explicit or shocking etc. in situations where people wouldn’t expect it.”
Previously, other prominent figures at Google including Gary Illyes and John Mueller had indicated this may be the case, also suggesting adult language may limit the visibility of content in Discover.
For most brands, this won’t be an issue but more adult-oriented brands may struggle to appear in the Discovery feed, even with significant optimization.