Ethical considerations have always been a concern for the SEO community. Black hat practitioners and unethical firms muddy up the search results and create a poor user experience—not to mention the severe penalties a website can face for using techniques to spam the search engines.
As you think about investing in SEO, it’s important to hire an ethical firm. The following ethical guidelines have been widely accepted and asserted by the vast majority of those who work within the SEO field:
- Be Honest: SEO firms should not willfully lie or misalign the truth. This pertains to copying another’s work, making false promises, setting unrealistic expectations to clients and representing oneself falsely regarding one’s abilities, education, experience, etc.
- Obey the Rules: All SEO personnel are expected to adhere to search engine rules, which preclude the use of black hat tactics such as keyword stuffing and using doorway pages, invisible text and duplicate content. SEO firms should be aware of the latest rules and standards of the major search engines and maintain their sites accordingly.
- Keep Clients’ Best Interests in Mind: SEO services should aim to protect confidential information pertaining to clients and their companies, give each client equal care regarding their campaign implementation and management, do their very best to increase and maintain SEO results and never intentionally provide information that harms a client or consumer.
It is in the best interest of both firm and client to pursue and adhere to the ethical guidelines as put forth by the SEO majority. Websites that are found to be using unethical tactics are regularly rebuked by search engines and may lose ranking consideration; this hurts a client’s business potential and mars the credibility of an SEO firm.
While there is no “official” search engine optimization code of ethics, the best way to ensure safe, fair and fruitful ventures within the enterprise of online business is to adhere to the generally accepted practices of ethical SEO.