In this guide, I will answer the question, “What is Grey Hat SEO?”
You’ve probably heard of white hat SEO and black hat SEO, but what exactly are grey hat SEO tactics?
You will learn all you need to know about gray hat SEO, including what it is, how it differs from white and black hat SEO, and a list of the most common grey hat practices for improving search engine rank in the sections below.
So without wasting any time, let’s start this article!
What Is Grey Hat SEO?
Grey hat SEO is a hybrid of white hat SEO and black hat SEO techniques.
It is an SEO practice that uses a combination of white hat SEO and black hat SEO techniques.
Grey hat SEO is riskier as compared to white hat SEO because it uses search engine parameters to boost the SERP rank of a page.
Grey Hat SEO Strategies are somewhat like black hat techniques that seem like white hat SEO techniques.
This is the most basic definition of grey hat SEO.
Let us look at some of the most used grey hat search engine optimization strategies nowadays.
Why Is Grey Hat SEO Important?
It’s important to understand grey hat SEO because it can elevate your site’s status without causing a negative impact or costing you thousands of dollars in lost visitors.
Google’s best practices and terms have the potential to stifle creative innovation and out-of-the-box thinking.
This limitation is not always in the best interest of search advertisers or even searchers.
In addition, Grey Hat SEO evolves; What is deemed grey hat one year may be classified as black or white hat the next, requiring search marketers to stay up-to-date on current classifications.
What Are Some Grey Hat SEO Techniques?
Here are some popular grey hat SEO techniques:
1. Using Expired Domains.
Using expired domains is one of the most common grey hat SEO techniques.
It is a persistent gray hat SEO approach that falls between black and white.
It refers to buying a domain that has been left to expire by its owner but still has a lot of rights because of the quantity and quality of backlinks pointing to it.
There are two ways to use expired domains in a grey hat SEO strategy.
To boost the authority of your current domain, use a 301 redirect to redirect all link strength.
Finding an archive of old information on a site like the Wayback Machine and republishing it to get it back before the domain expires.
This can result in a very successful website with focused visitors almost immediately.
2. Buying Or Exchanging Links.
The second most prevalent gray hat SEO strategy used by webmasters to increase authority and rank for their websites is buying link with money and exchanging.
However, since they violate Google’s webmaster standards, such link schemes are considered black hat SEO methods.
There are four main types of grey hat SEO:
- Buying link placement on an already indexed Google article.
- Buying a guest post opportunity with a backlink to your website.
- Link exchange with another website owner (ie I link to you, and you link to me).
- A product or service is exchanged in exchange for a link to someone’s website.
3. Leveraging Personal Blog Network (PBN).
A personal blog network (PBN) is a collection of websites under your control that is used to develop backlinks for a single website to improve Google rankings.
For grey hat SEO, the goal of PBN is to link to a central domain and transmit the greatest link equity to increase authority.
PBN is technically a black hat SEO tactic, but if you really want to keep it hidden from the public eye and hide your tracks so that Google doesn’t inform you of owning all the websites, then this approach is the grey hat SEO area.
4. Creating Microsites And Blogs.
Creating a microsite or blog is a grey hat SEO strategy that can help you increase your search engine rankings while avoiding penalties.
It’s similar to a PBN, but it’s quite secure because the domain you’re using to connect back to your site doesn’t belong to you.
They are also a public, not private, network.
Setting up a blog on various Web 2.0 and content curation sites with higher domain authority, such as Medium, Weebly, Blogger, Tumblr, Live Journal, and others, is a common example of creating a micro-site for SEO reasons.
Tips for optimizing blog content can be found in my article on doing SEO for blogs.
5. Article Spinning.
Another typical grey hat SEO technique is spinning up content to get a ranking on Google.
However, this is unethical and not a healthy long-term practice.
Here’s how it works, though:
Spinning content is when you take text from another website and repurpose it sentence by sentence so that plagiarism is not detected.
You upload spun content to your site next time to rank it for the keywords you want to target.
You can avoid the duplicate content penalty by spinning up content in this way, which we’ll discuss next.
6. Duplicate Content.
Duplicate content is a grey hat SEO approach that is now being employed in the field of search engine optimization.
This method involves copying and pasting large amounts of information across multiple domains or websites.
