Reasons to Avoid Grey Hat SEO for Your Website

Are you familiar with the term grey hat SEO? If you are running a website and using SEO to market yourself, there are a few techniques that you need to know. They include back hat SEO, white hat SEO, and grey hat SEO.

The black and white terms derived from the old cowboy movies where the good guys wore white hats and the bad guys wore black hats. When it comes to SEO, black hat techniques are unethical ways to achieve high ranking which can cost you a lot if you get caught by Google.

White hats are ethical ways of driving traffic into your site. Now, we have the grey SEO which falls in between. It is the grey areas of SEO. Technically they are neither good nor bad. Grey hat techniques may be legal today but not tomorrow. In other words, they are unpredictable. So, is it wise to use them in your SEO? I don’t think so. Grey hat SEO is surrounded by many misconceptions. Some people believe that cloaking paid links and duplicate content as a grey hat when they are outlawed by Google and may lead to penalties if you are caught using them. This means that they are black hat.

It’s easy to use black hat SEO but is also hard to get away with it. If you are not sure of whether a technique is a black hat or not, you can always refer to the search engines ‘what not to do’ documents. However, Google finds it hard sometimes to establish whether you have broken the rules or not. A good example is using paid-for links. The reason why you should avoid grey hat SEO is because of their unpredictability. You may use them today in your SEO Services, but as soon as Google notices to prevent them, they will turn black which is not good for your SEO. Here are some examples of grey hat SEO and why you should avoid them.

Cloaking

Cloaking

Cloaking is a grey hat SEO technique that gives the user a different result than what search engines show. Google has termed this technique as high risk and it’s in violation of its rules. I think it should fall into the black hat category. However, some don’t think that it’s a bad SEO technique. Cloaking is achieved by altering Meta information, to prevent it from reflecting the content. This also tampers with the IP address of a site.

Another form of cloaking is doorway pages. This refers to large sets of pages, optimized for a keyword or phrase that directs the user to one site. This malicious technique is meant to manipulate bots and deceive users into visiting an unintended site. The technique also corrupts multiple pages of the same site with keywords of locations to benefit from as many keywords as possible. Seriously, I don’t understand why cloaking is not viewed as a black hat SEO technique. Hopefully, Google will outlaw it in the future.

Fabricate news

Fabricate news

Another grey hat SEO technique that people use is fabricating news. They take advantage of news websites that are desperate for content. Many of these news websites have not put in place measures to establish the authenticity of their news sources. This may get you a few backlinks but it’s not worth it. The problem comes when the fabricated news blows out of proportion and people start flocking in to establish its source. This may even cost you your career or business if it reaches the legal battle field. Before pulling such a stunt in the name of SEO efforts ask yourself what are the consequences of your actions. Nope, it’s not worth a penny!

Use Negative SEO

This is the greyest of them all. This is a dirty trick that unscrupulous companies use to make their competitors look bad by writing negative reviews about them so that your ranking goes up. This technique involves several tricks including, Google bowling, promoting non-offending content, site infection, false duplicated content, AdSense banning, black social bookmarking denial of service attacks, and many more. Unless you are not offering the best products and services, I don’t see why not sell. This move is usually used by companies that offer poor services or low-quality products and are not confident. The only way to counter its competitors is by making them look bad. With time this will backfire on you.

Old Domains

Old Domains

This is a technique where a webmaster uses old abandoned or unused domains to use them as backlinks. One may look for these domains and link them to their site to improve their rankings. These domains are usually authoritative so that it looks as if it is of high quality. I won’t advocate for this technique since Google will eventually catch up with you and you will get penalized for using such a trick to improve your ranking.

Link chaining

Back in the days, there were no search engines and businesses ended up creating ‘web rings’, which were sites joining up a group or ‘web ring’ and each site puts a bit of JavaScript code on their page. The web ring then wrote links into this code to allow each website in the ring to form links to the next one. This allowed sites to cycle between all the sites in the ring. This technique is similar to this where sites create rings of sites and each link to the next one in the ring. Each site only links to one site and all of them have different IP addresses. This is not so bad since the ground is leveled for fairness.

