7 Rules of Ethical SEO You Ignore Probably as a White Hat

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Zero Harm by obLiterated.

Ethics often consists of unwritten rules. Those rules while not official state laws or beyond them allow us to live together in peace and prosperity. While laws and religions prevent us from inflicting the most obvious harms on others the deeper underlying ethics of civilization make us what we are, humans.

I often have been dissatisfied with the term ethical SEO for being a bad synonym for white hat SEO that only means “not cheating the search engines” website optimization.

Ethical SEO must be more than following search engine guidelines if we want to take ethics seriously.

In recent weeks and months I have been approached by numerous potential clients I was not quite happy to work with. Thy were not the usual online poker or escorts type of businesses that approach me quite frequently. The cases were a little more complicated.

I can’t retell the stories of all of them but I derived some of the 7 rules of ethical SEO you ignore probably as a white hat from them. Other list items consist of tactics that are perfectly OK with Google but are non-ethical nonetheless.

  1. Don’t work for people who harm others like weapons manufacturers and those who work together with them
  2. Don’t work for people who compete with your existing or former clients (or at least not shortly after)
  3. Don’t keep on selling services that do not work anymore or are insufficient by now e.g. search engine submission, meta tag optimization, link exchange, rankings (instead of ROI)
  4. Don’t offer social media mass submission (as people in social media frown upon it)
  5. Don’t offer blog commenting as a link building measure
  6. Don’t work for companies that exploit their workers or treat them them in a demeaning way
  7. Don’t work for industries you do not believe in or are in your opinion bad for all people

So now the rules are not unwritten nymore. Abiding by them is very difficult and like with religion, everybody sins from time to time but you can at least try to abide by those 7 rules of ethical SEO.

Why should you?

I believe that supporting harmful businesses will sooner or later harm you or people close to you. Work for tobacco companies today and watch a family member die of cancer tomorrow.

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