Is SEO Unethical?


So like seriously... How ethical is SEO? I mean you always hear the search engine engineers say you are supposed to make sites for people and not for search engines but then they always want to talk this SEO.

So ok if its ethical for me to optimize for the search engine to alter my rankings enough that Google/Yahoo/MSN like it but if I optimize it too much then its considered spam.

Are blackhats the truly good SEO ? I mean if SEO is really optimizing your site for search engines...

I wonder if when the first website started using mod_rewrite to make all there dynamic URLs appear to be static thought they would be banned for gaming the search engines... its funny how one day a technique is considered to be unethical then another day its considered best practice.

So someday will hidden text and cloaking content be the best practice?


Not another millinery thread.....


I will say nothing

I will say nothing
I will say nothing
I will say nothing


I know nothing



that's it...

I'm off this fucking feed

I think I have multiple Deja

I think I have multiple Deja Vu......

Oh Dear ...

... I can hear the steam coming from Nick's ears from all the way over here.

'I'm off this fucking feed' seems a tad over the top, but, man this is ooooold. Take it outside.

Yep, it's unethical but I

Yep, it's unethical but I used to strangle springer spaniels for a living so this is a step up for me. If you’re worrying about ethics over what actually works you will always be a step behind.

I used to strangle springer

I used to strangle springer spaniels for a living

If that's not thread killer I don't know what is.

*cuddles* .htaccess

There are a lot of black hat SEO companies out there trying to pretend they are ethical, but as long as sites come within the search engine suggestions for SEO and do not obscenely maim the content with obvious spam with some consideration to screen readers etc., I don’t see it as unethical. Yes, the rules change… perhaps .htaccess will one day be classed as spam, I hope not, but if that happens, then the techniques of the SEO for the white-hatted SEO folk will have to change.

Anyway, I don't fancy showing off the products that I buy online to my friends and family when I'm on msn messenger pasting a URL that has a chance of failing to be sent because it's too long. They'd end up with a broken link that doesn't show off my new shoes.
Dynamic URL's were sooo last year... .htaccess rules... hopefully permenantly.

aaah finally

this thread gets to the real important stuff....

what type of shoes weescottishgirl and do they have a sale on? :)

Think its been said before

This topic must haave been covered a thousand times before

In short, refer to the Google guidelines for reference (

It is ethical. Sort of.

We do...

I need to linkbait because my site sucks and nobody will read it otherwise

The best thing to do

is use seo methods that benefit you in more ways than just seo. A good navigation, easy to load pages, lots of natural links bringing you the right traffic from all the right places. You won't depend on search engines all the way.


from Google webmaster guidelines :

When your site is ready:

* Have other relevant sites link to yours.
* Submit it to Google at
* Submit a sitemap as part of our Google Sitemaps (Beta) project. Google Sitemaps uses your sitemap to learn about the tructure of your site and to increase our coverage of your webpages.
* Make sure all the sites that should know about your pages are aware your site is online.
* Submit your site to relevant directories such as the Open Directory Project and Yahoo!, as well as to other industry-specific expert sites.

Design and content guidelines

* Make a site with a clear hierarchy and text links. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.
* Offer a site map to your users with links that point to the important parts of your site. If the site map is larger than 100 or so links, you may want to break the site map into separate pages.
* Create a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.
* Think about the words users would type to find your pages, and make sure that your site actually includes those words within it.
* Try to use text instead of images to display important names, content, or links. The Google crawler doesn't recognize text contained in images.
* Make sure that your TITLE and ALT tags are descriptive and accurate.
* Check for broken links and correct HTML.
* If you decide to use dynamic pages (i.e., the URL contains a "?" character), be aware that not every search engine spider crawls dynamic pages as well as static pages. It helps to keep the parameters short and the number of them few.
* Keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number (fewer than 100)

THAT is the most part of SEO. Google is telling users to do it.

Why the heck should SEO be unethical.

