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    Grey Hat SEO: Is It Worth Messing With Google Guidelines? [Proven Tactics Inside]

    They both were standing opposite each other. Each had a gun ready to shoot. Only the noise of the rolling mill broke the silence. Both white hat and black hat SEO were ready to struggle for the win in the wild space of Google. Suddenly they heard a clatter of horse hooves, and a third guy appeared on the road. He wore a grey hat.

    In this article, I’ll introduce you to a three-faced SEO including white, black, and grey hat approaches. Are you afraid of playing with Google’s guidelines but still want to go a little bit further in your SEO experiments by applying grey hat techniques?

    Learn here about different hat types in SEO and discover the most effective grey hat tactics that can increase your website ranking in no time without being penalized by Google. Are you ready for a deep dive?

    grey hat seo

    The Three Colors of Search Engine Optimization: White, Black, and Grey Hat SEO

    “Hats” are the metaphor, according to which SEO professionals perform link building activities of different types. They are divided by the level of compliance with Google’s webmaster guidelines and mean three approaches: legal, illegal, and semi-legal.

    White Hats

    If you are following Google’s rules in 100% cases when you do anything to get your site a top spot in the search results, you wear a “white hat.” White hat SEO focuses on the content and accessibility of the website, making sure that the material is as exciting and useful as possible.

    The Earth turns faster around the Sun by the minute, and the web becomes more saturated with competitor’s alternatives by the same pace. It is challenging to stand out from the hundreds of search results if you follow purely white hat SEO tactics.

    Black Hats

    To rank high on Google by applying “white” techniques is quite a time-laborious and complicated task. That is why people have discovered the easy but quite risky way to build links, which is called black hat SEO. If you buy links and look for other tactics to bypass Google’s algorithms, you are a “black hat.”

    These practices give fast results which, however, are short-term and inorganic. “Black hats” usually create much of SPAM and break Google’s rules to manipulate the search results.

    Gray Hats

    Those who employ grey hat SEO seem to be realists who understand that there is no chance to rank well on Google by using purely “white” tactics. Grey hat techniques are the golden mean of the SEO process, and for the most part, they align with Google’s rules except for link acquisition.

    Many companies do not have time to wait for rankings and traffic as they need immediate results. In this case, the SEO professionals wear grey hats and start applying tactics that are not absolutely honest with Google algorithms but don’t violate webmaster’s guidelines boldly. In conditions of the modern digital space, to stay on the “white side” means to do nothing for your search engine optimization.

    Many professionals who say that they build links fast and safe play, actually, in shades of grey.

    types of SEO

    Shades of Grey: 6 Most Effective SEO Tactics

    You are free to choose the “hat” which will work best in a particular situation but keep each tactic’s pros and cons in mind to avoid negative consequences.

    I have evaluated risks versus rewards and gathered a collection of the most effective grey hat techniques that will improve your site’s ranking without being penalized.

    1. Use keyword stuffing

    No need to write colossal research articles and publish them on your website if you only aim to improve your SEO. You can saturate the existing content (or write a new piece) with target keywords. Although such text can look a bit unnatural and spun, it will surely bring more traffic to a website that inevitably cause a significant positive change in your website metrics.

    keyword stuffing example

    2. Submit a website to web directories

    This technique allows you to get the high-quality backlinks which will increase your Domain Rating. You can submit your site to various web directories under the relevant category. The platforms differ so you should make sure that you have chosen the one which can generate high-quality links for you.

    reverb review

    3. Build links using Web 2.0 submission

    Web 2.0 refers to all dynamic content types which can be easily updated by web users. Do you remember the good old Wikipedia, Quora, and Medium? These are the best examples of Web 2.0 content.

    By publishing your content on these web-resources with a link to your website, you can present your company as an expert in a particular field and get a no-follow backlink (or a do-follow link in case of Wikipedia). These platforms engage the audience quickly, just stay consistent and active in publishing content there. This tactic will help you improve your search engine optimization converting user engagement into more organic traffic on your website.

    grey hat seo quora

    4. Utilize schema markup

    Schema markup is one of the latest innovations in SEO. It is a code which you place on your site to help Google deliver users more informative search results.

    You can structure the data on your site, giving Google additional clues into what kind of content is published there and why. This tactic goes a bit further than creating meta tags. You can tell the search engines that you have posted a particular type of data like an image, a video, etc. to get more relevant traffic.

    11 structure data markup

    5. Build a micro-website or blog

    By creating a micro-website, you can grow the number of backlinks for your main site. This technique does not violate Google’s guidelines; it is totally safe for your website.

    Moreover, you can generate only high-quality backlinks since you can choose what anchors and links to use in the content on your micro-site. You do not need to duplicate the content there to make it unique and relevant to boost the visibility of your primary website.

    A nice example of utilizing this grey hat SEO technique is the affiliate blog of iGMS where the regularly describe the practical tips relevant to their industry and naturally, put a lot of backlinks to the primary resource.

    Screenshot 4

    6. Spin content

    It is an old-school SEO tactic which is still effective even today. It is the kingpin of the World Wide Web and all search engine optimization efforts. To spin the content means to take someone else’s content, slightly rewrite it, and post it on your behalf.

    When spinning content, make sure it’s not considered plagiarism by Google (uniqueness 65%<). This grey SEO technique is often applied for link building with article posting.

    Bonus: 10 Additional Grey Hat Techniques

    The grey hat SEO offers plenty of solutions that can improve your site’s visibility. Below, I list ten witty tips on how to make secure grey hat SEO activity while avoiding Google’s penalization.

    1. Make your content longer since it works better when it comes to generating traffic.
    2. Create several social media accounts for your company to self-promote them.
    3. Add a comment box to your web pages and invite anyone to comment. It allows enriching a website with fresh content without effort on your side.
    4. Buy expired domains to improve your website backlinks.
    5. Carefully submit your website links on social bookmarking sites, but be careful about overdoing it.
    6. Motivate users to write positive reviews about your company (or simply create fakes ones).
    7. Make small adjustments to the published articles on your blog to make Google think that you have published fresh content and send more traffic to it.
    8. Add “Facebook Like,” “Tweet This” and other social sharing buttons on a website whenever you can.
    9. Claim your local business listing to get your site delivered to locally relevant SERPs.
    10. Make an excuse to link back to yourself when putting relevant comments on different blogs.


    As it has been mentioned before, you are free to choose the color of hat you want to wear in a specific situation. Make sure that you know about all the pitfalls of different hat types, especially “dark” tactics that have the short-term advantage but break Google’s webmaster guidelines. Keep in mind that the success of grey techniques is a matter of chance and continually changing search engine algorithms.

    Thus, I recommend applying white hat tactics and publishing only high-quality content on your website. However, none of us believe in pink unicorns, most are realists, so we should understand that the “shades of grey” can be beneficial for your SEO, too. Just be sure you know what you are doing in order to not play with fire and upset Google.

    And what SEO techniques do you prefer in your work? Do you use a grey hat approach or you’re Law Abiding Citizen wearing the white hat? Share your experience in comments.

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