I have been obsessed with alignment for the past few months. I never played Dungeons & Dragons growing up (in fact the first time I saw it played was in this season’s awesome Community episode), but the concept of alignment has fascinated me since I learned about it. Which characters personify each alignment? Where do I fall? Where do my friends fit in? I have a long commute so I have a ton of time to think :-).
So in the spirit of obsession, here is my stab at an alignment chart for the SEO community. Notes, embed code, a detailed explanation of alignment, and references follow below.
- Lawful vs. Chaotic was determined by adherence to Google’s rules.
- There are really no public “evil” SEOs, so the non-Lawful Evils had to be blackhats. Sorry guys, you had to fit in somewhere.
- Matt, the similarities to Darth Vader were too strong to ignore. But I don’t really think you’re evil :-).
There are two axes; Good and Evil, and Lawful and Chaotic. Each character’s motivations fall somewhere on both axes. Good is having good intentions towards others, evil is bad intentions. Lawful reflects respect for and adherence towards authority, chaotic means actively trying to overturn systems and authority. Neutral is outside of either motivation.
So someone who has good intentions and follows the rules (Lawful Good) would be Superman. A good character who tries to upend the system (Chaotic Good) would be V from V for Vendetta.
A character with bad intentions that seeks to overturn authority (Chaotic Evil) would be the Joker from the latest Batman films. And an evil character operating within the rules (Lawful Evil) is Darth Vader.
True Neutral is self-interest as the primary motivation. House is a good example.
The other Neutrals fall in between the other motivations.
If you were wondering, I’m right between True and Chaotic Neutral :-).
List and References
- Lawful Good – Rand Fishkin – “My hat is as white as Google’s background.”
- Lawful Neutral – Jill Whalen – “It’s only search engine tricks that need to keep changing when the ranking algorithms change.”
- Lawful Evil – Matt Cutts – “What is thy bidding, master?”
- Neutral Good – Bruce Clay – “No SEO practitioner will intentionally do harm to a client.”
- True Neutral – Rae Hoffman – “My primary focus is on my own companies.”
- Neutral Evil – Martin MacDonald (quoted here)- “Any SEO that does not test the boundaries is not an SEO.”
- Chaotic Good – Rick Skrenta (quoted here) – “We’re applying the Wikipedia model. Users can make their own additions and put on sets of sites to a slashtag.”
- Chaotic Neutral – Aaron Wall – “You see, tricking people is bad. Unless you are Google. In which case you have to hit the quarterly numbers.”
- Chaotic Evil – Kris Roadruck – “Your strategy is based around wishful thinking and hoping that someday Google will do your job for you so you don’t have to.”