Last updated on 13th June 2023 at 21:22 by Alex Nicholas
The Internet has dramatically changed the way people live their lives.
As a result, it's not just businesses that are investing in SEO strategies to find new customers and keep old ones happy; individuals must also optimise their online presence through good content strategies to make sure they're found by potential employers over their competition.
However, as more and more people are becoming interested in SEO, the search engines are getting more sophisticated at filtering out low-quality content and identifying black hat techniques.
White Hat VS Black Hat VS Grey Hat
Grey hat SEO is a type of SEO where the borders between white hat SEO and black hat SEO are blurred. Grey hat SEO techniques are not as risky as black hat techniques, but they are not as safe as white hat SEO techniques either.
Grey hat is a great option for businesses that want to improve their website's SEO quickly, but are not willing to take the risks associated with black hat SEO.
What exactly is Grey Hat SEO and How is it Used?
It's exactly what its name implies. If employed by a professional, it may still be effective in the middle ground between white and black. Grey hat SEO takes a middle ground by using some of the tactics employed by black hatters, but not all.
It is not as risky as employing black hat methods and can result in a website being penalised if Google catches on; however, it may be more effective than strictly following white hat SEO practices.
One example of grey hat SEO is increasing the number of backlinks to your website by posting comments on other websites' blog comments section with a link to your site.
You can best utilize grey hat SEO methods by keeping an eye on the latest changes to Google's algorithms and whether your competitors are utilizing the methods listed out below and are ranking highly.
Grey hat SEO is a great way to improve your website's search engine ranking while taking less of a risk than black hat SEO. By using some of the tactics employed by black hatters, but not all, you can increase your website's ranking while staying within the bounds of Google's guidelines.
Below is a list of our 10 suggested Grey Hat SEO techniques to use to improve your SEO:
10 Grey Hat SEO Techniques
1. Operating Expired Domains
This is a classic grey hat SEO technique that straddles the border between black and white SEO.
It's a domain name that hasn't been renewed by the owner but has a lot of authority because of the number and quality of backlinks linking to it.
This technique can be very effective in increasing your website's ranking, but it's also risky because you could get penalised by Google if they catch on, especially if you're doing it at scale.
To best utilise this technique, simply find an expired domain with a lot of quality backlinks and 301 redirect it to your website.
However, you must be aware that if you start redirecting websites that aren't closely related to your niche, you will most likely start sending signals to Google that will confuse/mix up the topical authority you already have.
This will likely cause a drop in overall rankings.
2. Buying or Selling Links
Websites that have purchased and traded links are a typical grey hat SEO strategy employed by webmasters to improve their site's authority and ranks.
However, link schemes like this are considered black hat SEO tactics since they violate Google's Webmaster Guidelines (source).
To best utilise this technique, make sure the links you're purchasing or trading are high-quality and relevant to your website. You should also avoid purchasing links from websites that are unrelated to your site or that have obvious red flags such as “write for us” pages.
Cloaking is a technique used to show different content to search engine bots than to human visitors.
Cloaking is a type of SEO that hides one version of material from humans and another from search engines.
This technique is also a very deceptive grey hat SEO strategy that dupes search engines like Google into ranking the target phrases higher than they should.
This is done by hiding text, keywords or links from search engine crawlers while displaying them to human visitors.
This is technically a black hat SEO technique. To make this a grey hat SEO technique, simply make sure the hidden text and links are relevant to your website.
4. Creating Mini-Sites and Blogs
Micro-sites and blogs are grey-hat SEO tactics that can boost your search engine results without getting you banned.
Creating mini-sites and blogs is a great way to add more topically relevant content that links through to your money website and improves it's ranking. However, you should make sure the mini-sites and blogs are high quality and relevant to your website.
I would argue that there's nothing inherently wrong with this approach, indeed large publishing companies link many websites they own together in this way.
But remember, when creating mini-sites and blogs, keep in mind that you should only create as many as you can manage and that you should focus on quality, not quantity.
5. Spinning Content
Another popular grey hat SEO technique is to spin content that's already ranking on Google.
Spinning content is the practice of taking material from another website and rewording it on a sentence-by-sentence basis for it to pass Google's duplicate content filter.
This is done by taking a piece of content, or sections of content from various websites and rewriting it so it's not considered duplicate content.
6. Creating Duplicate Content
Another grey hat SEO technique that's become popular over time is duplicate content.
There are two main ways duplicate content is used for SEO:
1) Creating multiple pages with nearly identical content to increase the chances that one of them will rank high on Google. This is typically done by using different keyword phrases on each page.
2) Republish content from other websites on your website to increase your content and improve your site's ranking (although I don't often see this working particularly well anymore).
The main reason this grey hat SEO tactic is effective is that Google doesn't want to rank the same piece of content multiple times on their search engine results pages.
