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The fashion designer Lauren Conrad received widespread press on Tuesday when it was announced that her lifestyle and fashion blog had banned a number of words that she identified as contributing to body-shaming. These include “thin,” “slim,” and “skinny.” It’s an interesting response to emerging social trends that push for more widespread acceptance of different female body-types, and it’s already led to considerable debate about whether it is effective, a small step in the right direction, or entirely misguided.

But from the perspective of a Los Angeles SEO and social media company, it’s interesting for slightly different reasons. It raises the question of whether this sort of sensitivity to public relations is the right move for any other person in Conrad’s line of work.

The issue, in other words, is whether people can be expected to continue searching for words like “thin,” “slim,” and “skinny,” and thus whether striking them from your site content, blogs, and social media actually cuts against your long-term rankings and public exposure.

If you are a site owner who regularly deals with issues of fitness, fashion, and body image, this is something you’ll have to seriously discuss with your local SEO company and/or your local social media company. They should be able to look over the relevant search analytics with you and see whether searches for these terms are trending up or down, and also whether those searches lead to conversion more or less frequently than searches for other terms like Conrad’s alternative choices of “fit,” “toned,” and “healthy.”

Ultimately, when you’re looking to increase exposure and sell your own brand, your local SEO company will have to connect your content to the sorts of words that people want to associate with their own lifestyles and consumer experiences. If more people in your target demographics want to look and feel skinny than would be offended by the use of that word, you might want to think twice before jumping on the trend of pushing that word to the margins.

For what it’s worth, some of those who are criticizing Conrad seem to be suggesting that she’s well aware of this but is trying to straddle both sides of the issue by simply using her list of

alternatives as code words for the terms she’s banned.

Her brand may be powerful enough to actually change the rankings over the long term, at least in some localities. This is something that our Los Angeles SEO company will keep an eye on. But in the meantime, other fashion and fitness brands might be able to get a leg up on familiar search terms if they adopt a policy that is honest about what they are offering consumers.

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