Grey Hat SEO is SEO techniques that are more risky than White Hat SEO techniques but will not get your website banned from search engines (although a search engine penalty could result). They’re questionable SEO techniques but do not fall in the same category as Black Hat SEO techniques.
Some experts take Grey Hat SEO as techniques that fall in the middle of White and Black Hat SEO and if used by a professional, can still give you effective results. However, it’s safe to say that taking a grey hat approach is playing with fire and if you’re not 100% sure of what you’re doing and since we’re predominantly content-led now, it’s not recommend.
But in words of SEO Consultant, John Andrews, Grey Hat SEO is not something between Black Hat SEO and White Hat SEO, but rather it is “the practice of tactics/techniques which remain ill-defined by published material coming out of Google, and for which reasonable people could disagree on how the tactics support or contrast with the spirit of Google’s published guidelines.”
Though Grey Hat SEO practices are on the risky side, they can be more beneficial than standard White Hat SEO methods; it’s simply reward in exchange for risk.
A proper understanding of Grey Hat SEO is important because it could improve your site’s ranking without negative consequences, or it could cost you thousands in lost traffic. Grey Hat SEO changes periodically; what’s considered Grey Hat one year could be classified as Black or White Hat the next year, making it crucial for search marketers to stay informed of the latest categorizations.
Grey Hat SEO consists of techniques such as:
Cloaking is a practice that shows the user a different result than it does in the search engine. For Google, it’s considered to be a high-risk practice that is in violation of its rules.
Cloaking can be achieved by altering meta information, so that it doesn’t reflect the content and tampering with the IP address of a site.
Doorway pages can also be considered a form of cloaking, which are each optimised for a keyword or phrase in order to direct the user to one site. They are designed to manipulate bots and trick users into visiting a site they didn’t intend to. They can be multiple pages on the same site that have keywords such as locations, so that the site can take advantage of as many keywords as possible.
Having a keyword density that’s high enough to sound unnatural but not at the level of Black Hat SEO is called Keyword Stuffing and it sometimes give very effective results, but must be avoided as it may sometime get your website banned.
The web is full of old domains that have been abandoned and the owners don’t use much. These domain are often used as a way to create backlinks in order to improve rankings. Generally, these tend to be authoritative domains so that the link appears to be of a good quality.
Content, content, content. It’s the kingpin of the internet and all SEO efforts. Use of duplicate contents be effective in a small way, but it’s still a very dodgy idea to use them.
We advice you not to purchase back links. If you get found out, you will get a penalty, it’s as simple as that and all of the investment you have put into your site will be worth zero. However, you can list your site on relevant industry directories as this is approved of.
There have been a lot of scare stories relating to guest posting and if this constitutes buying links, but if no cash is exchanged, then this is irrelevant. However, links can be exchanged for sponsorship of events and this is OK too.
Social Media Automation and Buying Followers
You can get many tools that auto-follow and unfollow 1000s of social media users without you lifting a finger for as little as a fiver for 5000. This is one of the few here that can be called strictly grey hat as it’s not made it to Google’s blacklist yet, possibly as social signals are only just becoming important to search engines.
Buying followers may seem like a great idea to make it look like you’re in with the crowd, but all it actually means is no engagement and the risk of infecting any true followers with malware in some instances. Organically obtaining a following isn’t necessarily an overnight affair, but it’s worth it in the end.