The lines of right and wrong, or acceptable and unacceptable, are blurry online. In a space where there are millions of people lurking, and opportunities are available everywhere, the lines of ethical SEO practices are vague. How can online users, much less, search engines, decide whether the content is proper?
Unethical SEO practices are persistent online. It takes a lot of work, time, and financial investment to reach the top of Google Search Engine Results Pages. There is a reason why it is tempting, particularly to new website owners, to look at unethical SEO practices. Instead of putting in all the trials for specific white hat SEO, black hat SEO techniques may result in better rankings.
Of 100 clicks, 32.43 come from the first or the top result in the search engine. In the next spot, the top second result, users only had 16.54 organic clicks (Advanced Web Ranking, 2022). The lower the results a website falls, the lower the percentage will be. By the time users reach the second page of Google SERP, all other websites are fighting for lower click rates. All websites want top rank, but not all sites practice ethical SEO.
What is Ethical SEO?
Ethical SEO is an umbrella term for acceptable practices that increase Search Engine Optimisation. It is also known as white hat SEO or Search Engine Marketing.
Google has a set of guidelines for all website operators or owners who want to index their site on the search engine. Many owners see this as a way to market products and services, generate traffic, and eventually land covetable conversions for revenue. Others simply want the generated organic traffic from landing as the most likely reliable result from Google.
There is no shortcut for ranking the top spot in major search engines, even if all individuals play it correctly. The result would be endless ethical and viable websites for number one in the searches. The right ways and practices would include following all guidelines; however, the reality is that applying ethical SEO practices never guarantees an improvement of the ranking.
Many users and individuals resort to black hat SEO for faster and more efficient ways of making it to the top. That thin line between ethical and profitable becomes nuanced, especially if only search engines are the ones checking content. Nevertheless, as search engines improve over time, only ethical practices become recognisable and accepted online.
Why is Ethical SEO Important?
It would look like there is no real, persuasive reason to use ethical SEO to put web pages on the radar. The promise of becoming the most looked at in search engines is never guaranteed when you follow the rules. However, it is still crucial to do ethical SEO practices.
If you are on the fence between choosing well-invested and acceptable white hat SEO and fast and efficient black hat SEO, the choice will not be easy. These are the reasons why it is crucial and beneficial for new website owners to perform ethical SEO practices:
✔︎ There are many white hat SEO or ethical SEO practices that are affordable.
✔︎ The ethical approach has become the most transparent way of doing business online.
✔︎ Ethical SEO has higher levels of Return on Investment via organic traffic results.
✔︎ Google continuously improves its standards and guidelines for content, resulting in hefty penalties for black hat SEO or gray hat SEO in the long run.
✔︎ Any online user can use various devices to look at a website, and websites with ethical SEO methods are often more compatible with gadgets.
✔︎ Websites with white hat SEO techniques are considered ethical and often equate to paramount safety and security for visitors and users.
Ethical vs Unethical
Let us compare and contrast ethical and unethical SEO practices online. It may be a challenge for new users to figure out if the website has acceptable practices, but note these aspects:
- Ethical SEO is for user value, meaning the content adds value, increases relevance, and results in high-quality, unique content.
- Unethical SEO is for search engines, meaning content rarely adds value, and there are many nuances to value in contrast with ethical SEO practices.
- It takes a long time to see the results of ethical SEO. Consider these practices as long-term investments for gradual relevance within search engines.
- It does not take long to implement and see the results of unethical practices. Fast practices often result in fast results, which could ultimately mean quicker penalties from Google
- The risk for ethical SEO is it will not always and immediately land the web pages in the top results of the search engine.
- The risk of unethical SEO is that any search engine may penalise it eventually. Google is known to be stringent with its guidelines for websites looking to index in its large search engines.
Why Must Everyone Practice Ethical SEO?
Ethical SEO practices are not optional. In a world where security and safety are becoming increasingly questionable, professionals should extend the extra effort for safe SEO practices.
According to an article by Thomas, “Websites that rank on the first page of Google see a massive increase in traffic and conversions. Ranking on the first page increases traffic by 134% for those previously listed on the second page.”
Is there any practical benefit for ethical SEO? Why should everybody practice these methods online? If you are a new website owner, ponder on these points:
Cost-Effective Promotion Strategy
Ethical SEO is a way to save costs; however, it may not be the expense you will immediately think of. Ethical practices ensure that you do not get penalties from Google, draining money from unethical practices. While offering high-quality, user-intended content may not generate high rankings immediately, owners can slowly build organic traffic using this content.
Website ROI Skyrockets via Organic Traffic
The build-up for ethical SEO is not immediate. It takes time and relevant content to rank high. However, the more people view your content, the more likely it narrows down the specific audience of that content.
For example, you are launching a site about ethical SEO marketing. As more people search and read your content, more website owners looking for ethical ways to rank will find your site. Ethical SEO becomes a good business opportunity.
The more ethical and legal practices are, the more likely that owners will not feel like they have to hide anything. The changes and modifications in ethical strategies are clear for everyone to see. The absence of tricks and deceits to search engines ensures that what audiences see on the websites is the content that the website showcases to any online user.
The internet is where word gets around fast, and value can drop quickly with brand tarnish. Any online presence precedes the responsibility of online reputation. If you wish your website to be known as a brand that practices good SEO, you must invest in white hat practices first. Applying the correct methods elevates the website’s recognition to an existing audience and potential visitors.
Mobile and Desktop Browser Compatibility
Users have many options to browse websites and view web pages. Ethical SEO practices help enhance compatibility between smart devices and many browsers. Users who use mobile devices generate about 59% of organic traffic. Tailoring web pages into more ethical online resources also means improving the visibility of websites in search engines.
The reasons to use ethical SEO tactics are beneficial to many website owners. People still launching their sites benefit from investing in these acceptable search engine practices.
What can owners of existing and new websites do to make them less likely to get penalties from Google? Here are some of the things you can do:
- Practice internal linking across all pages in the website to boost SEO, improve search engine indexing and link juice distribution in the web pages
- Perform research and use relevant keywords for the title, headings, and body of any content, i.e., avoid keyword stuffing
- Use both long tail and short tail keywords in the text
- Update web page content regularly to reflect current information to improve the relevancy
- Apply backlinks only from high-ranking websites and online resources
- Add a sitemap to the website to increase the visibility of websites across any search engine
- Ensure that the title tags are only up to 60 characters long and unique
- NEVER duplicate content on the website to avoid plagiarism and getting penalties from the search engine
- Double check all links to avoid broken links sitting on any webpage content
- Remember that the content is for the audience or the visitor of the site; as you create content and apply SEO methods, always think as if you are the audience going through the website
Ethical SEO is not an option for website owners looking to rank high among millions of websites in search engines. Applying proper and acceptable practices is mandatory to ensure a valuable website. Always remember that for users surfing the web, an ethical site is secure and provides more value and assurance of a safer web experience.