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An ongoing discussion in the SEO community is the difference between Ethical Search Engine Optimization and unethical search engine optimization practices.

Ethical search engine optimization is when you present relevant and high quality information for your visitors in a way that is easily accessible and understood by the Search Engines but meets strict search engine guidelines.

How Do I Know If What I Am Doing Is Unethical?

If you find you need to question how ethical your search engine optimization methods are then perhaps there is a reason you should take a closer look.

If you are purposely trying to deceive or trick the search engines in order to gain a top search engine listing then most likely what you are doing is unethical.

Using any effort to deceive the search engines means you are walking on thin ice. Most industry experts will give the same advice: don’t risk your rankings with unethical SEO. Most also agree that any results obtained from unethical search engine optimization are usually very short-lived.

If your rankings have dropped or your website has been completely removed from the Search Engines’ databases then it could be that you have committed what the search engines’ deem to be an ‘unethical’ offence.

In the last few years in particular, the Search Engines are becoming much more sophisticated and are able to identify spammers and websites that intentionally try to be deceptive.

It’s not worth it and if you are using deceptive SEO practices it is just a matter of time before your site becomes penalized.

What Are Some Examples Of “Unethical SEO”?

Even the best at black hat SEO admit that it is becoming harder and harder to outsmart the Search Engines using deceptive practices. Search engine algorithms have become quite intuitive and can catch most of the commonly used deceptive and unethical practices include:

  • Creating one set of content for your visitors and another set of content for the Search Engines
  • Sending visitors to a set of content for a specific URL other than the content that is indexed by the Search Engines for that page
  • Placing multiple pages with identical or near identical content as a way to manipulate the Search Engines
  • Automatically generating new pages that have little or no value
  • Deceptive link farming with unrelated topics for the purpose of boosting rankings

What is Ethical Search Engine Optimization?

At 1st on the List we follow the Bruce Clay SEO Code of Ethics and practice “safe SEO” that takes a long term approach to obtaining sustainable ranking performance results. The key components of this SEO Code of Ethics include:

  • Being truthful and never misleading or offending a consumer
  • Obeying all copyright, trademark and other laws
  • Authoring 100% unique content that represents your own work
  • Being honest and upfront about your abilities, training, standards of performance and experience
  • Providing fair service to all clients while avoiding conflict of interests without prior notice
  • Creating reasonable customer expectations
  • Protecting client confidentiality and anonymity

By following these ethical search engine optimization guidelines we work to the best of our ability to increase and retain the rankings of our clients’ websites.

To learn more about our ethical SEO practices visit our Code of Ethics & Conduct page or:

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Carissa Krause

Carissa Krause is currently a marketing and project specialist at 1st on the List. Over the years she has worked with clients on a wide range of projects that include areas like local SEO, backlink profile review, content development, social media, and more. Whatever the project may be Carissa focuses on achieving greater efficiencies and putting plans into action.