The Search Engine Optimization Code of Ethics

SEO Code of Ethics

Ethical considerations have always been a concern for the SEO community. Black hat practitioners and unethical firms muddy up the search results and create a poor user experience—not to mention the severe penalties a website can face for using techniques to spam the search engines.

As you think about investing in SEO, it’s important to hire an ethical firm. The following ethical guidelines have been widely accepted and asserted by the vast majority of those who work within the SEO field:

  • Be Honest: SEO firms should not willfully lie or misalign the truth. This pertains to copying another’s work, making false promises, setting unrealistic expectations to clients and representing oneself falsely regarding one’s abilities, education, experience, etc.


  • Obey the Rules: All SEO personnel are expected to adhere to search engine rules, which preclude the use of black hat tactics such as keyword stuffing and using doorway pages, invisible text and duplicate content. SEO firms should be aware of the latest rules and standards of the major search engines and maintain their sites accordingly.


  • Keep Clients’ Best Interests in Mind: SEO services should aim to protect confidential information pertaining to clients and their companies, give each client equal care regarding their campaign implementation and management, do their very best to increase and maintain SEO results and never intentionally provide information that harms a client or consumer.


It is in the best interest of both firm and client to pursue and adhere to the ethical guidelines as put forth by the SEO majority. Websites that are found to be using unethical tactics are regularly rebuked by search engines and may lose ranking consideration; this hurts a client’s business potential and mars the credibility of an SEO firm.

While there is no “official” search engine optimization code of ethics, the best way to ensure safe, fair and fruitful ventures within the enterprise of online business is to adhere to the generally accepted practices of ethical SEO.

6 Responses to “The Search Engine Optimization Code of Ethics”

  1. Terrance

    If you have fallen prey to a black hat firm, is there a way to bounce back from it and regain trust with search engines or do you have to start all over?

    • SonicSEO Team

      Absolutely – and this happens more than you think, unfortunately. But with all things *SEO*, it will just take time. You’d need a white-hat firm to do an evaluation and discuss with you what practices were put in place. From there a plan can be developed and tactics undone. Our main goal is getting you back on path towards Google’s good graces. Once all the bad practices have been removed from your site you’ll need to make a great site that abides by Google’s TOS. If you follow their guidelines on making a good site, you should be ok. You’ll have to wait for the site to be crawled, put in the index and gain ranking assignment, which can take a while, to see the fruits of your labor.

  2. CEO

    What are doorway pages and using duplicate content? I am trying to get a handle on this SEO stuff for my small business but there is so much info out there.

    • SonicSEO Team

      Doorway pages are primarily designed for search engines…not people. They are used to gain high results in the SERPs for key term phrases that are irrelevant to what their site is actually about. When people click on a doorway page, they are taken to a different page that has nothing to do with what they were searching for.

      Duplicate content is lifting copy from another site and using it verbatim on your own site. The search engines want to provide a variety of useful information for any given search, and, therefore, frown on duplicate content because it can muddy up the results.


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