The SEO Code of Ethics is considered the best practice guidelines for the SEO industry. While these guidelines do not form part of legislation they are considered best practice standards that SEO Professionals have voluntarily agreed to and that the Association for SEO Professionals in South Africa expect the SEO industry to respect and adhere to in order to receive endorsement from the Association. These guidelines have been established in accordance with the best practice a guideline published by the search engines themselves, where the intent has been interpreted by SEO Professionals as part of the SEO Code of Ethics. The Directory of SEO Professionals feature only those individuals and companies who comply with these best practice guidelines. Any listed companies who are found to be practicing outside of these guidelines may be reported to the SEO Association South Africa for investigation.
While every effort is made to provide a comprehensive list of expectations and guidelines for the SEO Industry, SEO Professionals and Companies are invited to contribute to these standards of best practice guidelines by contributing suggestions to the Association for consideration.
As an SEO Professional, I agree to:
- Never guarantee my client first page rankings as I understand that the Search Engine’s algorithms fluctuate continuously and I am unable to control these algorithms, nor do I have control over what my competitors will be doing in the market to compete and/or outrank my client’s website.
- Never set unreasonable expectations or make unreasonable promises to clients including the implication that certain results can be obtained in a guaranteed and/or unreasonable amount of time given the current known position of the client’s website or competitor’s websites on search engines.
- Always apply ethical (white-hat) tactics to attempt to get my client’s website to outrank major competitors in search engines results pages as quickly as possible for targeted search terms.
- Never apply any unethical (black-hat) tactics as identified (but not limited to) by the SEO Association to attempt to get my client’s website to outrank major competitors in search engines results pages as quickly as possible for targeted search terms.
- Never intentionally practice in any way that may harm my client, my client’s website or my client’s brand. This includes the use of technology, tactics or procedures that may knowingly cause my client’s website to be penalised or removed from the search engine indexes or directories.
- Never act in violation of any rules, codes of conduct and/or best practice guidelines published by search engines and directories.
- Ensure that I am always aware of the latest updates to any rules, codes of conduct and/or best practice guidelines published by search engines, directories and SEO Association, and will wherever possible, take reasonable action to apply any relevant changes to my client’s websites or SEO tactics used to enhance the ranking of my client’s web pages. Where rules are not clear, I agree to seek clarification from the respective search engines before applying any practices that may be potentially harmful to my client.
- Not intentionally violate any laws that could cause harm to myself, my company or my client. This includes any violation of copyright and trademark violations as well as any legislation that might be considered as spam.
- Never deceive, mislead or misrepresent myself or my client to any human beings or search engines that may be searching for information via the search engine or directly on the website. This includes the practice of presenting different versions web pages to different users except where that information is altered solely to meet browser specifications and needs, sensitivity to regional factors such as language, or product specific needs.
- Not misrepresent my skills, education, certification, training, affiliations and experience to anyone. This includes claiming to be certified in the practice of SEO without having completed any successfully passed an assessment by an independent body.
- Never willingly participate in any conflict of interest without prior consent of all particles potentially involved in such conflict. This includes the practice of representing a particular client’s interest over another – where such clients are competing for the same target search terms – for personal gain.
- Treat all clients equally even when I have accepted more than one client competing for the same target search terms.
- Provide my clients with adequate dispute resolution procedures.
- Protect my client’s confidentiality at all times in regards any information that I become privileged to, and agree not to publish any testimonials, case studies or media announcements without the prior consent of the client.