Got involved in a discussion re: the ethics of BH vs WH SEO making the difference and it occurred to me that it's all nonsense.
Is Any SEO Ethical?
My point was that all SEO except the purest WH, is unethical as it deliberately causes harm to other sites.
For any SEO to work, the main goal is to knock someone out of their position in the search engine. In other words, the goal is to cause harm to some other site, by definition any SEO of that nature is negative SEO as it intends to unnaturally unseat another site.
What is the pure WH?
Build a site and do nothing but original on-site SEO, don't copy SEO from another site, maybe glean keywords from Google and auto-suggest but not a competitor.
Doing a little promotion is cool, even Google claims that's OK, still WH.
If you build it from scratch and let the masses decided if it should rank, then you're a truly ethical WH SEO.
What crosses the WH line?
However, any other form of link building or SEO specifically designed to knock others off their rankings is deliberately intending to harm other sites.
If search engines worked the way they were intended to work, as a pure vote of popularity, it would be like Billboard for music. The top 10 sites would be the actual popular top 10 and they would move up and down as people's interest waxed and waned.
Sadly, that isn't the case, and every site on the planet fights to knock the competition out of the search engine regardless of popularity.
Sure, everyone wants to make money but DO NOT try to convince yourself that beating someone out of their natural ranking position by link building and using the SEO of the competition to get their keywords isn't doing them any harm.
Therefore, my premise is that both BH and WH is unethical when it's purpose is to deliberately harm someone else's livelihood.
Sure, turning it around to say you're only trying to improve your livelihood makes it sound all sanitized but deep down, you know you knocked people off the top 10 and they'll soon be letting employees go, maybe closing shop.
Is your site more deserving than theirs?
What actually gives you the right to force your site in and their site out?
If it was all natural voting with real links the way it originally was, back in the beginning, then there would be nothing unethical about it whatsoever because the people voted and popularity is what we all strive to achieve.
The problem starts when it's unnatural popularity, which is what SEO creates.
This is just a philosophical discussion, not accusing anyone of anything, not telling anyone how to do your business. I do all these SEO things myself, just trying to make a point about the ethics of SEO and the fact that people try to delude themselves that their so-called WH methods are more ethical than BH methods when the end result is some site(s) being harmed.
Think about it.
What site(s) did you harm?
Just some food for thought.