I recently had the honour of speaking at the University of Salford about ethical SEO.
Essentially the big question was; what is ethical SEO?
In my view the short answer is ‘what ever you have agreed upon with your client or relevant stakeholders’.
What’s not ethical is selling ‘snake oil SEO’. For instance I can get you a list of 300 sites where you can get placements for not that much money, but I know they’re probably not going to work, yet how would a client ever work out whether a domain actually has a benefit to rankings.
Then you have the question of black hat SEO ethics. Firstly to say someone is black hat, or white had is a gross over simplification of the many shades of grey between the two. Google have built up this construct in order to create a ‘your with us or you’re against us’ stance.
The facts are that if you do anything to promote your website in order to gain rankings, you are by definition black hat according to Google. So the last time you did some content marketing, did you feel you were doing black hat SEO?
There are some really interesting aspects to this debate, so you may want to have a look at the PowerPoint or the YouTube video recorded of me speaking, both below.