|Guilty about SEO|
what worries me
Sometimes I worry about pages I have SEO'd. Maybe some kid will be doing a term paper or other school project, research on the internet, and find one of my pages in a SERP (that's what I wanted to happen). He will come across some fact that I have embelished, engineered, or ok manipulted to suit my own needs. Ok the didn't outright lie, and there is still a tiny grain of truth there...you get the picture.
He ads this fact to his notes and it winds up in his paper. The teacher who hopefully knows the subject matter sees this, and gives the kid a lower grade becuase of it.
Ok I know you're not supposed to believe everything you read, but let's say the guy who I just beat out in the SERP's sees my page, reads it, and changes his page to include my modified fact. Then somebody else does the same thing. The more this fact gets repeated the more likely it is to be believed.
Now this whole viral misinformation campaign is started and working it's way through society, just because I wanted to sell some widgets for the upcoming Widget Holiday season.
If I were you, I'd make sure I didn't mistake the crime of fraud for the art of puffery.
Birtstone Jewelry, most of the stones were chosen for purported mystical properties and have been carried across hundreds if not thoudands of years. In modern society these aren't always commercially viable or desirable to sell, so jewlers invent new birthstones to suit thier purposes, history be damned.
This isn't something new that's happened with the web and SEO.
For example, Scottish clan tartans were invented for commercial purposes around 1820.
A teacher will more than likely inform the student that research should not take place only on the web, he or she will have to consult proper books as main sources for research.
I know that many students are too lazy to go to the library and online use online sources only. I have recently read an assignments that used online resources only, and I'm sorry to say that it just wasn't good enough, the student only scratched the surface of the subject matter.
I'm sure that teachers see that connection between poor quality assignments and online research.
Although it may seem so, I am not against online research, I do it myself and consider it an invaluable source. You just have to understand the limits of the information available online. Online reserach is like an introduction to the subject matter, a starting point. Non-fiction books are usually edited, peer reviewed and a publisher has decided to take it on. Online information does not require any of these.
There are online encyclopedias, medical journals, major newspapers, etc. too - real research can be done online, you just have to not expect every site out there to be the be all and end all of accurate information. It'll teach people to have common sense and use more than one source. It's good for them.
I've seen more and more assignments to students that require both online sources and traditional books/journals. Teachers want students to be able to do both types of research, and have incorportated such requirements into term papers.
This topic does worry me, as I've seen several affiliate sites that have a lot of content that's not accurate, yet is presented in an authorative manner - and I wonder how many HS/junior high studnents who are doing this reserach realize that many of these sites don't carry accurate info as they're just about marketing.