Ethics Of SEO

My associates and I have devoted a considerable amount of time over the past several days discussing ethics as pertains to social media and SEO. In any business or industry where the general public knows little or nothing about the inner workings and mechanisms involved it is usually in the best interest of the professionals providing the service to be noticeably above board. We should not only strive to provide a valuable service, but, to educate them as well! The last thing we want to be known as is a charlatan or, even worse, a snake oil salesman ( " pay no attention to the man behind the curtain ... I am THE GREAT AND POWERFUL OZ " )! It is our minimum responsibility to let our clients know what we are able to do for them, how we will go about it, and how long before they begin to see some results. Insofar as they are the ones paying us, it behooves us to endeavor relentlessly on their behalf while staying within the boundaries of ethical propriety. It seems lately though those once well defined boundary lines have become expansive gray area's, and the subject of much discussion.
In social media circles the terms white hat, black hat, and gray hat SEO are a topic one can expect to hear much debate and discussion over. Black hat SEO refers to programs that manipulate the way a website is read or perceived by search engine crawlers ( programs search engines such as google use to quantify, among other things, the content, traffic, and in and outbound links to a website ), violate the rules and regulations of the search engine, or alter content on a website intending to mislead a consumer. The penalties for the use of these tactics can be quite severe so most social media pros steer well clear of them. The term white hat SEO refers to practices that are, for the most part, universally accepted as being fair, honest, and above board, such as optimal use of keywords and key phrases, updating and evaluating headline links, and the optimization of HTML. Then we have the gray area ... the subject I hear the most discussion over in the gray area is ghost writing and ad copy:

There are 2 sides to this debate and they both make good points. One side supports the idea that when a consumer reads an article on a web page or blog post they expect it to be in the words of the CEO, owner, or at least a full time employee of the business they are reading about, and that to have an outside entity write it is misleading at best, and sometimes downright dishonest! On the other side of the debate is the faction that asserts that given that they are being paid by the company to write the article, that they have both personal knowledge of and a personal relationship with the CEO or owner, that they are in fact communicating the thoughts and concerns of the principals involved. The jury is still out on this discussion and is likely to stay that way.

As for my thoughts on the matter ... in a successful ongoing business everyone in every position generally has his hands full already, readable ad copy is the product of hard work, knowledge, and devoting an appropriate amount of quality time to produce it. It would be unreasonable to only allow blogs, press releases, and ads under the circumstances that they were written by owners who were english lit majors ... and it would be even more unreasonable to expect clients to read product from those who can't write!
Rick Thomas, Social media/SEO Consultant in Ft Myers Florida,Regional Search Engine Marketing For Businesses, Improved Google Search Engine Rankings, Company Facebook Pages Created & Managed, Located in Fort Myers Florida. Yes I am For Hire!

Contact Rick Thomas at 239 896-7020


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