SEO as a Matter of Life and Death

This past week I gave a free search engine optimization (SEO) consultation to a non-profit that is working to address teen struggles with suicide, addiction, and self-mutiliation. It’s a dark topic but one that I know can be remedied with counseling, prayer, determination, and the right people to tend a listening ear. That is, I know it can be remedied if teens can actually find help quickly.

Normally I work on optimizing e-commerce sites in order to increase search engine rankings, visibility, and ultimately, sales. As noble as this is, my freelance work for RemedyLIVE will be much more important.

Because now it’s about real problems.

I had a panic moment while working on this project because I realized my work was a matter of life and death. To these teens struggling with suicide, typing a keyword or phrase into Google, Yahoo!, or Bing is a cry for help. Instead of “washers” and “dryers,” my task was to optimize for “cutting, help me, I’m struggling.”

More than ever before, it’ll be so important that the best sites rise to the top. These teens need to find relevant answers to their questions. Fast.

To those involved in the search engine business, be it an optimizer, marketer, developer, or admirer, think for a minute about our work. This is a new industry with many extremely talented people, great tools, and access to reams of data. Much like the design industry did, I propose a similar awakening.

No pressure, but what if we decided—as a community—to donate some services to non-profit companies that really need help. Are there examples of folks already doing this?

And to everyone else, let me know if there’s an especially good cause that is in dire need of some help.

Because what we need now is to realize our gifts and find ways to use them for good.

You can follow me on Twitter here: @RyanRicketts.