Greyhat SEO Explained for Beginners (Updated May 2020)

What is grey hat SEO?

Grey hat SEO sits somewhere in the middle, using tactics that could be seen as manipulative and are riskier than white hat tactics, yet aren’t as obvious a violation of Google’s terms than black hat. As grey hat SEO practices are riskier than white hat SEO practices, there is still a questionable risk associated with grey hat SEO practices.

Generally, Gray Hat SEO practices belong in neither the Black Hat nor White Hat category because the terms of service regarding the issue are unclear.

Gray Hat SEO is difficult to define. In the words of SEO Consultant John Andrews: 

Gray Hat SEO is not something between Black Hat and White Hat, but rather “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.”

-John Andrews, SEO Consultant

Common Grey hat SEO Practices

Note: these practices could be questionable and haven’t been fully defined in Google’s terms of service. Do further research on the results and experiments of these grey hat SEO strategies on Google’s search engine results page before trying these strategies:

  • Domain grabbing: Domain Grabbing is the process of buying expired domains and linking it to your website. This practice is popular for those who want to improve their back link profiles fast and easy and accelerate the process of ranking on the search engine results page. Simply done, check if the domain you are buying has good backlinks, and then do a 301 redirect of the whole domain to your website.
  • Link building in web 2.0 websites: Web 2.0 websites posses the capability for users have the ability to collaborate with the webmasters. For Google, links where users have the control of its approval, anchor text, placement, etc. is unethical. However, the purpose of Web 2.0 sites is collaboration and reward people who contribute by allowing them to link out to their own websites or resources.Examples of Web 2.0 are Wikipedia, Quora, Medium, WikiHow, and Reddit. 
  • Link exchanging: Generally, link exchanges are fine. If both webmasters have content related to each other, why not link to each other as resources right? It is when people abuse this strategy that it goes bad. To Google, the most ideal way of getting a link is organic, people read your content, people like your content, people link to your content and it makes sense. Don’t overdo your link exchanging, and you’ll be fine!
  • Social bookmarking: Social bookmarking websites are places that allow users to submit and share their content for promotion and bookmark other content that fits their interest for later reading. Websites like Folkd and Mix (formerly StumbleUpon) are popular because not only can you dump your links around but could also get some referral traffic.


White-hat SEO Explained For Beginners (Updated May 2020)

Black hat SEO Explained for Beginners (Updated May 2020)

White hat SEO or Black hat SEO? Which Strategy is Better?

Everything You Need to Know About Search Engine Optimization (The Ultimate Beginner Guide 2020)

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