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Nickey Pickorita
Nickey Pickorita 11 March 2020

Gray Hat SEO Explained - Which SEO Type Should You Use?

Are you looking to increase your website's rankings but are not sure what type of SEO to use to get optimal results? This article explains what Gray Hat SEO is, and which type of SEO you should be using to increase your organic rankings. We compared Gray hat vs Black hat vs White hat and explained the top 5 Gray Hat Tips and Tricks that readers can use.

Gray Hat SEO Explained - Which SEO Type Should You Use?

We don’t need to tell you that Google is pretty clear on wanting website owners to stick to its guidelines. The problem with this is that it can sometimes take months, or even longer, to get a high enough SEO score to reach the top of the search results.

But there is a way around this. Using gray hat SEO, you can get a boost in ranking and traffic without actually breaking the rules. Below we’ll go over the three main types of SEO, the benefits of gray hat SEO, and the top 5 ways you can start using it.

White vs Gray vs Black

We should start by defining exactly what gray hat SEO is and how it’s different from other types of SEO.

White hat SEO is comprised of practices that fall strictly in line with search engine guidelines, the most important of which is Google. With white hat SEO, you can be sure your traffic, and by extension, SEO rank will grow in an organic way. However, this might take a while.

Black hat SEO means you’re intentionally going against search engine guidelines while trying to boost your search result rank. Although this approach can lead to short term growth, your website is almost guaranteed to get penalised, or even removed from results.

Gray hat SEO bridges this gap by using techniques that take advantage of ambiguous or unclear rules. These techniques might be frowned upon, but aren’t actually prohibited and won’t lead to penalisation.

Why Choose Gray Hat SEO?

As we mentioned above, using gray hat SEO can give your SEO score a quick kickstart. It does come with its risks, though.

If you do choose to go this route, keep in mind that Google’s rules and guidelines are constantly changing. What might be a gray hat technique today can become a black hat one tomorrow, without any warning.

This means that even if you do get that initial SEO boost, your website can still get penalised if at some point Google decides what you’re doing is no longer acceptable.

Top 5 Gray Hat Tips and Tricks

If you’re still willing to risk it, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 gray hat SEO techniques. Bear in mind that these will only give you a temporary SEO score increase. In the end, white hat SEO is still the only way to ensure long-term growth and reputation.

Expired Domains

This technique leans on the practice of building domains with high authority in your industry. Once one of these domains expires, you can swoop in and buy it.

Adding a website with a few pages of useful content will help you maintain a high domain authority, while at the same time allowing you to leave links back to your main website. This way you will also indirectly increase the authority of your own domain.

One thing to consider is that you should look for domains that hosted websites related to your niche. Buying up random domains with unrelated content can do more harm than good in the long run.

Refurbishing Content

If you already have a blog section on your website (and you definitely should), you should look at the length of your posts. In general, they should reach 1,000 to 1,500 words, or even 2,000 or more if you’re in an industry with high competition.

If you find your posts fall short of this mark, try and find new, useful information you can add. Make sure you’re not simply adding filler text, and you should see renewed traffic on older posts.

Spinning content is another technique you can try if you want to add more blog posts. This usually means taking one of the top-ranked blog posts from a competitor and rewording it.

Creating a blog post this way will let you avoid plagiarism claims, but only if you use multiple posts as sources. Spinning only one post is a great way to have the original creator report you to Google.

Reviews and Comments

Creating a profile on Yelp or Crowd is a good way of creating more organic traffic. Even though you run a risk or negative reviews, having plenty of positive ones will draw more visitors to your website.

Make sure you’re not using paid reviews, though. Google is pretty strict about this and is sure to penalise your website if you use them.

Another way to interact with your visitors is through a comment section, usually added to your blog posts. You might even have other website owners leaving links to their websites, which can lead to great opportunities for link building.

Link Building

On that note, don’t be shy about leaving links to your website on other sites.

You should always make sure you include it in a useful and constructive comment, or you might get flagged for spam.

Social Media

You probably already have profiles for your business on a number of social media platforms as a part of your digital marketing campaign. While this is pretty standard and definitely falls within white hat SEO, it can still be turned into a gray hat technique.

The way to do this is by creating dummy accounts that will link back to your main account. The most popular example is creating a social media profile for your pet. The cure content you post will drive traffic that you can then divert to your main account.

Since many people don’t look too kindly on dummy accounts, you should only use this method if you’re absolutely sure.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, gray hat SEO techniques aren’t that much different from white hat methods. They still lean on the core aspects of SEO, such as creating useful content, interacting with your visitors and maintaining a social media presence.

The biggest difference is that the gray hat methods find ways to go around certain rules that aren’t that well defined. This way, they offer faster results than a white hat, but still, carry their own risks.

In the end, you should calculate the risks and potential gains of using gray hat SEO. If you find you can achieve quick success without risking Google penalising your website, go for it. If not, it’s best to stick to white hat SEO.

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