Grey Hat SEO

Jake Sheridan
Nov 3, 2021

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For those people who are looking to build their own websites with a healthy dose of backlinks, they have been watching the scene for quite some time. With the recent changes in Google’s algorithm, there has been a rise in “grey hat SEO”, or SEO that is done not strictly by following Google’s guidelines.

This article looks at what grey hat SEO is, and how it affects search engine optimization campaigns today. It examines how this has changed over time and what you need to be doing to stay on top of your game.

What is Grey Hat SEO?

The term “grey hat SEO” has been around since the early 2000s. Generally speaking, grey hat SEO is the practice of using techniques that are not strictly against Google’s guidelines but perhaps a little outside what would be considered best practice.

For example, getting a backlink from an authority site is something that Google encourages. However, in order to get one of these, you may have to send that website a request through their contact form and wait for them to reply. This can still be considered grey hat because you’re not sending them a link through the Google Search Console.

Getting links from blog comments and forums is another similar technique. You’re not sending out a crawler to do the link building for you but instead engaging with the community to create your own backlink, but the links aren’t perfectly topically relevant either. Another grey hat practice is buying links from other websites.

Source: The Web Hospitality 

Why is Grey Hat SEO Important?

Understanding how pages rank in search engines, in particular Google, and how to optimize your website’s performance is key in getting organic traffic to your website, and in turn, making a profitable site.

Grey hat SEO is important because it allows you to build your presence on the web without going through a cycle of disavow files and black hat techniques. It also gives your site more credibility and helps with the Google algorithm.

Not only that, it will also help you gain more traffic from people who visit your site via content that is not based solely on search engines.

What are some Gray Hat SEO examples?

There are many examples of grey hat SEO today. Some of these include:

  1. Commenting on blogs in a way that will get you a backlink. The most common way is not directly to ask for the link in the comment but instead to mention the article in your comment and read what other people have said about it. You can also leverage specific phrases within your comment that will be related to the article if someone decides to pull it up again.
  2. Reaching out to potential links via a cold email. This is one of the most common grey hat practices. You can even use a tool such as Rapportive to help you collect information about who you’re sending your email to. Although this is still considered grey hat it is more “safe” than openly buying links because no money is exchanging hands.
  3. Building links through low-quality websites to boost your domain authority. This is a grey hat practice, but it is important because it can help you gain more PageRank in Google that will push you ahead of your competitors.

There are other methods for using the links that you get from these websites, such as buying backlinks or giving them to others in exchange for favors, but these take us on a slippery slope towards black hat techniques.

Grey Hat SEO vs White Hat SEO vs Black Hat SEO

When looking at the spectrum SEO practices, we consider white hat SEO at one end, and black hat SEO at the other. A simple description is that grey hat SEO is “tweaked” towards encouraging rankings in search engines, while the latter is something that is purely against search engine guidelines, recommendations, and best practices.

White hat SEO techniques are what you need to aim for. It involves creating original, high-quality content, legitimate link building through relationships, link exchange or guest blogging, and creating a highly valuable user experience on your website.

Black hat SEO techniques go against Google’s guidelines and are aimed at getting quick, easy results in the SERPs. Black hat SEO tactics include using software and crawlers to build links to your site, creating duplicate content, using doorway pages on your site, or redirecting through expired domains will get your site penalized in search engines like Google search and Bing. Your page will not index in their results, and you’ll receive no organic traffic. Black hat SEO tactics can and probably will destroy your website.

Gray hat techniques, on the other hand, fall on this spectrum. They mainly revolve around link-building strategies and SEO methods of attracting more traffic to your website that isn’t strictly against Google’s guidelines, but they walk a tight line.

Grey Hat FAQ

What optimization techniques do Gray Hat SEOs use?

There are many different ways that grey hat SEOs build their presence on the web. One of the most popular tactics is to comment on online media, whether that be forums, articles or blogs, and then ask them to link back to your website.

What is grey hat link building?

The idea behind grey hat link building is simple: you gain links by engaging with other people on forums, blogs, or social media platforms such as Facebook. You’re not buying links directly from website editors, but your building relationships and cooperating with others.


Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of grey hat SEO.

As with anything in life, there is the right way to do something, and then there is the easy way to do something. When it comes to getting your website ranked in search engines and attracting organic traffic to your webpages, then following Google’s guidelines as closely as possible is essential. Doing so helps avoid any penalty and experiencing getting non-indexed by search engines. Gray hat SEO can be highly useful in building your site, but you must ensure you don’t slip towards black hat tactics, otherwise, your site will certainly pay the price.

Make sure you build your site safely with our SEO services here at Loganix, and enjoy a profitable long-term website.

Hand off the toughest tasks in SEO, PPC, and content without compromising quality

Explore Services

Written by Jake Sheridan on November 3, 2021

Founder of Sheets for Marketers, I nerd out on automating parts of my work using Google Sheets. At Loganix I build products, and content marketing. There’s nothing like a well deserved drink after a busy day spreadsheeting.