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SEO Standards Debate

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For some business owners, search engine optimization is a somewhat clandestine aspect of their business plan. They don't understand it, and they really don't have time learn about it. While they may acknowledge they need it for their websites, they may not know exactly what that even means (much less who can accomplish it).

For others, SEO is an opportunity to parlay black hat or gray hat techniques into outmaneuvering the competition. Search engines (like Google, for example) reveal only so much about how their results are compiled, and they really don't seem to mind if a little bit of misinformation circulates about the industry regarding how their algorithms work. Add to that a willingness by some SEO firms to operate in the margin between ethical and unethical practices, and you have the recipe for a soup that can be difficult to digest.

A recent poll from Search Engine Roundtable suggests that a majority of those in the SEO business would favor some form of SEO standards. An article accompanying the poll also points out that the Webmaster Guidelines page may be the closest Google has come to setting forth SEO standards. Perhaps it even suffices.

And perhaps that is as involved as Google needs to be. For a company that has become involved in nearly everything internet-related, Google's best move simply may be to focus its efforts on thwarting SEO trickery in the background and not involve itself in the debate on what ultimately should be permissible. After all, whether the lead is taken publicly or privately, whatever Google policy and technology dictates, everyone else soon will follow.