Duplicate content is used for SEO in three ways:
- You can target similar types of search queries, without developing new content.
- Local SEO keywords, for example, are often used to create multiple pages for each local city.
- Each page includes the same content as the previous one, except that the city name is replaced with the city being targeted.
This method allows the appropriate page to rank for the target keyword while suppressing other sites.
Copying content from another website and uploading it to a powerful domain can sometimes cause the target site to overtake the source of the information, allowing the target site to steal visitors.
Duplicate content can be used to fill a search engine with multiple versions of the same content in the hope that one will stay and rank well for the desired keyword.
7. Content Automation.
When you use software to automate the manual processes involved in content production, you are automating content.
The goal is to keep your blog updated with the latest information to rank better in Google and attract more visitors.
There are two techniques for automating content:
By extracting content from different websites and merging it into a single web page.
Article spinning can also be used to make content unique and plagiarism-resistant.
You are using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to automatically create content for your website.
Natural language production (NLG) is used by AI content production technologies to produce content without the intervention of humans.
8. Using Hidden Text To Increase Keyword Density.
Hidden text is a black hat SEO technique against Google’s webmaster rules.
On the other hand, Grey Hat SEO seeks to violate these restrictions by using methods to hide keywords from users while allowing them to be scanned by search engines.
The following are some of the most common grey hat SEO tactics for obscuring text:
Finding hidden text behind a picture.
CSS was used to move the text off-screen.
The font size is set to 0.
Cloaking is an SEO method in which one set of content or URLs is shown to humans, and another set is presented to search engines.
Cloaking is a deceptive grey hat SEO technique that fools search engines such as Google into providing users with different results than expected for the targeted keywords.
10. Submitting Your Website To Web Directories.
Web directory submission is one of the most misused grey hat SEO methods.
Linking your website to directories can help you get a free backlink to your site, and when done in moderation is considered a white SEO approach.
However, if you use this method to build tens or hundreds of connections to your site, you’ve hit the limit in black hat SEO land, especially if the keyword anchor text for backlinks has been manipulated.
11. Creating Multiple Social Media Accounts.
Having a single social media account for your company on each social network is a white hat SEO approach to distribute links and increase the visibility of your content.
Creating multiple social media profiles to artificially increase the amount of sharing and connecting to your website, on the other hand, is a grey hat SEO technique.
12. Getting Paid For Good Reviews.
Google is notorious for rewarding websites with favorable ratings along with better ranks.
This is particularly true in the case of local SEO.
Paying individuals to submit favorable reviews for your listing is one way to influence algorithms in your favor.
You can find a friendly online service provider or persuade existing consumers to rate your site in exchange for a discount or incentive.
In any case, it’s all about Black Hat SEO.
Is It Illegal To Use Grey Hat SEO?
Grey Hat SEO is not against the law.
Gray Hat SEO strategy is not breaking any laws.
On the other hand, Grey Hat SEO violates search engine guidelines and can result in your site being removed from search engine results pages.
Do You Need to Use Grey Hat SEO Techniques?
Getting on Google’s bad side doesn’t do you much, so if you’re not sure whether a strategy will violate Google’s standards, you should generally avoid it.
Every marketer should weigh the risk and come back on their own terms, but with Google’s algorithms becoming more stringent all the time, the safest course for your company is to stick to White Hat SEO.
Grey Hat SEO VS Black Hat SEO.
Grey hat SEO differs from black hat SEO in that it uses methods that do not always violate search engine standards.
Grey hat SEO is more attractive than black hat SEO because of this grey area of search engine optimization.
White Hat SEO VS Grey Hat SEO.
Grey hat SEO vs white hat SEO is because gray hat SEO is riskier as compared to white hat SEO.
If you use a black hat SEO strategy, your site may or may not be blacklisted from search engines and their affiliated sites.
White Hat SEO is completely risk-free.
I hope you found my explanation of Grey Hat SEO helpful.
Grey Hat SEO is a search engine optimization method that blends white hat and black hat SEO techniques to boost a website’s search engine rank and exposure.
In many ways, grey hat SEO approaches are simply black hat SEO practices disguised as white.
Regardless, many website owners use gray hat SEO techniques to increase traffic to their sites.
That’s why it’s important to know how they function online.