Duplicate Content

Duplicate Content

Content is everything when it comes to establishing site authority. That is why all SEO efforts are directed towards it. Quality is always emphasized on content since search engine factors qualify content to rank websites. Text spinners SEO toolsare effective but it’s still a dodgy idea to apply them in your site SEO. You may think that this method is a shortcut to create content fast, but eventually, it’s going to get noticed by Google due to numerous grammatical errors brought by spinning the text. Again, this is a short term trickery that won’t get you anywhere and you may end up being penalized by Google. The best approach to this is to follow the right process and create quality content that ranks high in the search engines for its worth. If you don’t have time to create quality content, why not high a professional writer to do it for you?

Use targeted paid directory

This grey hat SEO technique is a sneaky one. It involves bad-mouthing or portraying your competitors badly. For example, you may want to promote your power tools so you call your site ‘power tools review website’. You then add your all competitors to the directory. In the following few weeks add some content. After a couple of weeks, change the website again and include that all linking sites need an inclusion fee of $9.99.Report your competitors to the directory admin for paying for links, hoping to get them into trouble. This may elevate your site but not for long plus you will create enemies in an industry which is not healthy for your business.

Purchasing Links

Purchasing Links

If you are tempted to use this technique to get high ranking, my advice would be a simple don’t. You if you get caught using this uncouth method of getting backlinks, you’ll simply get penalized by Google. There is no need to risk your ranking by using this unscrupulous technique that may or may not work. The best way to do it is to list your site on relevant industry directories since this is allowed and works effectively without any risk. Many are not sure whether guest posting constitutes of buying links. If money didn’t exchange hands, there is nothing to worry about.

Pay for reviews

This is not such a bad practice and it’s perfectly legal. It involves hiring people to write reviews for you in exchange for money. There are many people out there who are more than willing to get paid for writing reviews both positive and negative. It becomes unethical when you start hiring people to write negative reviews about your competitors to make their products and services look bad. Either way, they are all shortcuts and you know what they say about them –they are always dangerous and won’t yield so much.

Social Media Automation and Buying Followers

Social Media Automation and Buying Followers

Don’t get me wrong when I talk about social automation. I am not referring to using tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule posts as these are legitimate tools for saving time when dealing with multiple accounts. What I am talking about are automated tools that auto-follow and unfollow 1000s of social media users without much effort. Since this technique has not made it to Google’s blacklist yet, it is regarded as a grey hat SEO. The reason being that social signal is beginning to make sense in search engines. You may be tempted to use this technique to deceive search engines that you have a crowd of followers, but in a real sense, there is no engagement and you may infect your real followers with malware. It is easy to tell fake followers as their Twitter profiles are faceless. Although getting authentic followers aren’t an overnight thing, but it will be worth it in the long run. So work on your content to give visitors a reason to follow you.

Content repositioning

Since many people only read the first few sentences on your web page, you need them to see what is important to you first. You need to capture their attention before their patience runs out. The best thing to do this is rearranging your items so that the call to action appears at the top of the web page. The setback is that keyword themed content that is likely to grab the attention of search engines will have no positive effect on the visitor and SEO efforts will be in vain.

Conclusion

If you are running an online business, you need to set long and short term goals. Businesses that are not focused will use the grey hat techniques as shortcuts to reach where they are going. Using a grey hat SEO method to get ahead will only work for a short while or in some instances may not work at all. To make it worse, grey hats eventually turn black when Google realizes that they bring unfair competition. Focused businesses know this very well and will only use white hat techniques for their SEO. In the worst-case scenario, using grey hat SEO may get you penalized or lose your domain altogether. Therefore, it is ideal to use white hat techniques that won’t cost you anything.

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One Comment

  1. Wow! This is a great piece of information here, thanks for sharing. T

    Truth is, SEO ranking isn’t any task. Some people that run these gray hat techniques, do that with good, if not great intentions. Competition is quite stiff, but treading on the right oath is the best course to chart.

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