The combination of the two colors black and white becomes gray. (Yes, I know this is a clear explanation and everyone knows it.) In the world of SEO, this color (gray) has its own meaning and is not just an ordinary color. In the virtual world, white hat SEO and black hat SEO techniques are combined with gray hat SEO techniques (Gray Hat SEO). And without a doubt, gray hat SEO is the most controversial and challenging type of SEO. Gray hat SEO is neither allowed nor unauthorized. Search engines may penalize a site for gray hat SEO or pass it by with a smile!
What is Gray Hat SEO? Why should an SEO expert know about gray hat SEO as much as he knows about black and white SEO? Which techniques are considered gray for SEO? And the last very important question: Why is gray hat SEO important to use?
This article is about gray hat SEO and answers the questions posed about this type of SEO site. Before reading about gray SEO, it is better to have a very clear picture of the other two types of SEO, white hat SEO and black hat SEO. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, gray hat SEO is the middle ground in SEO and something between black and white.
Table of Contents
What is Gray Hat SEO?
For search engine SEO, it means white hat SEO. A site with white SEO does not violate any of the guidelines and standards of search engines. Black SEO is clearly the opposite. Black SEO goes against all the guidelines of search engines. Search engines penalize black techniques. The problem with white SEO is that it takes time to get results. So the practical question that arises is: Is it possible to find a way to optimize the site that is faster than white SEO and without penalties?
Yes, the answer to the question is gray hat SEO. There is a lot of controversy about Gray Hat SEO and its techniques. Search engines have not officially said anything about this type of SEO. But it is natural that gray SEO is not correct and principled for search engines. Gray SEO does not use natural SEO techniques in accordance with search engine guidelines. But the way to implement the techniques is in such a way that search engines do not notice anything and the site is not penalized.
The main purpose of gray SEO is not to mislead or deceive search engine algorithms. The purpose of gray hat SEO is to speed up the SEO process. Many SEOs use white SEO and gray hat together.
Why Gray Hat SEO?
So, basically what is the need for gray hat SEO? Sites go according to search engine guidelines and rank and that’s it. It is true that white SEO is time consuming, but in the end, the site ranks. As mentioned, the big problem with white SEO is that it takes a lot of time to rank and follow all the search engine commands. Not all sites, especially store sites, do not have much time.
The competition between businesses and websites is very close. And if someone wants to wait for white SEO, he will be left out of his competitors. In other words, staying ahead of the competition means less sales and less profit and staying unknown. These are the nightmares of any business. Today, marketing without SEO is not possible for most businesses, especially digital businesses. SEO is necessary even for successful branding and brand awareness of different businesses.
So getting to the first page of search engine results (especially Google which is the most popular search engine) is one of the most important goals of most businesses. Gray hat SEO was created to be a way for the site to rank faster in search engines without the risk of serious penalties. But note that the existence of gray SEO does not mean ignoring white hat SEO and this type of SEO is supposed to be done along with the natural process of SEO.
Which techniques are gray hat SEO techniques?
In general, SEO is a set of techniques. SEO has principles, do’s and don’ts. What makes SEO black or gray is the way SEO techniques are performed. Before explaining more about gray SEO techniques, I must say that in order to use gray SEO techniques, you must have implemented all the guidelines related to SEO techniques and on-page SEO completely white. Otherwise, gray SEO will not help much. For example, when the site is slow or the site is not secure, gray hat techniques can not do anything.
External link building of gray type
If external linking is purchased in bulk from low-ranking and unrelated sites, linking is black and has a penalty. Now the question arises, what about external gray link building? It is important for search engines that external links are natural. External link building is more natural gray and does not buy bulk links.
Instead of black techniques, the SEO expert or the SEO team will find content related to the site’s work and content on other sites and blogs and link to their own site in the comment section. In gray hat SEO, if a link is to be purchased; Permanent links are purchased from relevant and reputable sites in limited numbers.
