Have you heard of Robin Hood?
Did you know that Robin Hood and grey hat SEO experts have something in common?
Let us tell you!
Robin Hood was a bow-wielding renegade and legendary figure celebrated for his actions that defied societal norms. Much like this folkloric hero, grey hat link building experts seize an opportunity to redistribute digital wealth, though their motives are far from altruistic.
They challenge the algorithmic order, creating a ripple that can either amplify their digital influence or leave them submerged in the abyss of obscurity.
Grey hat link building thrives on the allure of the unconventional. Just as a certain famous spy occasionally bends the rules to save the day, these link-building mavericks toe the line between ethical and controversial, driven by a quest for advantageous positioning.
But what is grey hat SEO, and what are some of the most commonly used grey hat link building tactics?
We have the answer to that question!
In our article on grey hat link building, we will explore grey hat link building and SEO as well as dissect the tactics that blur the boundaries of traditional SEO and delve into the motivations that propel these individuals into the limelight.
So, let’s dive in:
What Is Gray Hat SEO?
The term grey hat SEO (search engine optimization) originated in the early 2000s as content marketing was making its mark.
So, what is it?
SEO grey hat involves the usage of tactics that have not been explicitly said by Google to be against its set of guidelines, but they might be a little outside of what Google considers to be the best practices for link building and SEO.
For instance, Google promotes obtaining a backlink from a reputable website. However, you might need to send that website a message using their contact form and wait for a response in order to obtain one of them. Due to the fact that you are not submitting a link to them via the Google Search Console, this can still be regarded as a grey hat link building technique.
Obtaining links from forums, directories, and blog comments is another comparable method. Although you interact with the community to develop your own backlinks rather than sending out a crawler to do it for you, the grey hat backlinks aren’t entirely thematically relevant either. Purchasing links from other websites is another of many grey hat SEO techniques.
Amazing Benefits of Grey Hat SEO
While some practitioners argue that grey hat techniques can yield certain benefits, it’s important to note that search engines like Google continuously update their algorithms to discourage manipulative tactics and prioritize high-quality content and user experience.
As a result, the benefits of grey hat SEO can be short-lived and may come with risks. Here are some potential benefits and considerations:
Grey hat techniques might provide quicker results compared to strictly white hat techniques. This could be advantageous for websites looking to gain visibility and traffic in a shorter time frame.
Some grey hat link building methods can be less resource-intensive than completely white hat strategies, potentially making them more cost-effective for certain businesses.
By using grey hat techniques, websites might gain an edge over competitors who strictly adhere to white hat methods. This could lead to improved rankings and visibility in the short term.
Experimentation and Testing
Grey hat link building techniques often involve trying new strategies that fall into a gray area between white hat and black hat. This experimentation might lead to discovering effective methods that aren’t widely known yet.
Grey Hat Link Building Strategies
You want to stay away from any indication of wrongdoing or trying to manipulate algorithms when it comes to link building and search engine optimization (SEO). Black hat SEO tactics can result in penalties like losing page rankings or being de-indexed. Grey hat link building may not result in the harshest penalties from search engines, but there is always some risk involved with using it.
Let’s examine several prevalent grey hat SEO types and techniques:
Using Cold Emails to Contact Prospect Clients
The most commonly used grey hat link building strategy that many SEO experts in digital marketing employ is this one. It is regarded as secure since, unlike purchasing links, no money is exchanged for connections.
The outreach department would send cold emails and market your products or services to people who would have no past experience doing business with you, which is a common practice in SEO link building.
Even while it occasionally becomes spam and some recipients may even report your email, when done correctly and with the right email marketing technology, it may help your company create leads.
Producing and Marketing Content That Doesn’t Provide Any Value to Audiences
Every web page and blog post you create should ideally benefit visitors. Your content may provide answers, direct readers to useful sites, advertise fantastic discounts, and more. The grey hat method of content generation is totally driven by keywords.
You conduct keyword research to identify the most promising alternatives, and then you produce content with no genuine value. Grey hat link building methods simply concentrate on traffic and immediate results rather than offering visitors information.
This grey hat link building strategy is frequently employed to increase the number of people who see adverts while fully understanding that once they click, the user won’t find anything to keep them there. Although the grey hat link building method of content generation may attract visitors (sometimes in large quantities), it is not a long-term successful strategy.
