Posted to Ben Finklea's blog on April 24th, 2009

SEO Joins The Fight Against Islamic Extremists

According to an article from The Register earlier this month, Whitehall officials will train pro-West Islamic groups on SEO in an attempt to master Google and dilute the extremist view online.

The Office of Security and Counter-Terrorism (OSCT), a Home Office unit, has stated the objective of the program is to flood the internet with positive interpretations of Islam. The unit plans to train government-approved groups in search engine optimization skills and techniques in hopes that it will battle Islamic radical extremism online. It is currently understood that the programs is still in its early stages of conception.

It was confirmed by a Whitehall official that the SEO training is part of the government’s anti-radicalism strategy. They want to build online support for the mainstream voices by developing their communication, representational and leadership skills for the digital world. This could also include a variety of media training.

There are some skeptics that say manipulating Google results to drown out the extremist terms will be largely ineffectual, due in part that it is unlikely that terrorists use mainstream search engines to find extremist material. The effectiveness of SEO in reducing traffic to extremist sites has been rejected by academics as well. A report published by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) stated that Muslims were more likely to find the extremist material through forums and offline referrals, rather than ‘googling’ it.

This has not discouraged the OSCT. They still plan on helping Islamic groups boost their SEO and master the minds of Google’s spiders as a part of their direct challenge in fighting Islamic extremists online. The Home and Foreign Offices have also established a Research, Information and Communications Unit, that produces and distributes anti-extremist propaganda.

Search engine optimization techniques are called on by online businesses and corporations to make their sites more Google-friendly. It seems now SEO has been called on to serve its country as well as the greater good. The battle against extremism isn’t a new concept in the SEO industry, as search engines battle constantly against the ‘black hat’ methods of evil webmasters trying to manipulate their way to success. Volacci is a Google-approved White Hat SEO company that only guarantees that you will make more money than our service costs by the end of our contract, or we will work free until you do.

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