7. Automating Content
Automating content using AI means programming a system to carry out the repetitive activities involved in creating material. The aim is to provide your blog with a steady supply of fresh, original content without having to do the writing yourself.
This is a grey hat SEO technique that can be effective in increasing your website's ranking, but you need to be careful not to publish duplicate content.
You can build a page on your site that scrapes content from other websites and combines it into one by using a spider. Article spinning software can also be used to rewrite the content so it's original.
By automatically generating content for your website using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, AI content creation tools write the material in natural language synthesis (NLS) so it's original and high quality.
8. Adding Your Website to Web Directories
Adding your website directories to Google's search results may earn you an instant link to your site. This definitely leans more towards being a white hat SEO technique on the SEO spectrum.
It's a good strategy, but once you start employing it excessively to build hundreds or thousands of links to your website, it slides into grey hat SEO territory.
When you add your website to directories, make sure you only submit high-quality, relevant websites. This will help bolster your website's ranking, improve your chances of getting links from other websites, and most importantly (potentially) gain customers.
9. Building Links with Article Directories
One of the most popular grey hat SEO tactics is to build links by submitting articles to directories.
When you submit articles to directories, you're usually allowed to include a link to your website in the author bio or resource box.
This is a great way to get links to your website, but you need to be careful not to overdo it. Directory submissions should be used sparingly and only for high-quality, relevant websites.
10. Product Reviews
This is an area that Google has tried to stop, but it's also one where consumers demand it! If you're thinking of buying a new product, the chances are you'll do a quick Google search to see what other people have said about it.
Reviews are the foundation of any business that sells a physical product online. That's why this grey hat SEO technique is so powerful.
Product reviews are considered a grey hat SEO technique because it's not a direct attack on search engine algorithms, but it does use some methods that push the boundaries.
When you write product reviews, make sure you're writing for your target audience. Write about the product in a way that will capture their attention and persuade them to buy it.
The challenge for online retailers is to get their products listed in Google's search results. The best way to do that is to get as many reviews as possible.
The more reviews you have, the better your chances of ranking high in Google's search results.
Any e-Commerce business should make reaching out to influencer bloggers a top-priority marketing technique. You'll be gaining links from authority sites, as well as potential customers.
11. Affiliate Marketing
Many online firms have affiliate marketing schemes. Many of those firms are likely unaware of the many different websites that exist and are promoting their goods in order to make a commission on any sales.
Affiliate marketing can be a grey and black hat technique, as it can quickly become a spammy process if not executed correctly.
When done correctly, affiliate marketing can be a powerful way to increase your website's visibility and attract more customers.
Make sure you research the affiliate marketing programs you want to participate in. Look for reputable programs with high-quality products. Then, create content that promotes the products in a way that is helpful and informative for your audience. When you're done, submit the content to reputable websites and wait for the traffic and sales to come in.
Being able to engage with third-party bloggers and influencers by establishing an affiliate program or a brand ambassador program is beneficial in providing the incentive for them to want to talk about you.
Affiliate marketing can also lead to an increase in search engine ranking due to the number of links that are pointing to your site.
What does all this mean?
Some SEO consultants or firms employ grey hat methods, but most of them don't. The short-term benefit (and many of these methods overlap with black hat SEO) of grey hat SEO is that your website will likely see an increase in traffic.
Below is a list of benefits of using some of the most common grey hat SEO techniques:
- Increased Traffic: Employing grey hat methods can lead to a significant increase in website traffic.
- Improved Rankings: Many of the techniques used in grey hat SEO can help improve your website's ranking on search engine results pages.
- More Engaged Visitors: Using grey hat methods can help you attract more engaged website visitors who are interested in what you have to offer.
- More Conversions: With the right content and an effective conversion strategy, increased website traffic from grey hat SEO can lead to more conversions and sales.
- Brand Recognition: Many of the techniques used in grey hat SEO can help improve your brand's visibility and recognition.
- Improved Customer Loyalty: With increased brand recognition and a loyal customer base, grey hat SEO can help improve customer loyalty.
- More Revenue: With all of the benefits listed above, it's easy to see how increased website traffic from grey hat SEO can lead to more revenue.
However, as mentioned earlier, there are risks associated with using these techniques. Here are a few of the most common ones:
- Google penalties for violating their Webmaster Guidelines.
- Lower rankings and visibility in search engine results pages.
- Loss of website traffic as a result of getting blacklisted by Google.
- Damage to your brand's reputation.
- Increased risk of being hacked.
So, while there may be benefits to using some of these techniques, it's important to weigh the risks and rewards before taking any action.
The benefits of using grey hat SEO techniques to improve your website's ranking and increase revenue can be significant. However, it is important to consider the risks before employing any of these methods for fear that they will lead to a Google penalty or other damage. Let our team of experts handle everything from start to finish so you don't have to worry about anything! Contact us today if you want assistance with your online marketing strategy.