Is SEO Search Engine Manipulation?

Google is currently involved in an ongoing legal case with a company that is seeking damages after Google banned many of their websites for “search engine manipulation.” This has many business owners worried that they may accidentally be manipulating search engines by performing SEO, but is this a concern?

Google doesn’t so much “ban” websites as it does de-index them. When you do a Google search, you see what they have gathered by crawling the internet and then organizing in a searchable index. When you perform a query, it pulls what it believes is the most relevant entries and this is the selection of websites you see. If a site has been de-indexed, then no one performing a Google search will see an entry for that website. Someone can still put a URL into the address bar in their browser and visit the website, but they otherwise will not see the site in Google.

As you can imagine, getting de-indexed from a search engine will tank organic search traffic no matter who you are. Why are we not worried about being accused of search engine manipulation? There are several reasons this isn’t a concern.

Google has confirmed that legitimate optimization of a website is still encouraged.

When your web professionals do things like create an appropriate sitemap, make your site with a responsive design, add metadata to describe the pages, and format content to make it more readable, this improves the experience for search engines and for your visitors. The ultimate goal of SEO is to rank higher in search engines to get more traffic, but the reason that SEO exists is because search engines want you to work with them to provide users with the best web experience possible.

We only do honest SEO.

This would worry us if we were in the business of buying spammy backlinks, keyword stuffing, and other nefarious internet deeds, but we don’t do that. Our SEO practices make your website better for visitors who want to know more about you and what you do, as well as search engines who want to see that you’re doing everything possible to create a helpful digital experience for everyone. That’s it.

It’s still all about content.

We create engaging, varied content for websites. You take an active role in creating personalized content and adding accurate business information, topical blogs, and relevant details on your services. Together, these pieces should engage your audience and address their needs. Sure, we can help elevate these forms of communication for your digital presence, but what’s more important than putting the finishing touches on your metadata is spending time to create great content that people will read, like, and share.

Content is still king when it comes to SEO—now more than ever—so we are confident that our professional content along with your personalized and regularly-updated content will provide the best foundation for SEO. Content is aided by optimization, but there’s nothing to optimize if you don’t have content.

If you have any questions about search engine optimization or what we do for your digital reputation, let us know. We’ll be happy to show you and talk about ways to improve your web presence with fresh content.