More on this from Google:

While Google doesn't have relationships with any SEOs and doesn't offer recommendations, we do have a few tips that may help you distinguish between an SEO that will improve your site and one that will only improve your chances of being dropped from search engine results altogether.

End of story.

The people who will considers SEO unethical, are those who didn't had any notable success with it, or who had only bad experiences with it, involving people/firms/entities who practiced black hat, or other spam or ineffective tehniques.

Sorry about misspelled words. I'm in a hurry.

I lol'd.

I'll bite.

I think of it like this. There is always an invisible line in the sand. Only you know when you cross it.

Generally, when you optimize a page for both an engine and a client, you are making sure that the page provides good, usable info for their site visitors, and you are making sure that an engine can visit and understand what is there.

In real life, if you were a building contractor or building your home, would you install lighting, electrical, plumbing, etc. in a lackadazical fashion or try to meet most if not all of the building codes? What if the building codes were more loosely defined but yet you knew that inspectors from the neighborhood, city, state, region, country, continent were all going to come over to inspect and approve/disapprove based on their all slightly similiar, but slightly dis-similar methods. Would you not try to please some or all rather than just 1? Would you not create light sockets that don't at least meet a minimum standard? Toilets that flush? Doors that close properly, etc.?

Too many "webmasters" create hovels that want to be mansions and it's hard just to get in the door, flush a toilet, get running water from the tap, etc.

SEO is not a bad thing. It has a purpose beyond rankings, imnsho.

But you can cross a line, certainly. And that is where most common sense people will ask why a page was created? Who does it serve since the common visitor will have no idea what is going on, why it is there, does it make sense, etc.


"I need to linkbait because my site sucks and nobody will read it otherwise" --Shoemoney

Please refrain from re-wording my posts Shoemoney, though it did make me laugh, you need to link bait? Not! I bet your "contests" bring HUGE traffic yes?

AND if you are talking about my blog I have no money in what I do.

Worse than unethical

SEO is becoming something far worse than unethical. Now it's just boring.

I said I'd say nothing

...but I didn't say I wouldn't quote anybody. Talk of ethics always reminds me of Johnny Caspar from Miller's Crossing

I'm talkin' about friendship. I'm talkin' about character. I'm talkin' about--hell, Leo, I ain't embarassed to use the word--I'm talkin' about ethics.

. . . You know I'm a sporting man. I like to make the occasional bet. But I ain't that sporting.

When I fix a fight, say--if I pay a three-to-one favorite to throw a goddamn fight--I figure I got a right to expect that fight to go off at three-to-one. But every time I lay a bet with this sonofabitch Bernie Bernheim, before I know it the odds is even up--or worse, I'm betting the short money. . .

. . . The sheeny knows I like sure things. He's selling the information I fixed the fight. Out-of-town money comes pourin' in. The odds go straight to hell. I don't know who he's sellin' it to, maybe the Los Angeles combine, I don't know. The point is, Bernie ain't satisfied with the honest dollar he can make off the vig. He ain't satisfied with the business I do on his book. He's sellin' tips on how I bet, and that means part of the payoff that should be ridin' on my hip is ridin' on someone else's. So back we go to these questions--friendship, character, ethics.

It's a wrong situation. It's gettin' so a businessman can't expect no return from a fixed fight. Now if you can't trust a fix, what can you trust? For a good return you gotta go bettin' on chance, and then you're back with anarchy. Right back inna jungle. On account of the breakdown of ethics. That's why ethics is important. It's the grease makes us get along, what separates us from the animals, beasts a burden, beasts a prey. Ethics. Whereas Bernie Bernheim is a horse of a different color ethics-wise. As in, he ain't got any. He's stealin' from me plain and simple.

This one time, at band camp...

...ok so that's another story.

If you're supposed to make great sites for surfers but they can't find your great stuff, how is that helping these poor surfers find great stuff?

Esp if you have to have a wicked old domain to show those surfers that great stuff?

PS: mod_rewrite tricks for blogs & forum hacks are the fru-it of the dev-illl. :thumbsup

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.