Gray Hat SEO: How to Improve Your Search Results Without Breaking The Rules

Gray Hat SEO is an SEO practice that's riskier than White Hat SEO, but one that may or may not result in your site being banned from search engines and their affiliate sites. Generally, Gray Hat SEO practices belong in neither the Black Hat nor White Hat category because the terms of service regarding the issue are unclear. In this tutorial, you'll get the answers to the following questions:

  • What is Gray Hat SEO?
  • Why does it matter?
  • What Gray Hat SEO should mean to you

So, What IS Gray Hat SEO, Anyway?

Gray Hat SEO is difficult to define. In the words of SEO Consultant John Andrews, Gray Hat SEO is not something between Black Hat and White Hat, but rather "the practice of tactics/techniques which remain ill-defined by published material coming out of Google, and for which reasonable people could disagree on how the tactics support or contrast with the spirit of Google’s published guidelines."  

Why Does Gray Hat SEO Matter?

A proper understanding of Gray Hat SEO is important because it could improve your site's ranking without negative consequences, or it could cost you thousands in lost traffic. Google's best practices and conditions have the capacity to prohibit clever innovation and thinking outside the box. This prohibition isn't automatically in the interest of search marketers or even the searchers themselves. What's more, Gray Hat SEO changes periodically; what's considered Gray Hat one year could be classified as Black or What Hat the following year, making it crucial for search marketers to stay informed of the latest categorizations.

Should You Be Implementing Gray Hat SEO Methods?

You don't gain much by getting on Google's bad side, and if you're unsure if 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 and stricter all the time, your safest route as a business is going to be strictly white hat SEO.

For more white hat, Google-approved information on SEO, check out:

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