Users won’t stay on your website if they realize it doesn’t give any value. They’ll seek out alternative sources and may decide to stay away from your page in the future.
Additionally, search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing will notice that your bounce rate is really high and look into it further. You want to make sure that you’re covering each issue in as much detail as you can while creating blog entries. Although the Skyscraper SEO strategy can be effective, your articles don’t necessarily need to be lengthier than those of your rivals.
Ideally, your content should be more interesting, simple to read, and present facts in a comprehensible manner. Once more, directly address the search intentions of your users.
Keyword Stuffing in Articles and Other Content Forms
A few years ago, cramming your website with keywords helped you rank higher in the search engine results pages. Now, it’s more complicated.
Google and other search engines have become smarter and have caught on to what tactics people are using to rank quickly.
Since Google’s algorithm is now far more intelligent than it was previously, having the proper number of keywords is essential to ranking higher. Additionally, readers are also involved as well as the algorithm. The user experience will suffer, and your site’s rating will suffer if you stuff your content with too many keywords.
So, instead of utilizing this grey hat link building tactics, what can you do?
Here are a few options for you:
- Make content that has been thoroughly researched
- Ensure that there is a lot of depth in your content.
- Cover a wide range of subjects
- Assemble pillars and content clusters
- Publish in-depth articles with long-tail keywords.
Using Expired Domains
There are occasions when you’ll come across a domain name with a lengthy history but no owner. There are frequently domains for sale with a large number of backlinks. Instead of beginning from scratch, buying them can help you build a website with a lot of authority right out of the gate.
One instance of grey hat link building and SEO is purchasing an expired domain. This method allows you to purchase expired domains and divert their traffic to another website. With that strategy, you can transfer some link “juice” from a website that search engines already see as trustworthy.
By looking at cached copies of its content, you can attempt to restore a complete website if you really want to go the extra mile. In this manner, you can take control of a completely functional website that might perform well right away. The domain might go to an unrelated website if you redirect it, though.
Similarly, if you purchase an expired domain in order to restore its website, you should have some familiarity with the market you’re targeting. It’s not glamorous to create a content library and backlinks from the start. However, it’s the most effective technique to build a website that doesn’t rely on dubious grey hat link building strategies and instead provides valuable material.
Creating and Posting Duplicate Content
This is one of the most frequently used grey hat SEO techniques. Creating geography based content is very prominent among local SEOs. Instead of developing unique content for each city where they operate, SEO experts merely update the existing information.
In other words, you’ll discover duplicate content in every city where the business operates. The name of the city will be the only variation. Unfortunately, despite utilizing this link building tactic, many websites are performing well. Google would soon learn about that, though.
Prospects may not think you are lazy for copying stuff from Google, but they might. As a result, their desire to work for you or with you might stop existing altogether.
How can you find a way around this tactic of grey hat SEO?
Here’s what you need to do:
Create and market unique and one-of-a-kind content for every city.
This grey hat link building tactic occurs when a website develops several spammy links to the websites of its rivals. It is a strategy where a user sabotages rival websites using black hat SEO techniques. Due to Google’s ability to recognize and eliminate fraudulent links, this will no longer be effective.
Those found guilty of it will face a very harsh penalty because it is an illegal activity. You can outperform your competition with top-notch content rather than damaging their websites.
Now, the question is:
How can you create content that can help you beat your rivals?
Choose the keywords that will work best for your audience, then make content with your user’s search intent in mind. The same term can be used in two distinct articles with different search intent. Decide what your target user is searching for in regard to a phrase when they search for it, and include it in your articles, web content, or other content formats.
Then come the backlinks that you need to work on. Websites with a very high domain authority can be contacted by your outreach team or you directly to request backlinks. Although this falls under the category of grey hat SEO strategies, you won’t be punished or blacklisted for doing it. Thus, it is safe to utilize.
Furthermore, you may increase the authority of your page and your ranking in search engine result pages by using high-quality backlinks in your content.
Gaining Social Shares With Multiple (Fake) Accounts
It’s totally acceptable to share your content and guest articles on your social media accounts. In actuality, that tactic is completely a white hat tactic. The networks on which you can share the content are also unrestricted. You can utilize each of them, including Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
The only problem with social shares is when you make multiple fake profiles to get more responses. This is a grey hat link building hack.
