What is ethical?

We help great businesses to be more profitable online. What’s so ethical about that?

When you’re called called Ethical SEO, you get a lot of questions – and a lot of assumptions. It’s a surprise to a lot of people that we don’t knit our own hemp sweaters or dance naked in the moonlight. OK, we sometimes do a bit of that.

It’s even more of a surprise that we’re not being judgemental. For us, the word “ethical” is all about conscious decision-making. It means constantly appraising ourselves as a business. When we are faced with a decision, we ask is this something we want to do? Could we do it better? Does it feel right for us as a business?

Typically, we have two kinds of impact. Us as a business – and through our clients.


In every industry there are those who seek to make money by less than honest means. In the SEO world, these are people who try to trick search engines into believing a website is something it isn’t.

Common techniques include posting spam on blogs and placing links within the templates of other sites. The major search engines have published best practice guidelines to discourage this behaviour – and are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their regulation. Practising SEO that sticks to the guidelines has become known as ‘ethical SEO’.

That’s a nice coincidence but, for us, ethical SEO is really about much more than sticking to a set of guidelines. It is about being honest and transparent in everything we do. There is no wizardry involved – just effective communication, relationship building, creative thinking and a lot of hard work.

While it’s important to look at the bigger picture, we don’t forget that the devil is in the detail. So we try to be just as transparent about our day-to-day working methods and throw off the cloak and dagger reputation of the SEO industry.

Of course, transparency has become a corporate buzzword. But at Ethical SEO we want to make it meaningful. That’s why we signed up to the scheme ‘Profit through Ethics’. Over six months, we answered a series of challenging questions about our policies on social, environmental and ethical issues which helped us to develop these policies and put them in the public domain.

That ties into another kind of “us” – the day-to-day running of our offices and business needs. We’re not perfect but we try hard to do the right things. Computers from Very PC, office electricity from Good Energy, coffee from a fair trade producer and milk from a local, organic farm. So you could say that Ethical SEO is an ethical consumer.


When we help clients to succeed, our impact can be magnified around the world. So it’s important that we think carefully about who we work with.

We partner with companies which are open, fair and, importantly, offer great products and services. However big or small, the most important thing for us is that they aren’t simply looking to use SEO and digital marketing to hoodwink their customers.

So, no, we won’t work with arms manufacturers, tobacco or alcohol companies. That doesn’t fit with our thinking. But we don’t just work with “eco” enterprises either – and nor do we think big business is bad.

A firm of accountants (we’re talking about you, Crunch) can be a truly inspirational client  – a company which is all about helping businesses and entrepreneurs, and which offers the best products and services it possibly can.

If you want to know more, give us a call. We love the work we do and we’d love to see how we could help you. Get in touch today.