The Hidden Dangers of Search Engine Optimization

by Christy Landriault (1-31-14)

…So long as I maintain this Oath faithfully and without corruption, may it be granted to me to partake of life fully and the practice of my art…

“…So long as I maintain this Oath faithfully and without corruption, may it be granted to me to partake of life fully and the practice of my art, gaining the respect of all men for all time. However, should I transgress this Oath and violate it, may the opposite be my fate.”


This is part of the Hippocratic Oath that medical doctors take when they finish a Medical Degree. However, I propose that it should pertain to all professionals; especially those that directly affect people’s lives and financial future. This would include the art of web design and development and in particular, including the practice of SEO or Search Engine Optimization. Professionally applied SEO will make your site appear closer to the first results in search engines for key phrases, netting you more visits and more customers. 

This is the goal of hiring any company that offers SEO services. Unfortunately, there is a dark secret of SEO than many don’t tell you. Some companies will do whatever it takes to get your contract. These companies will give low bids, undercutting their competition, but won’t adequately do the job leaving essential elements of the redesign out. Imagine for a minute you were having surgery; you would probably pay a bit more for a professional and expert surgeon because a “botched surgery” would do you much more harm than no surgery at all. The same can be said of the companies offering these type of “hack and slash” SEO jobs.

Many SEO “Experts” are Stuck in the Past: When the internet was young search engines were naive and could not tell the difference between a keyword stuffed spam website and a well optimized well-written website. If both sites had the required keywords that was enough. In our modern environment, these type of smoke and mirror tactics are not only ineffective but harmful. Even techniques that worked two years ago are utterly useless today. If a search engine like Google sees a site overly stuffed with keywords and lacking quality content they will categorize this website as spam, and unimportant. Now you have missed the goal of improving your search results and have inadvertently harmed them.


What’s worse is they often add to the injury by forgetting to add analytics to the site so that you can see if you are really getting anything for your money. Without proper statistics, the damage of a poor SEO job can go unnoticed and festering for months or years. Each new search engine algorithm brings us smarter search engines, and as a result, we must take caution with any web optimization campaign or website redesign to first ‘do no harm.’ Analytics should be used both before and after any changes to your website.




Also, preparation of the analytical information can give us insights to what traffic we are getting, where it is coming from and where it is going. If you gain some visitors but they are not your customers or influencers, and in exchange, you lose vital members of your target market, then you have not made any gains. A professional web developer will take all of this information into account when proposing an optimization or redesign package. Once our research is in place, we can make strategic changes, and with the analytics, we have installed we can see how these changes are affecting our web traffic over time. This information not only shows the progress of your search optimization efforts but will give key insights as to future improvements that can be made as a part of an evolving process to bring your website more visitors and convert those visitors into happy customers. So please, when choosing an SEO company make sure they use a properly researched and organized SEO strategy that first “does no harm” instead of throwing away good money on Hack and Slash SEO jobs.

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