As the name suggests, it is somewhere between Black Hat and White Hat or we can say that it is neither Black Hat nor White Hat because the terms of service regarding the issue are unclear. It is said to be riskier, but doesn't possibly result in banning of sites from search engines and their affiliate sites. But, if being used by an expert, it can still be effective. Grey Hat approach is almost like playing with fire if you're not entirely aware of its techniques and tactics, since everything is content-led now.
Gray hat SEO is a set of techniques and strategies that don’t generally adhere to Google’s guidelines but can still be considered acceptable. It is the middle ground between White Hat and Black Hat SEO. It is technically legal, but risky. It is known as grey hat due to the techniques that are somewhat ambiguous (as Black Hat) and do not abide by or go against the terms of services that search engines publish (as White Hat).
Grey hat SEO involves:
• using clickbait (content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page while not delivering value);
• spun (reused and slightly altered) content;
• prolific link exchanges; and
• paying for reviews.
• It’s a mixture of White Hat and Black Hat techniques.
• It’s a tactic that is currently either White or Black Hat but with changes to the ways search engines work could become the opposite in the future.
Both of these definitions have a commonality.
• Gray hat SEO is neither Black Hat nor White Hat, but something in the middle.
• Either transitioning between the two, or a mixture of the two.
• It’s a blurred line.
• Not something that you would willingly inform Google you are doing.
• Not something you should automatically be penalized for.
• It’s not necessarily a bad practice, but it is being done with the intention to get ahead in the rankings.
(1) DOMAIN GRABBING : It means buying expired domains to increase your website's SEO and in order to improve your website's backlink profile this tactic is commonly used. It is of 2 types :
(a) Buying expired domains
(b) Buying new domains
Points to remember while buying domain :
(a) Find domains that are at least of 3 years old.
(b) Clean backlink profile.
(c) Avoid toxic links built domains.
(d) Use internet archive.
(e) Referring domains between 50 to 100.
(2) ADD LENGTH TO YOUR CONTENT : Updating your blog posts with more content is one of the best techniques that you can implement to grow your organic traffic.
Long form of content has the following benefits :
(a) You can reach out to other bloggers to promote your content.
(b) You can attract more backlinks.
(c) You will get more social shares for longer articles.
(d) There will be noticeable growth in your search engine traffic.
(3) CAREFUL KEYWORD STUFFING : As we know Keywords stuffing is a black practice. But, being used carefully it can be effective, if you are maintaining the perfect keyword density, then you can reap the best results from your keyword optimization. Meaning,1% keyword density contains 10 keywords for every 1000 word article.
(4) SOCIAL BOOKMARKING SITES : Doing excessive submission of your website links (new posts, old posts, other blog pages of your site) on social bookmarking sites falls under gray hat SEO but you can stay safe by limiting your number of submissions to 1 or 2. That means if you’re submitting your latest posts or any other posts just once across all the social bookmarking sites, it will not harm or hurt your search rankings. In fact, it gives some little boost in your search rankings as you’ll be getting decent traffic if done right.
(5) LINK EXCHANGE : Automatic link exchanging falls under black hat SEO technique, while, Exchanging links manually belongs to gray hat SEO. Exchanging links with other websites or blog is known as link exchange which is NOT a white hat SEO technique which mostly comes under gray hat SEO. Many people avoid it for the sake of NOT getting penalised by Google.
How to exchange links without getting penalized by Google?
(a) You can build a list of all the relevant blogs in your industry and then start contacting each and every blogger to promote each others content.
(b) One of the best ways to attract links from other websites is to link out to other websites frequently from your content.
As Grey Hat SEO is not wholly illegal, but, it do comes with several consequences. It is the combination of both Black Hat as well as White Hat, thus, acquiring heredity of both. So, if you are unsure that a given method is going to violate Google's guidelines or not, it's probably best to avoid that tactic. Every marketer needs to evaluate risk versus reward on their own terms, but with Google's algorithms getting stricter day-by-day, your safest route as a business should strictly be White Hat SEO.
• Use Private Blogging Network (PBN).
• Submit your website to Web Directories.
• Have several Social Media accounts.
• List yourself on Review Sites.
• Build a Microsite or Blog.
• Build link using Web 2.0 submission.
• Grey Hat SEO may engage links that are not good links to add real value to browsing experience but at the same time not absolutely bad to be dubbed as back door technique geared towards search engine.
• Unnatural sounding keyword density in otherwise unique content. Keyword density is a crucial area of consideration now, especially after new Google algorithm, Google penguin update.
• Content is unique in language but similar in other attributes. Gray Hat SEO tactics that for a long time has enjoyed enough popularity among websites as a better alternative to both copied content or much investment demanding unique and genuine content, but this one area can face genuine Google slash after the new algorithm update.
• Promoting business interest with otherwise natural content. That is really a grey area that cannot be readily dubbed as deplorable, devaluing and derogatory for the web users, yet it risks itself to be on the verge of Google webmaster guidelines. Sometimes web content sounds absolutely natural but without creating much fuss promotes a business interest and still hits the search ranks.