Some argue that the cautious use of the PBN network for backlinks is also a gray SEO technique. But I have to say that Google, like other search engines, suspects these networks and monitors them. The chances of these types of backlinks being fined are very, very high. This technique is closer to black SEO than gray SEO!
Duplicate Content and Automating Content
In terms of search engines and in Google’s guidelines, all site content should have features. Content must be of high quality and produced for the site user. Content should answer the user’s questions and needs. In a word, search engines do not consider content that is only generated for ranking and uses a number of keywords to be white.
In gray SEO, content production is mostly done for the purpose of ranking. That is, in content production, the priority is to attract the attention of search engines and algorithms, and not to attract the user. The SEO expert copies the content from somewhere else, makes changes to it so that the algorithms do not understand that the content is not original. The SEO expert repeats the keywords based on their density in the content and then publishes them on the site. In gray SEO, instead of producing content expertly, artificial intelligence may do so, and even content publishing may be automated.
In gray SEO, there are other things done with content that are actually to build backlinks rather than meeting the user’s needs. Things like:
- Creating multiple blogs and publishing duplicate content from different places and linking to the main site and
- Monetize sites that publish reviews (product usage experience or site rankings on a particular topic) to publish positive reviews and link to the main site.
Buying old and expired domains
Not all domains and not all sites remain active. Some of the expired and inactive domains have very high validity. In gray SEO, the SEO expert buys the expired domain with high credibility and uses 301 redirect to transfer the credibility of that domain to the domain of his site. An SEO expert may also use old content from expired domains for the benefit of his or her site. That means changing old content and republishing it all on the main site or related blogs. In fact, in SEO gray, content production is literally very rare. The point is to use other people’s content to save time and money.
Create multiple accounts on each social network
Social networks and social signals are important in SEO. Their importance is that they show search engines that users are interacting with a business (site) account. This interaction indicates users’ trust in that account. In addition, social media is where users link to the site (that is, it is a place to build backlinks to the site). In Gray Hat SEO, the SEO expert creates multiple user accounts on each social network to link to the main site. The expert may even buy followers or use other tricks to increase social media engagement. Anything abnormal that causes the social signal to rise is not considered white.
Do search engines penalize gray SEO?
Yes, search engines will penalize if they notice something unnatural during SEO. The point is, gray hat SEO is not so abnormal that search engines will notice it right away. But it should not be assumed that search engines will never realize it. There is always the risk of being fined for gray hat SEO.
Just as you and I know what gray hat SEO is and how it is done, so do search engines. That’s why their algorithms are updated regularly. That’s why they strive to be smarter and faster until white hat SEO is the only choice for site optimization.
Gray hat SEO is done in spite of all the risks and disagreements that exist about it. The important question that arises for any SEO expert is what should be done?
Finally, should we use gray hat SEO techniques or not?
Every SEO expert should determine the SEO strategy when it comes to optimizing a site. Perhaps the employer and the project owner want the best results from him in the shortest possible time. It is best to start with the SEO expert explaining the types of SEOs and the risks of each to the project owners. This is a decision that an SEO expert alone cannot and should not make. If the employer wants gray SEO, it will definitely get good results in the short term. But its stability is not a definite result.
Summary and Conclusion
- Is gray SEO a principled and ethical work? No!
- Is gray hat SEO done and some people consider it necessary along with white SEO to rank the site? Yes!
- Should an SEO expert use gray hat SEO techniques? No! There is no need. If the SEO expert and the project owner want lasting results, gray SEO is not a safe choice.
- Are there any other techniques for gray SEO? Yes. In fact, it is possible to find a way to gray out more SEO techniques! Grayness is a relative technique and is defined and evaluated in terms of white and black hat SEO. The techniques introduced in this article are light gray.
- Should gray hat SEO techniques also be taught? Yes. An SEO expert should be familiar with the types of SEO sites.