I may be a little glib with the title, but it’s not too far from the truth in some cases here.. And while I could’ve written a strong SEO-friendly headline, I opted instead to go with something a little more clever. Why? Because we’re actually talking about SEO-friendly headlines, firearms, and how the firearm industry is screwing up big time (yet again).
Disclaimer: I am a gun owner, but I am one who wants strong (and I mean STRONG) gun control, red flag laws, and more to stop the prevalence of gun violence in the US.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the issue I’m talking about here today: Gun safes, listicles and SEO.
A super common borderline gray-hat SEO tactic is to write low-effort listicles recommending products in a specific niche that people are searching for. In this case, I’m talking about gun safes.
Some day in the next year or two I’d like to pick up a rifle again. Much like my purchase of a pistol, however, I won’t buy until I have one absolutely critical piece of equipment: A solid, secure and reliable safe.
I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to physical security. I enjoy lockpicking as a hobby, and also have a fascination with low-tech hacking (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to unlock my GF’s vehicle for her with some creative homemade tools). Knowing how easy it is to break into things (including safes, which I’ve picked a couple times too) means I’m also going to put forth extra effort to secure my firearms.
Pistols are easy. In fact, there is a great YouTuber who does some amazing research (check out the Handgun Safe Research YouTube Channel). Finding a good, secure budget-friendly (within reason) pistol safe is no problem at all thanks to his work.
Rifle safes, on the other hand.. Well, you just can’t trust Google at all. Why? Because of shitty, low-effort listicles.
Case in point, my header image for this article shows a listicle featuring an AMAZON BASICS SAFE. In case you didn’t know, Amazon Basics stuff tends to be the bare-bones budget cheap stuff like what you might find in Walmart-brand products.. Not something you’d trust to secure a deadly firearm.
Most of the top-ranking articles for various search terms related to finding a gun safe are pretty bad, just trying to game the system with clever SEO to boost ranking and relevance and get people to view ads, buy products and more.
This harms the industry because they are shilling bad products. People who don’t know any better will buy a recommended safe, and at best will end up with their firearm (and/or valuables) stolen.. Or, at the worst side of the spectrum, end up with a dead child because it was so easy to break into.
If these publishers can’t put forth the effort to actually do expert product research, then they shouldn’t be publishers in the industry. Period. They are a contributing factor to the concept of negligence in the firearm owner community; not that the firearm owners themselves are free from blame, but it’s not JUST on them.
With that, let me say this: Secure your firearms properly folks, and don’t trust Google.