SEO Glossary: Grey Hat SEO

In a nutshell: What is Grey Hat SEO?

Grey Hat SEO is located between the two methods White Hat and Black Hat SEO. Such measures in the SEO field are therefore often also referred to as borderline search engine optimization. A closer look at the practices shows that these are fundamentally not prohibited SEO methods.


What is Grey Hat SEO?

Translated, the term Grey Hat SEO means "grey hat search engine optimization". Grey Hat describes all SEO measures that are between White Hat and Black Hat SEO are. Basically, it is a gray area that does not directly violate the Google Webmaster Guidelines.


Nevertheless, such practices should be treated with caution, as they can quickly lead to PENALTIES by the search engines. Large SEO agencies use grey hat SEO, for example. The aim is to use these measures to rank better in the SERPs and thus gain more reach and traffic.

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How does Grey Hat SEO work?

To understand how Grey Hat SEO works, below are some well-known methods used in this field:


  • Optimize keyword density: Keyword density still plays an important role in terms of ranking factors. A natural density, where important keywords appear in the content from time to time, is therefore not a problem. If grey hat SEO is used, SEOs specifically try to increase the density of keywords. However, this often means that the readability of the text suffers as a result. If search engines such as Google recognize such over-optimization (also known as keyword stuffing ), this can have negative consequences for the ranking.
  • Link building: The link building is one of the most common elements used in the world of grey hat SEO. It is well known that Google does not like it when manual links are placed or even backlinks are bought. If the search engine detects this type of behavior, the ranking can suffer. But if you are clever, you can still create a clean backlink profile in this way. Search engines find it very difficult to understand such link structures. The quantity and quality of backlinks are particularly important factors here, as are the anchor texts.
  • Purchase of expired domains: When a domain expires, it is available for purchase on the domain market. Such domain names are also known as "expired domains". If a free domain has been taken over, backlinks are subsequently set that refer to existing domains/projects. The aim is to increase the link power of the target page so that the domain rises further up the SERPs accordingly. If such a method is operated, it can be harmful for the backlink profile. In the worst case, there is the threat of a penalty.


Is Grey Hat SEO really helpful ?

If website owners and SEOs are clever, they can achieve good rankings with the help of Grey Hat SEO. Nevertheless, the risk is quite high that such methods will be discovered by Google and Co. If this is the case, they will be directly penalized.

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Conclusion: What is Grey Hat SEO?

Grey Hat SEO should be used with extreme caution. Only those who are well versed in this area can use the mentioned methods in this area without being exposed. Those who are not so well versed in this area should rather opt for the clean White Hat SEO.

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