Ethical Implications of SEO

SEO, or search engine optimization is the “practice of improving and promoting,” a web site to increase the amount of visitors directed to the site from search engines.

There are many elements to SEO, from the text on your page to the way other sites are linked to the page. Using SEO is simply a matter of search engines understanding the structure of the webpage.

There are however, some ethical implications that come along with using SEO. Journalists explore ways to gain more readers online, and they have to use terms that the public can find in search engines.

One of the major ethical issues that journalists deal with is inaccurate information received by the public. This means that the terms that the public may enter into the search engine are incorrect, and will hinder the individual from locating a specific story.

This may not be an issue to some, however, if journalists have to use words and phrases that are wrong in order to gain readers, then it can become a problem.

Wrong terms that are repeatedly searched increase the difficultly for journalists to correct the information. This is a significant ethical issue because journalists are meant to create trustworthy, honest articles without misleading the readers.

Although SEOs do their job in aiding journalists, SEOs encourages the search of false information. It is used in articles because journalists believe they cannot correct information while still making people see it.

SEO also encourages journalists to alter the writing of their articles in a different way. Is this ethically right, to change the way articles are written just so they can use words that will appear in a search engine? Journalists select certain words for their stories so the article is easily found on Google or Yahoo by searching for key words.

In order to achieve a number one ranking on Google, many Journalists try to optimize their sites so they will gain a higher page ranking. Search engines designate rules for SEO, an example is Webmasters cannot insert “invisible text, or create link exchanges with irrelevant sites.

It goes against the ethics of SEO to “pack one’s index keywords with words like sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll,” when the site may be about a new school textbook.


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