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What Is Gray Hat SEO?

In this article I’ll be covering more SEO terms (short for search engine optimization). Here we go again, I hear some of you say – “more phrases, that as a beginner, I’ve never heard before.” Yes it’s confusing – ‘black hat’, ‘gray hat’ etc. – it’s enough to blow anyone’s mind.

Here’s Why You Need to Know This

The problem we’ve found is that it’s not half as easy to make money online as the gurus would have you believe. We don’t want those of you just starting out to experience what we have in the past – you put in loads of effort, think you’re doing it all the right way, then you suddenly get ‘slapped’ by Google and realize what you’ve been doing wrong. It’s just so disheartening, so listen up and don’t get slapped.

Black Hat SEO refers to techniques that go against the search engines’ stated rules and guidelines. White hat SEO refers to techniques that are A-okay. Gray hat SEO methods are techniques that make you go, “Hmm. Should I be doing this?”

Actually, most people consider gray hat to be white hat methods that are a little risky. In other words, stuff that’s not against the rules, but you feel like you should deny doing it. They bend the rules but don’t break them.

We sometimes laughingly call gray hat methods ‘future black hat’! These are things that just aren’t against the rules yet!

Here is what it all means to you.

Black hat SEO will get you banned. Gray hat might get you a smackdown from the search engines. These methods are a bit risky, but lots of people use them. I’m telling you what some of them are so that you can at least know that you’re in the gray zone.

Automated Social Media

You probably know that there are software programs that let you automate your social media profile. For example, you can get 30,000 followers on Facebook or Twitter using mass friend requests.

Are you really that popular? It kind of makes you scratch your head. While it’s probably against the rules of the social media sites, Google hasn’t done anything about it yet. But obviously you’re gaming the system.

Paying For Social Bookmarking

This is a strategy that lots of people do and it’s totally gray hat. You can either pay for people to suggest your sites to others on social bookmarking sites, or you can create multiple accounts and sneakily promote your stuff. Again, the social bookmarking sites might ban you but Google won’t. Not for now, anyway.

Paid Reviews

Another form of payola is hiring somebody to write good reviews of your products or services. There’s really no way for the search engines to crack down on this even if they wanted to. Is it for real or not? But you should be aware that this is considered a little bit shady.

Speaking of payola, lots of people consider paid backlinks to be gray hat. I don’t think so. It’s definitely black hat as far as I’m concerned. It’s expressly against the rules.

Content Scraping

Using duplicate content for your site is considered gray hat – or scraping content from other sites, even if those sites allow you to do it. Article spinning is considered by many to be gray hat because it’s creating fake ‘original’ content. Lots of folks even consider PLR to be gray hat. Basically, any method that cuts corners on creating original content is on the border of the gray zone.

Micro Sites

Micro sites aren’t necessarily gray hat, but they definitely can be. Micro sites are gray hat when you’ve got a bunch of different sites all for different keywords, and they point back to your original site. Some micro sites (or ‘micro niche sites’) are simply highly targeted niche sites. Those are fine. But be aware that spiders might consider it gray hat.

Gray hat is not all bad. Some services even advertise that they provide gray hat SEO. But keep in mind that if you’re doing it, you might get slapped with the next update. Although not completely against the rules, search engines don’t like it. If you’re doing things that you think might be a no-no, you’re probably doing gray hat.

To your success.

About the author: Toby Russell, Internet Marketer, Publisher & Property Investor offers tried and tested methods to help you succeed on line. “Top Internet Marketer Reveals His Secrets” – FREE MP3 Download plus my popular Free step-by-step 94 page Special Report. Available at =>

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