At its core, yes, SEO is halal.
SEO is simply the activity and process to make content more visible and more easily found within a search engine.
Nothin’ to worry about here, halal police.
But of course, SEO can be used for good or bad.
Or rather, to promote the good or promote the bad.
And by bad, I mean that whcih goes against the Shari’ah and Islamic principles
For example, if you were to do SEO for a casino or liquor store or adult entertainment business, then that would be haraam as it promotes vice and behaviour that is incongruent with Islamic values.
It also means your income from such work would be haraam.
And given the nature of some of these businesses, the way you carry out your SEO would be questionable – but would the actual SEO be haraam?
You may need to buy links. Not exactly forbidden. Google doesn’t recommend it but then again, Google has its own agenda. But back to paying for links. It’s not entirely wrong – I mean, you’re really just paying for promotion. In itself, this is not haraam. Just because the practice causes Google to frown, doesn’t mean it is haraam.
Bear in mind, haraam is a strong word.
What if you were promoting a bakery that just so happened to sell some haraam products eg. a bacon and egg muffin. Would that work be permissible? I’m sure there are others smarter than me who can weigh in on this with more clout. For me, I’d see no issue as this isn’t the primary part of the business. And you’re not exactly promoting vice. And you’re not exactly encouraging more bacon consumption.
You can see how this could become a slipper slope.
For me, personally, I view SEO as Halal. And as long as you work ethically (in general, not just in terms of SEO) and you work with and for businesses that don’t contravene Islamic law (or the law in general!), then, SEO is Halal.
This is why you won’t find me promoting any business of a shady nature. Or haraam nature. And believe me, I’ve been offered plenty of options in my time. But it’s just not worth it.
Is SEO halal? yes.
But as always, Allah knows best.