In digital marketing, black hat and white hat SEO are some of the most popular terms used. And even if you don’t really understand what they’re all about, you have probably heard of them.
After all, SEO is one strategy that your digital marketing company utilizes to drive traffic and increase your website’s ranking on search engines. Your agency can be using white hat, which is the clean and ethical technique, or black hat SEO, the risky tactics that break search engine rules to achieve significant results.
But now, here comes another hat color: grey.
What is grey hat SEO all about, and how is it different from black and white hat SEO? Read on to find out.
Gray Hat SEO
If you’ve heard about white hat and black hat SEO, grey hat SEO probably doesn’t ring a bell. It’s a fairly new classification of SEO techniques that don’t have a clear definition, which makes it confusing to the average Joe. If you search about it on the web, you will find different meanings, some of which may even contradict one another. However, an SEO consultant says that grey hat SEO is the “tactics or techniques ill-defined by published material that neither support nor contrast with the spirit of Google’s published guidelines.” This means that grey hat SEO is neither black hat nor white hat but is something in between. It’s in the middle of doing the right techniques that Google approves of and the risky tactics that are manipulative and are clear violations of search engines rules.
Common Gray Hat Techniques
While black hat SEO uses link schemes and keyword stuffing, white hat SEO tactics include creating quality content and using authoritative internal links.
Here are some of the most common techniques in grey hat SEO:
Buying expired domains and linking them to your website: This is an easy and fast way of improving your backlink history, which will help you rank up in the SERPs. In this technique, website owners check if the domain they are buying has a good backlink before proceeding with a 301 redirect.
Social bookmarking: There are social bookmarking websites available where people can share their content and bookmark other content that interest them. It is one way of getting one’s link out in the open.
Exchanging links: This is usually done between two websites with related content or as a result of favors given. Unfortunately, this technique can go bad when done excessively. After all, organic linking is still the ideal strategy.
The most important thing to note about grey hat SEO is that it is not bad, but it is not completely good. It is a tactic that can help your website rank up in the search engine results pages without you having to worry about negative consequences. However, your digital marketing company needs to make sure that the tactic you plan on using does not violate Google’s guidelines. And, if unsure, it’s best not to use it at all.
Unfortunately, grey hat SEO tactics will not stay grey forever. It may be grey now, but it can turn black tomorrow or next year. So, you need to be aware of these changes if you don’t want to suffer lost traffic or, worse, Google’s wrath.