Ethics of SEO

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There’s no denying the fact that search engine optimization has an
‘iffy’ reputation at best, and that’s being generous. Many people think SEO is worse than the plague itself. I’ve actually heard someone say word for word that they’re “allergic to SEO.” This coming from a
marketing professional who’d you normally think would understand the
potential. I think the reason most people are afraid of it is because
they don’t fully understand the nature of it. Then of course there’s
those that don’t understand it but think they do, this certainly doesn’t help any. SEO when done ethically is well, a completely ethical medium that’s as effective as anything.
There’s three sides to SEO. The phrases commonly used to describe them
in the industry are – white hat, black hat, and gray hat. Just like
anything else there’s honest, ethical ways to do it and also completely unethical ways, and of course there’s those that walk to the fine line. Tonight I’d like to focus on the ethical side while trying to debunk some common misconceptions at the same time.
As SEO’s, our job is to optimize for people to find us through search
engines. We don’t optimize for the search engines themselves. In simpler terms this means that we build sites for humans, not robots. We focus on refining websites so that they are visible to the search
engines. Unethical SEOs build sites that are not human friendly, they
only appeal to the search engine robots. Let’s put it this way, we would never sacrifice usability to try and please the search engines. In fact, usability and SEO often go hand in hand.
The problem I see is that many of the new web startups are completely
disregarding SEO as an advertising medium. This is unfortunate because
most, if not all the Marketing 2.0 techniques are great compliments to
search engine optimization. Most of these companies are able to achieve decent search engine results on their own but if they would use some SEO they could really be threats and even rank for some of the highly trafficked keywords. These keywords are extremely valuable and highly coveted. If they’d only get off their high horses they could really take their companies to the next level.
The problem really lies in the misunderstanding of it all. The
mysterious black magic voodoo that often comes to mind when the letters SE and O are mentioned. Believe me when I say there’s nothing mysterious about SEO and the techniques we use, we definitely do not try to trick the search engines. There’s also the ugly side of SEO that’s often shown. There’s people who’ve been burned by SEOs that promise guaranteed results with a quick turn around. Then there’s all sorts of misinformation from people who think they know what they are doing.
SEO in nothing to be afraid of. It’s a powerful marketing tool that’s
very effective. When done the right way one can expect long lasting
results that are sure to bring in a lot of traffic.

Cameron Olthuis

Cameron Olthuis

Cameron Olthuis

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