Then what should you do instead of making multiple profiles to get more shares?
- Discover the best hashtags, captions, image copies, and summaries for social media.
- Encourage the sharing of your social media posts among your followers, family, mutuals, and friends.
- Moreover, create trivia events from time to time to honor the highest ratings.
Depending on who you ask, buying links might be considered a black hat or grey hat link building strategy. Link trading or buying is considered “link scheming,” according to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This tactic is discouraged since it is a way to trick search engine algorithms. In reality, SEO experts and website owners are huge fans of link buying and trading.
Some websites and directories disguise the tactic by charging for guest blogging (or “sponsored” content), which effectively amounts to link purchasing. This is in that murky grey area because there are tags you can use to designate sponsored articles, which brings it closer to white hat techniques, but those aren’t applied as frequently as they should be.
Link buying may be incredibly profitable if you have ample funds and focus on the proper websites. Excellent search engine optimization outcomes are quick to come by. If the owner chooses to take down a backlink, you are defenseless. It’s possible for organic backlinks to have the same effect.
However, you are not out of pocket in that situation. You’re not breaking the Google Webmaster Guidelines because you’re building links naturally; thus, you won’t face penalties.
The use of duplicate content is just as careless a strategy as spinning content. It requires a user to use AI techniques to process their existing content. The data and content will be rewritten and spun by the AI tool. However, the outcome is not always ideal.
Furthermore, just because you spin an article doesn’t guarantee it won’t sound exactly like the original. Frequently, the tools just swap out terms with their synonyms. And that could result in your content being aimless and pointless.
So, how can you save yourself from such a grey situation?
- Employ professionals to revise or rewrite your content.
- Use the RIGHT command if using AI writing tools is a necessity for you.
- Even more, crucially, edit the final product to make it sound more natural.
Using Hosted Blogging Platforms to Get Backlinks
Platforms for blogging, like Medium or Tumblr, already have audiences. A high-value backlink to another website can be included in your blog post if you can manage to get it to read and share on one of these websites. On a platform like Medium or Tumblr, building backlinks is considered a grey hat SEO tactic.
This SEO strategy can be considered more white hat than black hat. Almost light grey. You are not breaking any regulations if you create posts with content that readers want to read and link to another website because it is pertinent. That is the proper method to follow. On websites like Medium, it’s uncommon for a blog article to receive a lot of attention. The majority of clicks frequently go to only popular authors or viral publications.
In addition, some users have created numerous blogs and newsletters on platforms like Medium and Tumblr in order to connect them to a personal blog network. That is expressly prohibited by Google’s black hat policies. If you don’t already have a large following or become extremely successful and go viral, adding backlinks to Medium, Tumblr, and other similar platforms won’t help your original website much.
Alternatively, you should hunt for guest blogging opportunities from people who are already well-known on those platforms or produce new content directly on the website you’re attempting to rank.
Making Frequent Changes to Your Website
Even a small change to the code, text, or fonts tricks search engines into believing you’ve changed the site’s content. By doing that without actually adding new content, you can earn some coffee.
Yes! You read that right.
Fresh and freshly updated content receives higher scores following the Google Caffeine upgrade. This score is significantly influenced by the rate, magnitude, and even location of change. For instance, does the change happen every day, every week, every month, or more?
- Is the alteration one paragraph or the entire manuscript, little or large?
- Where did the change take place? In the navigation bar, main text, etc.
Paying for Reviews
Google gives search results with favorable evaluations the highest priority because these recommendations typically make visitors happier. You’re more likely to show up among the top results in your area if you run a successful local SEO campaign and have excellent customer reviews.
Unfortunately, it frequently takes a lot of time to receive positive evaluations. A few five-star reviews could come in immediately after a business is launched, but gathering hundreds of reviews takes time. Some business owners avoid that waiting period by purchasing favorable reviews. This could be considered a black hat SEO technique. However, the benefit of grey hat link building and SEO is that it can be challenging to spot.
Google review purchasing is one of the grey hat SEO types. Similar to buying followers on social media, buying nice reviews. The testimonials frequently add little value to your account because they are plainly phony. More significantly, Google’s terms of service allow it to delete bogus reviews at any moment.
