Ethical SEO: Keeping Humans in Mind
Even though getting philosophical on a workday is probably the last thing you want to do, ethics are an essential part of marketing and SEO. Search engine optimization is the concentrated act of influencing what people see on the internet. What they find, what they read and what they do with that information affects people’s everyday lives worldwide. Digital marketers need to ask more of themselves than simply, “How can we get their clicks?”
Why Care About Ethical Search Engine Optimization
On the other side of every search engine query is a person. Google’s helpful content update is the perfect base for thinking about a user-centered experience. After all, if it’s useful for your users, it’s better for the algorithm too. Users are likely to favorably remember content that helped them and avoid content from sites that have tricked them or offered up non-relevant results.
But beyond serving your business interests, caring about other people is just part of living in a society. Your featured snippet information should be accurate because people base their opinions on it. Using black hat tactics to serve users unrelated blogs wastes everyone’s time. When you make vital information hard to access, even though it performs well on the SERP, you put users at a disadvantage.
As cheesy as it sounds, you should care about using ethical SEO tactics because it’s just the right thing to do.
Putting Ethical SEO Techniques to Work for You
Ethical SEO uses tools and tactics from all areas of digital marketing. When you double-check veracity, write to avoid bias or use accessible web design, you’re working on your SEO ethics. Above all, ethical SEO is rooted in designing and writing with the people that will interact with your content and website in mind. But that doesn’t mean these well-meaning tactics can’t benefit you too.
Working Within Google’s Helpful Content Update
Google’s algorithm updates all the time, but in August 2022, it pushed forward something called the “helpful content update.” This update demonstrates that they prioritize content that answers users’ questions instead of simply containing keywords. The algorithm (overall) promotes content that:
- Fully answers searcher queries
- Provides correct information
- Matches the primary purpose or focus of a search
- Shows evidence of expertise, authority and trustworthiness
Google examines other data to decide who gets the top spot on the SERP but providing the content searchers are looking for is a significant factor. No team to dedicate to learning SEO? Our content team of writers experienced with blog content, web pages, whitepapers and more can help.
What to Know About “Your Money or Your Life” Pages
People search for everything on Google, and that includes emergency searches or high-value queries that can have serious consequences on health, finances or personal safety. This type of content is categorized as Your Money or Your Life and includes a wide variety of topics, including:
- Pages that field financial transactions, including ecommerce pages
- Pages that include information on financial services, investing, taxes, insurance and more
- Pages that offer medical information or recommendations
- Pages that include legal standards, laws or citizenship information
- News articles covering updates to local, state or federal laws, public health information or emergency services
When it comes to “your money or your life,” SEO is held to a much higher standard. Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) means you provide information that could potentially impact “the future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety of users.” The importance of this information means Google will likely hold your page to a higher standard. Organizations with YMYL pages have an opportunity to rank ahead of competitors by focusing on quality over quantity. Creating trustworthy content that Google – and users – can trust is more important than churning out dozens of blogs with dubious claims.
Use Your SEO Code of Ethics to Boost Your EAT Score
White-hat SEO tactics are more than just responsible. They’re rewarded by search engines too! Using white-hat tactics to build links or include keywords can boost your domain authority with Google’s Search Quality Raters. Work towards ensuring that your content only shows up for relevant searches and reap the EAT rewards.
Make Accessibility Your Focus
Following WCAG guidelines may be a legal requirement for most businesses, but it’s so much more than that. Taking the time to make your site accessible can improve the user experience for all users. It also ensures you don’t prevent a whole group of users from accessing your site. A quick accessibility audit can help make your site a more open place that welcomes a wider variety of people.
What is Ethical SEO at Oneupweb?
As an agency, we strive to put users first and meet or exceed accessibility and quality. We know that when we deliver a fair, equitable and quality piece of content, we provide exceptional value to our clients and their customers. Offering ethical SEO consulting and services requires our team to constantly look itself in the mirror and ask tough questions about what we make and who we serve. Those are questions we’ll never stop asking.
Related Content: The Oneupweb Guide to SEO and Gender-inclusive Marketing
Take Steps in the Right Direction with Ethical SEO Services
Ethics can be a heavy topic to consider on top of all your other responsibilities. Share the load with experienced SEOs, web developers and content writers who work to employ ethical SEO techniques in all our work. Contact us online or call us at (231) 922-9977 to see how we can help.