Ethical Implications of SEO

April 29, 2012

A recent topic of debate among journalists is, is SEO more important than the AP Style?

For myself, it’s hard to conjure Search Engine Optimization or SEO is more important than the AP Style. Especially having grown up in an environment where English teachers adamantly emphasized the importance of the AP style. Therefore my knowledge of SEO has always been diminutive until recently.

In conjunction to my recent blog post, Modern Problematics of the Journalism World, SEO does entail many benefits for modern journalists however there are negatives factors.

Because of the dissolution of news on print and the new desire for news on the web subsequently anyone can be a publisher. Fortunately this is why SEO is influential. SEO is a great tool to master that indubitably enhance journalists. SEO is a format that essentially caters for search engine users. Therefore if a journalist implements SEO skills into their articles thus attracts search engine users to easily find their article(s) online and essentially outwit their online competitors.

SEO educates journalists to be clear and concise, however SEO disregards ethical implications of sloppy SEO. SEO can be a tricky concept to grasp, and many journalists have become careless because of sloppy SEO. The ethical implication of SEO has signified a increase amount of  distorted facts, and fact-checking rumors in journalists’ writing.

Many journalists are opposed to SEO and think it isn’t fair to have to cater their articles for search engine user to find it easier. However it seems feasible for journalists to follow the SEO structure if they want to be a successful and renowned writer.

In an article How to: get to grips with SEO as a journalist, Coles stated ” as a journalist, SEO doesn’t have to mean you compromise what you do. It is just a way to make sure that your content has the best chance of being found by new readers.”

Which verifies that SEO is not a valid excuse to neglect ethical implications or compromise yourself as journalist.

In SEO Makes It Too Late for Truth for ‘Ground Zero Mosque,the article discusses an obstacle journalists face with their headlines today. From beginning of time, journalists are taught that accuracy and liability is vital. More than ever journalists are torn, being accurate and following the AP style or referring to SEO and possibly neglecting the ethical implications. Journalists are struggling to find a happy medium of using SEO and being accurate in their headlines. Unforunately it seems that using SEO and accuracy  sometimes can’t intermix in their writing and headlines.

Many journalists believe that following SEO format is more important than being accurate. Quoted from  SEO Makes It Too Late for Truth for ‘Ground Zero Mosque, Danny Sullivan, editor-in-chief of Search Engine Land, explained in an email:

““It may be inaccurate, but if that’s what the public is searching for, then using it speaks to what they seek. Once they arrive they can be further educated.”

In conclusion some journalists may always be skeptical of SEO because of the possible ethical implications. Some journalists are confused as to which one is more important and others believe SEO is the only option. In the article Student journalists need to learn SEO more than they need AP StyleMindy McAdams believes using both styles are equally important.

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One Response to “Ethical Implications of SEO”

  1. stevejfox Says:

    Nice post!


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