With all of the spamming and scamming that happens daily on the Internet, how do you know that what you’re doing is ethical? Not only is it just plain bad to be unethical, it’s also not effective. If you engage in unethical practices, you won’t build a real fan base that sees your content brand as a source of valuable information.
There’s a fine line between optimizing your content for the search engines and trying to game Google. While SEO is an important consideration, you should always consider the quality of your content first. Don’t engage in black hat techniques and don’t stuff your content with keywords. Think of your audience first and think of the SEO as added spice to get search engine attention.
The Value Test
How do you know if your content is truly valuable to your audience? Each piece of content should undergo the value test. Look at it and ask yourself, “Does this offer value to those who see it?” Content with value informs, helps, educates, or entertains. As long as each piece provides some kind of value, you’re in the clear.
Plagiarism and Curation
A more important consideration is to make sure you haven’t lifted anything illegally. Take information from a variety of sources, but make sure you give credit where it’s due. If you offer a tip or some other general information, you don’t need to quote sources. Never copy another piece of content directly.
If you want to use another piece as-is, this is content curation. Content curation is perfectly fine as long as you give credit where it’s due and add your own two cents for your own audience.
Make sure that at any time, your audience has the chance to opt-out. For example, if you’re marketing to an email list, include the unsubscribe link in every email. Never share your audience’s personal information or other data with a third party. Always be transparent, letting your audience know what information about them you collect, use, or store.
As long as you’re honest and transparent and truly providing value for your audience, don’t worry. You’re doing things right.