6-1 Blog: SEO and SEM Ethical and Legal Considerations

What are some ways that organizations engage in unethical SEO/SEM tactics?

Unethical SEO is often referred to as “black hat” or “spam”. Unethical SEO is not necessarily an illegal activity, but is regarded as “below the belt”. Techniques and practices are frowned upon as manipulative and sneaky. In a sense, unethical SEO is all about cutting corners and cheating the accepted code of conduct. Unethical SEO has one essential goal: to achieve immediate or short term ranking results.

Some ways that organizations engage in unethical SEO/SEM tactics are through Keyword Stuffing, Hidden Text and Links, Doorway Pages, Cloaking, and Link Farms.

Ethical vs. Unethical Practices

  • Keyword Stuffing
    Keyword stuffing means using the same keywords in your META tags or elsewhere in the content over and over again. This technique was recognized by SEs and web sites that use it are being penalized.
  • Hidden Text and Links
    Search engines scan pages for keywords entered into a search query and show results where that keyword appears mostly on a page. Webmaster decided to insert some text or links that can be seen by search engines, but not by human eyes. For example placing white text and links with keywords into a page with a white background color. People couldn’t see the difference, but spiders could and ranked those sites higher. It doesn’t work anymore.
  • Doorway Pages
    These are usually poor quality pages that are created to rank highly, specifically for one or more chosen keywords. They  do not benefit visitors, they’re created for search engines only. These pages may have exact or similar content that is copied from other sites. Doorway pages usually have no navigation menu, just a link to a main page. They may reside on the same, but mostly on other company’s server.
  • Cloaking
    This method is used to deliver different pages for visitors and search engines. Webmasters configured their servers to recognize IP addresses of SE spiders and deliver them content rich, optimized pages, while showing absolutely different pages for human visitors. Cloaking may also redirect visitors to a home page. This technique is treated as spam and is not recommended to use.
  • Link Farms
    Many companies use this method. It’s sole purpose to gain link popularity. A link farm is usually one page that consists of 50 to 100 or more links to websites that have nothing in common with the content of your site. Such pages have no benefit to users as they give links to sites that aren’t interesting to them. Link farms are being penalized by search engines.

Benefits of being ethical

There are many benefits to practicing ethical SEO/SEM strategies. One should make use of ethical SEO to improve online visibility. Use of quality images and updating relevant content regularly to ensures that one’s site is accessible. It’s essential to make use of an SEO specialist. An organization can benefit from cross-browser compatibility. They are up to date with the latest in the SEO world.

Practicing sustainable, ethical practices ensure that an organization’s e-marketing goals get met. It is crucial to safeguard your clients’ on-net visibility is safe. Jeopardizing it with aggressive tactics without their consent is a quick way to lose loyal clients. Ethical SEOs ensure that clients’ and organizational needs are well-taken care.



Adam (2018). Unethical SEO Techniques. Retrieved from:

Great Learning (2019). Ethical SEO. Retrieved from:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s