A Blog about my journey as as web developer

Ethical vs Unethical SEO and SEM Practices

As I continue my journy into the world of Web Development I am not only learning how to build better fast webistes in different languages, but I am also learning that there are things I could be doing that are concidered bad practice.

When it comes to SEO practices (that is Search Engine Optimization) there are some clear do’s and dont’s and some that aren’t quite as clear.  In the unethical column we have things like duplicating content.  Now that one seems like it should go in the duh column, but the more I think of it, even my blog could end up falling into this trap.  Having 2 posts that say the same thing is not smart in general but it unethically will boost your SEO as it is reading key words more often.  Opps. Misleading headlines is another one that is unethical.  Again kinda seems to fall into the duh column to me but it’s actually all in how you word things.  When I am teaching my web development classes and make a mistake in my code I often berate myself.  I will say something like ‘I am so stupid I knew that wasn’t right’ or something like that.  Most of us wouldn’t see the harm in this type of statement.  However QA dings me on it all the time.  See some of our QA folks are from another country, a whole different culture where to them a statement like that is NOT common.  So in learning about the good and bad practices I have had to really stop and think about how I might word things.  Granted I won’t put on my business site that I create the bests sites ever, but could the heading I have be taken a different way?  Some things I can easily do that are perfectly ethical is have a good honest description in the meta content of my site.  Make sure my images are for one mine and two are optimized.  I should also have title tags in my pages (which I typically do), but to make those tags relevant to the not just the page but how they might get to the page.

When it comes to SEM practices (Search Engine Marketing) what is Ethical and Unethical is nearly the same. Some are clear some not so much.  Purchasing ads isn’t bad or unethical however going about it through third party sites is getting to the unethical area.  Advertizing that your product can do xyz when in reality maybe only x that is unethical as well.  Saying that the product has plans to do xyz but can only do x that is perfectly ethical.

In reading about these practices I wanted to find examples of a company that was unethical.  I am sure that I could find current evidence of unethical practices out there if I wanted to but one of the 1st ones that popped out at me was Splenda.  Did you know that at one point they said that it tastes like sugar because it is made from sugar?  It’s not.  I know this because I am allergic to splenda and many other artificial sugars.  Sure that was a few years ago that this happened but I actually remember this.  I was at a restaruant and asked for sugar and a waitress said there is some Splenda right there, thats sugar.  She looked at me like I was stupid for asking for something she clearly thought was on the table.  I had to inform her that no it actually isn’t. It is an artificial sweatner and if I were to use it I would have a reaction.  Thankfully this happened right around 2007 when it all came out that they were false advertizing so I was able to pull up some information for her, but had I not been a geek and informed  it could have ended very differently

Granted this case is kinda more on the extreme side as it had potential life or death results but that doesn’t mean that I can claim to be the best Web Developer in my town.  Sure it’s a small town and I might actually be the best in my small town, but am I?  And how do you determine my town.  With in city limits?  If you are just on the other side of the town border can you say that my claim is now false as you are better than I am?  Ok so this is a bit of a gray area how about if I promised to bring in 10% more business in a month if I build or rebuild your webiste?  Sounds good doens’t it?  But when a pandemic hits and no one is buying anything and your business decreases by 10% after the redo, now I have made false claims.  Being ethical also means being realistic.  I can instead say that with the redo of your website I am hoping to increase your business by 10% or maybe not even give it a number and just say that with the site redo we will be targeting new customers to help increase sales.

From the begining of this site I have promised to write about my continuing journey.  As my journey continues, I am learning that being a Web Developer is far more than knowing how to build a website that looks good and runs well.  There is a lot more to consider when I put words to the pages, but it is good to know that as far as I can tell so far I have not fallen into the unethical practices

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