Grey Hat SEO is the third Hat in the collection, but this time it is in grey. This comes in between Black and White Hat SEO.
More specifically, it is a set of natural reference methods aimed at white hat SEO but uses deceptive methods such as black hat SEO. Needless to say, this black hat is illegal as a natural reference and therefore banned by Google search engine.
Either way, grey hat references are generally used within the limits tolerated by the search engine Google. In the short term, it’s really hard to find good natural references by following the rules set by search engines.
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Are there any dangers in playing the Grey Hat SEO card?
To do this, you need to know the established boundaries between white hat and black hat SEO so that there is no risk of accidentally switching the second in a crazy way. Search engines and Google will, in the first place, not be caught and you will not be fined.
When Google bans a website, it lowers its ranking. Therefore, a downgrade of the affected site reduces its visibility, which is serious for its traffic and thus upstream company activity.
In some cases, Google may, as a punishment, remove the objectionable website from its results. The company is completely invisible in this search engine and therefore without a trace.
Strategies of the grey hat SEO
During introductions, I sometimes mention the words “strategy” and “technique”. But what am I talking about?
We will review some of the most important ones:
1. Create artificial links with natural patterns
Links are one of the basic pillars of SEO. What happens is that a site usually finds it difficult to connect with you naturally, so to speed up SEO, links between different pages can be purchased/changed.
A black hat forms huge links regardless of its naturalness and a white hat does not form artificial links.
On the other hand, the grey hat creates artificial links but keep in mind that Google does not recognize such practices.
To achieve this, different elements such as different types of anchor texts or less publicized ones may not be identified:
Link to different IPs: If the website contains multiple links from different domains, but all domains have the same IP, this is an indicator of low naturalness for Google. The relationship between the domain and the IP should be as similar as possible and my favorite tool to test this is Ahrefs.
Periodicity of the link: Building links gradually is one of the essential requirements for having a natural link-building strategy. Similarly, when you want to stop building links, you should also stop building them slowly. Common sense here is useful: Is it natural for a site that gets 10 links a month not to get one in the next few months? Didn’t you think Google would consider that content irrelevant since then?
So, as we have just reviewed, the grey hat treatment of content and links regarding black hat or white hat is great. Whether one is better than the other depends on each individual, but it is clear that these methods are still effective in improving the SEO of any project.
2. Give importance to content
The grey hat does not believe that content is king but does not underestimate its impact in terms of SEO.
Of course, this is one of the basic pillars of web positioning, and we must consider yes or no, especially for projects that we want to be consistent with.
There are a few things to keep in mind when we talk about content:
Content length: Having articles of 1,000 or 2,000 words is a very important added value to your page. And it doesn’t matter if they are e-commerce or blogs: having content always helps, any project.
Web Semantics: Since you have the material, use it as much as possible in the best way possible. One of the most relevant tips in this regard is to consider variations of synonyms or keywords. This will allow you to cover more keywords and provide better rankings (since Google sees many relevant terms in your content).
Keyword density: Keyword density refers to the percentage of times you use each keyword. It is recommended that it be between 1-3% to avoid over-optimizing the keyword (or, alternatively, Google will not detect which keywords are key). However, the best thing to do is to spy on the competition, check that they are using a percentage of their primary and secondary words, and modify their strategy … or improve it!
Content structure: Having well-structured content is appreciated by both search engines and users. Use the headlines strategically (you can recalculate your competition) and take advantage of the keywords to keep them in the headlines. Having a hierarchy of content helps Google better identify different parts of the text and guide your readers through it.
What are some popular Grey Hat SEO techniques?
1. Buy or trade link
Purchasing links and trading links is the second most popular grey hat SEO technique used by webmasters to increase the authority and rankings of their websites.
However, such link schemes are technically black SEO strategies as they violate Google’s webmaster guidelines.
This grey hat SEO method comes in four basic forms:
- Purchasing link placement in current article indexed on Google.
- Purchasing a guest post opportunity that has a link back to your website.
- Trading links with another site owner (i.e. I link to you and you link to me).
- Trading a product or service instead of a link to one’s site.
2. Using a Private Blog Network (PBN)
The private blog Network (PBN) is a group of websites that you control, used to create backlinks to a single website to help you rank higher on Google.
Grey Hat PBN’s purpose for SEO purposes is to pass on the highest link equity from the central domain to enhance authority.
PBN is really a black hat SEO strategy, but if you keep it really private without anyone knowing about it and you cover your tracks, Google will not be able to find out if all the websites are yours, so this technique falls in any area of grey hat SEO.
3. Using expired domains
This is a simple grey hat SEO strategy that borders on black and white SEO.
This refers to the purchase of a domain that the owner allows expiring, but there are still many rights due to the number and quality of backlinks pointing to the site.
Grey hat SEO method with expired domains can be implemented in two ways:
- Use 301 redirects to redirect all link power to your current domain to enhance your authority.
- The domain can be renewed before expiration by visiting a site such as a Wayback machine, finding old content archives, and republishing it on the site. It can deliver you a successful website instantly with targeted traffic.
4. Content spinning
Spinning content is another common grey hat SEO method that works to rank in Google. However, this is unethical and not a good practice to follow in the long run.
But here’s how it works:
Spinning content means you take content from another website and then recreate it sentence-wise so that it is not detected by exploit software.
Once the content has been circulated, you will post it on your site so that it ranks the keywords you want to target. This type of spinning material allows you to get a potential duplicate material penalty, which we will cover next.
5. Creating microsites and blogs
Creating a micro-site or blog is a grey hat SEO technique that improves your search engine rankings without any penalty.
It’s like PBN, but the domains you use to link back to your site are more secure because you do not own them. They are also a public network, not a private network.
Common examples of creating micro-sites for SEO purposes are setting up a blog on multiple Web 2.0s and content creation sites with high domain executives such as Medium, Weebly, Blogger, Tumblr, LiveJournal, etc.
6. Increasing keyword density with hidden text
Using hidden text is a black hat SEO method that violates Google’s webmaster guidelines. However, Grey Hat tries to manipulate these terms to hide keywords from the SEO user, allowing them to be crawled by search engines.
The most common grey hat SEO methods for hiding text are:
- Locate the text behind the image.
- Using CSS to keep text off-screen.
- Setting the font size to 0.
Is Grey Hat SEO Illegal?
Grey hat SEO is not illegal. Grey hat does not violate any law through SEO techniques. However, Grey Hat SEO goes against the search engine banning methods that can ban your site from search engine results pages.
I hope you liked this information on what Grey Hat SEO is.
As you may have noticed, Grey Hat (also known as Grey Hat SEO) is a search engine optimization strategy that combines white hat and black hat SEO to improve search engine ranking and visibility for the website.
In many ways, grey hat SEO practices are black hat SEO practices that appear in white. Regardless, most website owners implement these Grey Hat SEO tips to get more traffic to their sites, so it’s good to understand how these methods work online.