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This juicy tidbit has been on my mind for a while – the difference between “ethical” and “unethical” SEO practices.
I am not going to judge other people or point fingers, but I experience companies doing what I consider “unethical” practices frequently. This does not mean the whole company is bad nor do the people working there have no clue about SEO – in many cases, these companies have smart people who know a lot about SEO.
I am finally deciding to share my views because I come across companies who promise results and guarantee ranking – this is not possible. Nothing is guaranteed in SEO. It frustrates me that people spend heaps of money and don’t understand what they are getting. Reports are confusing, customer service is nill, and results are veiled and vague.
Again, this is my experience and my opinion with some companies – I know INCREDIBLE people doing ethical SEO and they should be commended. But for those who aren’t – shame on you.
Back to my point – I read this kickin’ article from SEO Anonymous: Advanced SEO Services Exposed – and they poignantly explain the difference between white hat (ethical) and black hat (not so ethical) SEO. I do not agree that only and all SEO companies in India are doing this – this happens everywhere.
I decided to do a little searching on “Ethical SEO” – came across Audette Media and their “Six Principles of Ethical SEO” - Horray! This is awesome reading. I encourage you to read and ensure these are being practiced by your SEO partners.
So what do I think? Glad you asked – here’s my version.
TheSassySEO Says: A Great SEO…
1 – Doesn’t deceive you. Know who is servicing your account and that they have experience in SEO, Marketing, and Strategy.
2 – Enjoys SEO and helping YOUR company, they answer your requests in a timely manner and explain your monthly reports.
3 – Thinks, talks and acts strategically – SEO is a strategy not a tactic using the latest tools. They should be a partner to you and your business.
4 – Listens to you – they learn about your business, your industry and competitors. This increases their value, their results and your relationship.
5 – Doesn’t guarantee or promise results – like being #1 in Google or getting a large amount of links/month to your site. There is only so long that practice can be maintained before the amount of relevant links diminishes. A good, valuable, relevant linking strategy is crucial – but should be realistic about what can be achieved in the long-term. Do not pay for links or an automated link builder.
6 – Talks about quality content, customer acquisition and customer communication plans (on site and in “social media”). That is the heart of SEO.
7 – Believes SEO is ongoing – it’s not a 3 month process. The first few months are the most important, but the site needs to be evaluated and optimised via research and analytics to continue to find what is working and what opportunities there are for improvement.
Finally, I want to give a HUGE shout out to Mark Pollard and McCann Sydney for having the vision to find a senior and strategic SEO professional to join their crew. This is a dream job opportunity and whoever lands this epic job is one lucky duck. This is how SEO should be looked at in businesses. Seeking SEO Soulmate with Big Strategic Ambitions.
PS. As I was posting this article, I discovered (actually referred by my friends @Bradatslice and @GrahamLang) another sharp and ethical SEO & Web Developer – JustWeb (@JustWeb on Twitter). Here is the post on Guaranteed SEO – Can a Top Google Result be Guaranteed? HORRAY – this is exactly what I mean!