In recent weeks the industry has been talking about coming together and writing ethical guidelines to SEO. When you get in this industry, as I assume is the case with any industry, you know the difference between right and wrong and taking shortcuts vs. doing it right. There are certain areas of gray that can be confusing but for the most part, I’ve always looked at it as, if you are trying to fool Google, it probably isn’t the right way to go. Not only that, but Google will eventually figure it out and then you are in trouble.
The problem with that is when you run a business that helps people get found in Google and you follow the right path, you will often have clients ask why this guy is ranking or why that competitor is doing so well. You look at these sites and see that they are breaking the rules in some way or another and recommend to your client that we follow the straight and narrow and do it right. I have lost client relationships this way because doing it right takes time and to say that someone is being unethical but still seeing them outrank your client doesn’t fix the fact that they still outrank them.
The good news is that Google is getting much better at finding these rule-breakers and in the past year, many of these unethical sites have dropped or disappeared as my clients have shot to the top. The point is that even though some times it is hard to be patient and not keyword stuff or build fake or bad links that others are doing because it is the quick and easy way, it is not good for the client in the long term.
I think anyone in any industry knows deep down whether what they are doing is ethical or not. We don’t need someone to tell us. It may be a good thing for new people to the industry to have a resource to go to for guidance when getting started, as maybe with technology changing so fast, it is hard to know for sure what is right or wrong. I don’t come from that angle, so it is hard to tell. Maybe it is my upbringing, but I’ve always found it pretty easy. If you feel like you are trying to be sneaky, it isn’t ethical. If you are proud of what you are doing, you are probably doing it right.