Finding an Ethical SEO

by Jonathan Hochman

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is implied agreement where you let the search engines use your content to populate their search results pages in exchange for free exposure for your site. The greater the value of your content, the more free exposure you get. Search engines use content from participating web sites to assemble Search Engine Results Pages (SERP’s) where they sell ad placements. Users often choose their favorite search engine based on the quality of search results provided.

SEO is an effort to make your content more valuable, and to make sure the search engine’s SE’s automated programs can find, index and understand your content. The result is often more free exposure. If you cross the line and try to deceive the SE’s into thinking that your content is more valuable that it really is, that’s no longer SEO, it’s search spam.

What is Search Spam?

If your site uses irrelevant keyword, cloaking, linkspam, doorway pages, hidden text or other “lies” that harm the search engines’ results, you will eventually pay a heavy price in lost rankings and poor user experience. Many web site operators and webmasters have been conned by slick-talking consultants who promise “magical” improvements in search results. Their tactics often amount to search spam, and usually the search engines discover them and then ban the participating web sites. If you hire a shady consultant, in addition to losing your money, you may also lose your search engine listings.

To avoid becoming a victim, we recommend checking your SEO consultant’s credentials. Look for a consultant with formal education, and significant experience, who is respected by their peers in the industry. Avoid anyone who cold calls or sends SPAM emails. Qualified consultants have no problem finding clients. The unqualified often resort to indiscriminate marketing practices and high pressure sales tactics.

About the Author

After graduating from Yale with two degrees in Computer Science, Jonathan Hochman set up his own consulting company in 1990. He has been an Internet marketer since 1994. To send feedback, please visit

Creative Commons License You may distribute this article in its entirety under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Please attribute the author by name and link (URL).

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One thought on “Finding an Ethical SEO

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