What do Cowboys and SEO have in common?


 In the old western movies, the good guys wore the white hats – the bad guys had the black hats.   That same terminology has been adopted in the world of Search Engine Optimization(SEO) to denote sites that use integrity in the SEO strategy and those that don’t.  White hat designers follow search engine guidelines to optimize their site.  Black hats use backdoors, cloaking and link farming.   We’ve all experience the black hat strategy of link farming.   You are shopping for a specific item and you Google that item.  Up pops a well known retailer’s name in the search results, so you click on the link only to find out it was a page with lists links of unrelated websites.    JC Penney recently made the news for black hat SEO strategy, “J.C. Penney Black Hat SEO Backfires”.  Executives claimed they had no knowledge that the marketing company they hired was doing black hat strategy.  So what can we do if we want to preserve our reputations for integrity in the marketplace when working with outside vendors?   Here are five simple steps to take to make sure you maintain your reputation for integrity.   

(1)Have clearly defined core values or operating principles that form the foundation of all your decisions.  Make sure every employee knows these values and is held accountable for their delivery.

(2) If you are hiring services in a field you are unfamiliar with, do some research and play “what if?”  What’s being done in that industry that doesn’t meet standards of integrity?  What possible consequences are there for your company if integrity is compromised?  “What if” this hit the front page of the Nashville Business Journal?  

(3)  Check references on any service providers you are considering hiring.  Do the companies have a reputation for integrity?  Ask questions around your core values to determine who is best suited for the work you are contracting.

(4) Clearly communicate your core values to your selected service providers or vendors.  Make it clear upfront in writing what your expectations are around your core values and how they should drive decisions as the vendor does work for you.

(5) Reward and celebrate vendors who uphold integrity in their services.  Write them a recommendation on LinkedIn, a letter of recommendation, or tweet about them.  Recommend them to others.  Do all you can to help the good guys win.*

* Nancy’s Integrity First Column – Nashville Business Journal – 9/9/11

Eye for an Eye – Revenge

Can you remember a time you wanted revenge?

We all can and ABC is now capitalizing on that idea in a new series called Revenge.   It’s built around a new woman living in the wealthy Hamptons.  What her neighbors don’t know is that she’s back for revenge – having lived in the neighborhood growing up.   Revenge is  anger, drenched in bitterness, resentment, and hostility.    Science has shown that people seeking vengeance bring bitterness and anger into every relationship and interaction.  Revenge can also lead to depression, anxiety, and increase alcohol and substance abuse. Mayo Clinic research.    So in steps ABC to celebrate something our culture and we as people need to experience less.

I have a suggestion for  the producers.  Instead of seeing episodes where people’s lives are ruined by anger, bitterness, and revenge,  I’d like to see a show where the people who may appear to deserve revenge, actually experience forgiveness.   The stunned looks on their faces when they realize that someone they harmed had actually done something good for them would be powerful, and might inspire others to do the same.  The benefits of healthier relationships, less stress and hostility, lower blood pressure, less depression and lower risk of substance abuse would be celebrated.   Ghandi said, “An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.”   What the world needs now is  not more blindness. We need to forgive – it’s priceless.