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Ethical Search Engine Optimization Meets the Consistent Value Proposition
by Brian Ortiz

 
   
 
   

Knee-deep in one-hundred-fifty-dollar text books and way too much caffeine- concentrated Starbucks coffee at Yale School of Management, I learned a basic, or what I thought was a basic concept - it was a notion of the "Consistent Value Proposition." Surface level, the theory was simple - when involved in providing a service or selling a product, every aspect of the customer experience must be consistent within the mindset of the prospect - from pricing to packaging, from customer support, billing, e-mail, and even company letterhead. If all these variables of the business equation remain consistent, you will be on the road to satisfying the psychological need of consistency. Notice, I didn't say that customer acquisition was a foregone conclusion. What I stated was that by satisfying the Homo sapiens need for psychological consistency, the potential client is prepped to continue along the occasionally bumpy road towards a possible online action.

What exactly does the Consistent Value Proposition have to do with Ethical Search Engine Optimization?

There are two main schools or rather philosophies within the search engine optimization world. Thought number one is to work against the search engines and your clients with trickery, smoke and mirrors, unrealistic expectations and short term thinking. Method number two is to work in tandem with the search engines and your reasonably expecting clients, by following the rules the search engines put forth to create a quality, user friendly, relevant, unique, valuable, engaging, sticky, thought provoking, fresh, and intuitive website. Working against the search engines in an unethical SEO or SEM manner may commonly consist of:

  • Building doorway or cloaking pages
  • Creating link farms
  • The use of multiple domains with identical content
  • Purchasing links
  • Invisible text
  • Irrelevant content / misleading content
  • Automated software used to submit or trick the search engines
  • Automated software that creates huge numbers of similar pages with little to no unique content
  • Automated software used to barrage other websites, search engines dialogue boxes, or online forms
  • Automated software that triggers clicks for PPC ads

Working with the search engines means abiding by the rules that they, the search engines, set forth in each of their terms of service. The window into Google's and Yahoo's rules and regulations can be found for all to see at these addresses:

[Google] http://www.google.com/terms_of_service.html
[Yahoo] http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
[MSN] http://tou.live.com/en-us/default.aspx?HTTP_HOST=tou.live.com&url=/en-us
[AOL] http://about.aol.com/aolnetwork/aolcom_terms
[Ask] http://sp.ask.com/en/docs/about/terms_of_service.shtml

Working with the search engines is a long-term and time intensive approach to improving your business - no quick fixes here - everything must be consistent to Google and the other search engines. This means that mouth-watering placements from working with the search engines may take longer and many more man-hours than option one's alternative, which is pulling the wool over the search engines' eyes.

Why would I choose to work with the search engines if results may come faster and easier by bamboozling search engines such as Google and Yahoo? Well, for one, Google measures the importance of every website by a system they call PageRank. PageRank is one of the ways Google parses sites that are relevant and legitimate from illegitimate, spammy or otherwise worthless websites. Tricking the search engines may cause a site to be blacklisted or even "Google sacked," which would in turn cause Google to not recognize any PageRank on your site - essentially rendering your search engine listings non-existent within the deepest potential pool of customers available.

We are now getting to the center-cut portion of what ethical search engine optimization really is. Ethical search engine optimization can be defined as the philosophy of improving a website's organic search engine listings by working within the bounds set forth by each of the search engines terms of service. An emphasis is placed on the long-term creation of relevant content, a user friendly design, and a delivery system of fresh and valuable information. This long-term approach to business success is a logical extension of the consistent value proposition I was introduced to as an MBA student at Yale.

Let's stay on this train of thought a little longer. Every aspect of the client experience must also be consistent with the standards set forth by a given search engine optimization company. Whether an SEO company is optimizing a website, hiring an employee or intern, an SEO specialist must take care in considering the totality and long term implications of the consistency of their decisions. Are my SEO's actions setting me up for now or the future?

Taking on a particular client, with specific needs as well as expectations also falls under the ethical search engine optimization umbrella. Are you as a client aware that white hat SEO methods will undoubtedly take longer to realize higher rankings? Were you educated enough to understand this throughout the sales cycle, or was this sprung on your after your John Hancock inked the dotted line? Business ethics dictate that it's your SEO's responsibility to do so, but common sense tells us that your joint long-term results as a team are really at stake. You should be aware and take an active ear to the overall candor and approach of your potential SEO partner - and remember, consistency and ethics go hand in hand.


     
   
     
   

The Author

 

Brian Ortiz is the CEO of SEOMatrix: Ethical Search Engine Optimization. He has been specializing in search engine marketing and most notably conversion analysis for both national and international clients for over five years. SEOMatrix is a Connecticut search engine optimization company.

     
   
     
   
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Copyright 2007 by Brian Ortiz. All rights reserved.

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