SEO Karma: What Goes Around Comes Around
Karma is a concept in some religions that emphasizes the relationship between cause and effect, where every action or deed plays a part in shaping the past, present, and future. I, myself, am a firm believer in karma. Google also believes in karma; it will gladly serve you what you deserve if you’re practicing harmful SEO tactics.
Does that mean Google is God? Some may argue that. But one thing is for sure: You do want to please it as much as possible through good SEO. The kind of SEO that’s developed through best practices and White Hat techniques, or else you might get what’s coming to you.
Let’s take two recent examples of poor SEO that felt the well-deserved wrath of Google. You may remember the DecorMyEyes.com dude who admittedly reported to the New York Times that he was using bad reviews as a means of ranking.
In a maybe less-familiar story, last week Search Engine Roundtable exposed a comment thread in the Google Webmaster Help forum that revealed a shady SEO firm. Someone jumped in on the thread defending the SEO agency but denying that he was involved with it in any way.
Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team, did a little digging and found official state records that pretty much proved the person was the owner of the business. He not only called him out, making him look like a real tool, but also advised members in the forum to stay away from the business.
SEO Code of Ethics
Can I make a religious/evolutionary comparison without everyone getting all up in arms? To me, the search marketing world is kinda like humanity in its infancy.
Let me explain. As a species (of the human or SEM kind), we understand that procreation and survival of the fittest is how we progress. Humans in our earliest years, I believe, needed some form of governance to ensure survival.
Which is where some of the religious doctrines became very handy; for example, don’t kill other people.
Since the SEM industry is developing from its infancy, it’s important for the people who are a part of it to create and adapt guidelines that will help ensure its continued progression.
These rules also help to ensure survival of the fittest for SEO companies that create value.
So I guess that makes Bruce, along with Google, God (Is that stretching it a bit?). All jokes aside, the SEO Code of Ethics was created for a reason.
Through SEM best practice and keeping in mind the best interests of your clients, the search engines and the users, you, too, can obtain SEO Zen.
So like a great many principles that came before us, the SEO Code of Ethics includes:
- No SEO practitioner will intentionally do harm to a client.
- No SEO practitioner will intentionally violate any specifically published and enforced rules of search engines or directories.
- No SEO practitioner will intentionally mislead, harm, or offend a consumer.
- No SEO practitioner will intentionally violate any laws.
- No SEO practitioner will falsely represent the content of the client site.
- No SEO practitioner will falsely represent others work as their own.
- No SEO practitioner will misrepresent their own abilities, education, training, standards of performance, certifications, trade group affiliations, technical inventory, or experiences to others.
- No SEO practitioner will participate in a conflict of interest without prior notice to all parties involved.
- No SEO practitioner will set unreasonable client expectations.
- All SEO practitioners will offer their clients both internal and external dispute resolution procedures.
- All SEO practitioners will protect the confidentiality and anonymity of their clients with regards to privileged information and items implying testimonial support for the SEO practitioner.
- All SEO practitioners will work to their best ability to increase or retain the rankings of client sites.
In SEO, just as in life, do unto others as you would want done unto you. Nothing good can come from shady business practices. You may be able to find short-term success through Black Hat techniques, but long-term value comes from good SEO.
So, take a deep breath, perform your mantra, and go out there and make a positive impact on the search community!