Is SEO Copywriting An Invasion of Privacy?

From computer programs that gather data about you as you browse to apps that have the ability to read your phone’s information, technology has become synonymous with privacy invasion. With the explosion of SEO copywriting in the past few years, have we reached a new low in online privacy or have we finally discovered an affordable marketing tool?

Search engine optimization copywriting, or SEO copywriting, is an unknown term to many. However, it is proving to be an exciting new realm of advertising and information distribution. The basic parameters of what optimizing copywriters do are to understand search engine behavior, and skillfully present persuasive information and visual stimuli for websites that then show up most prominently in searches. This is done by inserting keywords into articles, blogs and web content. Keywords are the phrases that individuals type into search engines when looking for information, products and services.

Since SEO copywriting firms must gather information about the way users are searching the internet, they must track searching behavior. While this is not a direct invasion of privacy such as looking into someone’s personal email account, the fact that these firms have and employ the ability to monitor online behavior is a point of concern for some.

The fact is, however, that researching and targeting human behavior to turn individuals into consumers is as old of a practice as consumerism itself. Before targeting online privacy ‘invasion’, consider that every poster, billboard or television commercial has been designed for the sole purpose of stimulating a purchasing response in individuals. Advertising companies have long had psychologists and sociologists on staff to better streamline advertising in order to speak to recognized patterns of human behavior and thought. To many, this could be seen as manipulative, but every person who operates in any given capitalist society is complicit in these practices. Every dollar spent is a vote for the system that is now in place, and the practices that advertisers use. SEO copywriting is simply analyzing the new online realm of human behavior and streamlining articles and websites so they not only appeal to populations, but increase search exposure.

Every industry capitalizes on known patterns of human behavior to some extent, and this should not be seen as a negative or deceitful practice.

For example:

  • banks count on ones need for financial security to maintain profit margins
  • restaurants and bars track purchases and use this to determine ordering
  • computer and game developers conduct surveys to determine gaming behavior
  • and politicians regularly poll popular opinion in order to present the most flattering public face either during campaigns or while in office.

Understanding what consumer wants means giving them what they need and that regard, SEO copywriting is no different. In fact, the consumer would be very frustrated if their online searches were fruitless due to laws that prohibited optimizers from customizing their search engine results.

To put it in perspective, consider the fact that Google has rendered encyclopedias nearly obsolete. Those in their mid thirties and beyond remember taking the volumes down from the shelf, flipping through the pages until they found the information they wanted to know, or having to make a special trek to the library if the information they sought was too new to be included in their edition. Now, can you imagine a world where you couldn’t simply find out anything you wanted to know with just a few keystrokes? Having information gathered about the way people search online is a small price to pay for the wealth of information we are now privy to. Rather than being an invasion of privacy, SEO copywriting is simply the next step in the globalizing trajectory of information availability. Individuals should always be cautious of what online footprint they leave, just as in any other social setting. However, all who utilize online resources have implicitly signed the social contract that makes ones online presence a publicly available entity.

Be critical, be aware, and be cautious, but most importantly, be grateful. Take advantage of all the targeted and personalized information that is available to you with the simple click of a mouse, which generations before have not had the pleasure of experiencing.

This guest post was written by Nerissa, founder of I’m Write. I’m Write provides SEO copywriting, web content writing, and technical writing services.

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