I am adding to fire (I know) with even posting this, but I have been so annoyed lately with all of the posts I have been reading about SEO and ethics. I read about: buying links, white-hat-seo vs black-hat-seo techniques, what is ethical and what is not when it comes to search engine optimization, what to disclose with clients you are doing SEO for, what Matt Cutts says ... etc etc etc... I am done with it after adding my two cents.
I hate all the debate, and here is 10 reasons why:
- If you are buying links then you are breaking Googles terms of service, right? (But it's ok, and recommended to purchase a link in the Yahoo Directory - Is a link a link? I have had Google people tell me this at SES NYC 06) Remember sites like TLA and TLB have editorial guidelines for sites to qualify.
- Paying to get links into blogs (contextual advertising) is bad, and again breaking the TOS. (But it's ok to call up my buddy and have him put in a link in the latest post he did. Isn't this manipulation of the search engines as well?)
- It is unethical to purchase links. (Yet, everyone that has posted this, has a listing in a paid directory, yes with a link, or an affiliate link and banner to TLA or TLB)
- Don't purchase links in hopes to gain higher rankings. (Yet, every-time its done I see those ((doing it)) rankings climb. You are smarter to buy for traffic, but often that means a quality site which means better rankings.)
- Why wouldn't any site offering anchor text links be punished? (Yet, I still see these sites that offer these services with high rankings - maybe its no so bad after all!)
- Link Baiting to get people to "link to you". (The intention of link baiting is to game Google, but it is still up to the person doing the link to add it, and you aren't forcing it. BUT, If breaking Googles quality guidelines has to do with manipulation of results, then isn't "link baiting" manipulation of the guidelines? Link baiting is intended to increase the number of people linking to you, is it not?)
- If I can pay to get a higher PPC rank, then why is it so "unethical" or wrong to pay to increase my natural rankings? (I just don't get it! If we are really concerned about "quality" then why in the hell are most of the people paying for PPC allowed to have their sites listed? Oh wait...that's right - keyword being "paying".)
- If buying a link on a site that gets a ton of traffic (and could get me traffic and exposure) is bad, then why would a site owner sell the link, if he were in risk of getting banned for breaking quality guidelines? (nuff said)
- If obvious teaching of black hat techniques are so bad, (then why do these sites keep ranking so well when they are so open in their black hat techniques and preaching?)
- How can one really be 100% white hat anyway if all marketers are spammers?
Give it a rest, and give us a break. We are just trying to market our sites.