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Is sarcasm still confusing Google?

Is sarcasm still confusing Google?

Google’s John Mueller replied if it’s still true that Google does not understand sarcasm. Google’s John Mueller offered an explanation of when sarcasm might not be appropriate for Google search.


Sarcasm is a way of expressing contempt or ridicule using irony and is intended to reveal something negative about the subject of said sarcasm.

It’s a bit close to satire, which is more an easy use of words to laugh at someone or an institution, but without the negativity of sarcasm.

Google Discover excludes satire

Satire and sarcasm are two different things. However, they can have the same effect on Google, as they are not direct statements, but have subtext and additional meanings.


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I only mention satire because in April 2021, Google updated the Google Discover Guidelines to note that satire pages would be excluded from appearing in Google Discover.

The reason Google gave to exclude satire is because it “may confuse readers.”

So the person asking the question has a good reason to ask it.

Does sarcasm confuse Google semantically?

The person who asked the question did not provide background information as to why they asked it.

This is the question:

β€œIs Google better at understanding sarcasm in 2021, or should you still try to avoid it?

For example, the sentence:

“A medical name” works for jet lag if your hamster is properly medicated because no human studies have been performed. “

But is there a risk that it confuses Google semantically? ”


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Mueller confirms that Google can not understand sarcasm

John Mueller answered the question and then offered a suggestion as to where sarcasm might not be appropriate for Google and when it might be okay, and it does not matter.

Mueller replied:

“I would say that there is definitely a risk that we misunderstand such things, or that we do not understand when there is sarcasm on one side.

And especially if it’s something where it’s really critical for you to get the right message across to Google and to all users, then I would make sure it’s as clear as possible.

So maybe in cases where you are talking about medical information, maybe try to avoid sarcasm.

If you’re writing about … an entertainment topic or something, it’s probably a minor issue.

But especially if it’s really critical information, then really make sure it’s as easy to understand as possible. ”

Deviating off-topic can confuse Google

Sarcasm can be said to be a bit off topic sometimes. In addition, one must also think carefully about making comparisons between the subject matter of an article and something completely different.

For example, an article about dogs can get confusing for Google if the article differs for a section that discusses a scene from a 1950s monster movie.

I recently revised a business-related site where the publisher suffered devastating loss of rankings.

As I read the articles, I noticed that the articles strayed wildly from the topic with side discussions about secret societies, celebrity scandals, and other strangely sectioned sections of what should be business-related articles on a sensitive topic.


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The person reviewed each article and removed off-topic bits and improved focus. Within a few months, the rankings returned.

This experience showed the value of staying on topic in each article because it makes it easy for Google to understand.

And making content easy to understand is at the heart of search engine optimization.

So when John Mueller said that sarcasm may not work in a medical context, another way of thinking is that sarcasm may not be a topic for Google but also for readers.


Google still not good with sarcasm?

Watch John Mueller answer the question at the 36:40 minute mark


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