You will have lost money and have no recourse, much like when you buy backlinks. Although this strategy can help you soar in local SEO rankings, it also exposes your company to a lot of hazards. If Google decides to penalize you, it may have a long-term effect on your business listing.
Is Grey Hat Link Building Worth the Risk?
Grey hat link building involves using techniques that are not explicitly considered black hat (unethical or against search engine guidelines) but are still questionable in terms of their long-term viability and ethical standing.
While some experts say that grey hat link building can offer short-term benefits, there are several reasons why it’s generally not considered worth the risks:
Search engines, particularly Google, are constantly updating their algorithms to identify and penalize manipulative link-building tactics. What might work today could lead to penalties tomorrow, causing a significant loss in search visibility and traffic.
Grey hat link-building techniques don’t have a consistent track record. While they might deliver temporary gains, there’s no guarantee of sustained positive outcomes.
Short-Term Gains, Long-Term Consequences
Grey hat link building can provide quick boosts in rankings or traffic, but these gains are usually short-lived. The penalties or loss of rankings that can follow such tactics can have long-lasting negative effects.
Reputation and Trust
Engaging in questionable link-building practices can harm your website’s reputation and trustworthiness among both users and search engines. This can lead to decreased user engagement, increased bounce rates, and a loss of credibility.
Quality Over Quantity
Search engines increasingly emphasize the quality and relevance of links. Grey hat tactics often involve obtaining low-quality, irrelevant, or spammy links, which can have a detrimental impact on your site’s authority and rankings.
Investing time, effort, and resources in grey hat link building could be better spent on building high-quality content, fostering genuine relationships within your industry, and employing white hat link-building techniques that have a more positive and lasting impact.
Grey hat tactics might not be explicitly against guidelines, but they can still raise ethical concerns. Engaging in practices that skirt the edge of ethical boundaries can conflict with your business’s values and reputation.
In summary, while grey hat link building might offer some short-term benefits, the risks, and potential negative consequences outweigh the potential gains. Instead of pursuing questionable tactics, it’s generally recommended to focus on white hat link-building strategies that prioritize building high-quality, relevant, and authoritative links over time. These strategies are more aligned with search engine guidelines, ethical considerations, and the long-term success of your website.
Grey Hat SEO vs. Black Hat SEO vs. White Hat SEO
White hat SEO is at one end of the range of SEO techniques, and black hat SEO is at the other.
Here is a simple explanation:
Black hat SEO is wholly against search engine standards, suggestions, and best practices, whereas grey hat link building and SEO are “tweaked” to promote rankings in search engine result pages.
White hat SEO and link building are what you should focus on when it comes to SEO strategies. It entails producing unique, high-quality content, ethical link building through connections, link exchanges, or guest blogging, and providing a website user experience that is extremely beneficial.
Black hat SEO tactics are used to manipulate the search engine results pages (SERPs) in order to obtain quick and simple results. Black hat SEO techniques, such as using crawlers and software to establish backlinks to your website, producing duplicate content, utilizing doorway pages on your website, or rerouting through expired domains, will cause search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo to penalize your website.
You won’t get any organic visitors, and your page won’t be indexed in their results. Your website may be destroyed by black hat SEO techniques.
Contrarily, gray hat link building methods fall within this range. They generally focus on link-building tactics and SEO techniques to increase traffic to your website and tread a fine line between being in compliance with Google’s policies and going too far.
In conclusion, the world of SEO is constantly evolving, and the allure of grey hat link-building techniques may seem tempting due to the promise of quick results. However, it’s crucial to consider the broader implications and potential risks associated with these strategies.
Grey hat link building sits in a precarious middle ground between white hat and black hat practices. While it may offer short-term gains in search rankings and traffic, these benefits often come at a high cost. Search engines like Google are becoming increasingly sophisticated in detecting manipulative tactics, and the penalties for engaging in grey hat practices can be severe – ranging from decreased rankings to complete de-indexing.
Furthermore, the long-term consequences of grey hat link building can negatively impact your website’s reputation, user experience, and credibility. As search engines prioritize high-quality, relevant, and organic links, focusing on white hat strategies that foster genuine relationships, create valuable content, and engage with your target audience is a more sustainable and ethical approach.
Ultimately, the best way to navigate the complexities of SEO is to align your efforts with search engine guidelines, industry best practices, and the long-term goals of your website.