Is Linkbuilding Ethical in SEO?

If you’re looking for ways to boost your website SEO score, you must have already considered establishing backlinks. After all, Google says backlinks and content quality are two of the most crucial SEO ranking components, and any real SEO agency in Manchester can only agree.

However, there is a cosmic quandary when it comes to linkbuilding. The question of ethical practice comes into play when website owners decide to establish backlinks to boost their SEO.

After all, numerous websites over the years have been notorious for practicing unethical linkbuilding. To curb down the practice of unethical link building, Google has laid down strict norms and guidelines against link building exercises. 

So, is linkbuilding ethical in SEO?

Here’s the short answer – it depends mainly on how you go about implementing link building.

So, Yes! Link building is ethical in SEO if you follow the standard guidelines provided by Google.

However, you may be venturing out into the unethical zone if you decide to divert from the standard norms and practices of establishing backlinks.

White Hat vs Black Hat

Usually, when you proceed to undertake the task of building backlinks, you will have the option to choose between white hat and black hat SEO. So, what is the difference between them, and which one should you choose?

Simply put – black hat represent unethical link building practices, and white hat represents the ethical counterpart.

So, what exactly do these two practices mean?

White Hat SEO

White hat SEO simply refers to the process of following ethical norms and guidelines for link building. In such practices, the process of establishing internal links is not only targeted for boosting a website’s SEO score but also to provide quality and relevant information to the audience.

Techniques that are usually involved in white hat SEO include keyword research, creating quality content, building quality backlinks, rewriting Meta tags, etc.

In brief, the entire procedure of undertaking white hat SEO is mainly targeted towards the human audience, and to provide helpful and relevant information.

Black Hat SEO

In contrast to white hat SEO, the primary objective of black hat SEO is to boost search engine ranking, and not to provide genuine information to the audience. In such practices, websites cut corners by avoiding the entire process of marketing researching.

Instead, they proceed directly to boost their website SEO quickly by implementing unethical practices. Some of these unethical practices include farming backlinks, keyword stuffing, hidden links and texts, cloaking, content automation, etc.

These tactics are considered unethical because they are not targeted to provide genuine information. Instead, they are only intended to improve search engine ranking.

Penalties associated with unethical SEO practice

As mentioned above, Google takes unethical SEO practices very seriously. As such, they have developed a system to penalize websites that make use of black hat tactics to cheat the search engine algorithm.

The primary form of penalty comes in the form of a decline in Google search engine ranking. Ironic, isn’t it? Websites partake in unethical SEO link building to boost their search result ranking but end up achieving the complete opposite result.

Over the years, a fair number of business websites have fallen victim to such negative SEO practices. Some of the most prominent names include BBC, rap genius, Trendhim, Mozilla, BMW, and Washington Post.

There are two different types of penalties that Google enforces on websites that indulge in unethical SEO practices.

Manual penalty

Detecting the number of guideline violations can be a mammoth task, even for Google’s bleeding-edge algorithm. Due to the absurd number of violations that Google algorithm detects every day, it is difficult to accurately identify spam websites.

As such, to ensure accurate website violations, Google employs manual quality raters. These people are responsible for checking websites manually. They will then impose penalties on websites that are found to violate Google’s SEO guidelines.

Google algorithmic penalty

As apparent by its name, these types of penalties are those that are assigned by the Google search engine algorithm. Google implements a clever tactic to sniff out websites that use unethical means to boost their SEO ranking.

Essentially Google keeps updating its ranking algorithm on a regular basis. This helps them to identify spam websites that have using black hat tactics to improve their SERPs and penalize them accordingly.

How You Can Ethically Build Links For SEO

Getting penalized by Google is something you may want to steer clear of if you want to stay ahead of the competition. Sure, ethical link building may require more time and resource investment.

But it will ultimately help you achieve the ideal result in the long run and also prevent your website from being flagged and penalised by Google.

These are some of the fundamental guidelines of ethical link building.

Concentrate on the quality of content

As mentioned earlier, the primary objective of Ethical link building is to impart helpful and relevant information to the audience. Google doesn’t care about the number of backlinks as much as it cares about its quality.

If you try to force too much keyword or insert links in irrelevant places, it could impact your website’s reputation negatively.

It is, therefore, crucial to prioritize your audience’s requirements and work your way up to insert quality links whenever possible.

Guest posting

Guest posting is arguably one of the most controversial components in SEO. Conventionally, websites have had the habit of spamming guest posts with excessive inks. And, that, in turn, has diminished the reputation of guest over the years.

However, the simple fact is that guest posting is still an extremely powerful platform to build quality links. Focus on creating unique and informative posts and implement strategically placed keyword links. Doing so can boost your website SEO by a substantial degree.


Let’s go back to our original question – Is link building ethical in SEO? As mentioned above, the answer is completely dependent on your approach. And, we sure hope that your answer to the question above comes in the form of YES. If you require help with boosting your SEO with link building and other search engine optimisation methods, feel free to get in touch with Blue Whale Media for the best SEO in Manchester.

Remember that quality website links are those that are “earned” by sticking to the standard guidelines. If you want to harness the optimum benefit of link building in SEO, ethical practice is the way to go.