Are you brave enough to give these SEO tactics a shot? Don’t worry, it’s nothing illegal! But at the same time, they do not guarantee that your website (or the website you are working on) won’t get penalized by Google one day.
On the other hand, these risky SEO tactics may bring some tangible results and complement your current SEO strategy (if it is completely white hat, of course). The SEO techniques that we are talking about here are considered “gray hat” SEO tactics.
It is hard to tell the difference between hat colors, especially when it comes to shades of gray. At least we know for sure (and hope you know too) that white hat SEO is the complete opposite of what we call black hat SEO. It’s like the good guy and the bad guy. You definitely know which one not to deal with, if you don’t want to hurt your relationship with Google.
Gray hat SEO lies somewhere between black and white. Technically, today it does not include any illegal practices that may anger Google and other search engines. But gray hat SEO techniques may eventually change their shade and fall under the umbrella of black hat techniques one day. You cannot foresee what algorithms and updates Google will come up with tomorrow, and which of them will hit your website.
Gray hat SEO techniques may work for your website’s sake or they may not. To use them or not, the choice is yours. If you are not confident you can trick the system and get away with it, you had better avoid employing these tactics.
If you are among the bravest SEOs who are not afraid of risking Google’s penalties and skating on thin ice, I invite you to take a closer look at these marginally dangerous SEO techniques. Maybe just choose one or two, and give them a try.
9 Gray Hat SEO Techniques That Work
#1 Purchase of Expired Domains
This tactic works because it is a great source of backlinks to your site. However, you should be careful. Make sure that you select domains that are relevant to your industry and are relatively new. Another important thing to keep in mind – check whether or not domains you are planning to buy were banned or penalized in the past.
If the sites have a clean record, you are good to go. So, by keeping these domains alive and creating a couple of pages with high-quality content to place a few links to your site, you will be able to strengthen your website’s backlink profile at almost no expense.
#2 Creating Multiple Social Media Accounts
No need to create dozens of fake accounts. It is always a tedious task, admit it. Instead of wasting your time stealing names and images from other social media accounts, create real accounts…for your cat or dog, or even your chinchilla. You can always get their pictures anytime you want and make up some cute stories to fill up the news feed.
And who knows, maybe one day your pet will develop an interest in whatever you are marketing on your website and make a habit of reading and sharing your blog posts. This way, your pet can earn its keep by promoting your website and your reputation. However, this might violate the rules of a given social media platform. But the chances of your pet really caring about it are slim.
#3 Integrate a Comments Box on Your Website
Of course, this technique will get you thousands of spammy comments with links of all possible sorts and varieties. But after all, you are the one who decides whether or not to remove them all at once, or leave a few relevant and decent ones to add a rel=nofollow tag to them.
The latter guarantees that you won’t hurt your rankings, but you will get a lot of fresh user-generated content that Google loves, and it will cost you nothing.
#4 Always Link Back to Your Website
Whenever you leave a comment on any post related to your topic, do not forget to include a link to your website. This requires you to be savvy, because you cannot just place your links anywhere at random. Select topics and posts that are aimed at finding or suggesting solutions to users’ problems. Then, in the comment feed, suggest that readers check your product or to refer to one of your blog posts that you believe might be helpful to them.
#5 Add Social Media Buttons
Add social media buttons everywhere appropriate on your website, if you have not yet done so. You can click on them a couple of times yourself, and then invite every member of your family and, of course, your dog, cat and chinchilla, to do the same. This way your website will have a better chance of being noticed by wider audiences, which will bring you more valuable traffic.
#6 Make Up Some News
Many news websites are happy to find and accept any potentially readable news. We are not talking about leading news websites, but about those of much smaller scope. You can make up a few stories about some newsworthy events (unless you really have something to say) and submit your story to a couple of them. Hopefully, your stories will get you one or two backlinks, which is always good.
#7 Breathe New Life into Your Content
This actually means breathing new life into someone else’s content. If you don’t have enough time, money or expertise to create some new and fresh content on your own, you can “borrow” it from other sites. Just be sure to replace some words and phrases with synonyms, or rewrite sentences so it does not look like you shamelessly copied it, otherwise Google will quickly figure it out.
The best approach is to refer to multiple resources and borrow bits of content from each of them, then compile your own content by adding some of your own thoughts and opinions. And, voila, you have a unique and fresh piece of content!
#8 Write Negative Reviews
Yes, this is kind of unfair. But you are wearing your gray hat now. Our goal is to achieve positive results, so the means may justify the end. Users trust online reviews and ratings, so they can become your weapon as well. But again, you have to be savvy here.
One negative review on your competitor’s services or products from one person won’t make much difference to anybody. Posting negative reviews is almost a strategy. It requires multiple accounts, time and consistency.
#9 Pay for Reviews
There are hundreds of people out there who are ready to praise your services or products for money. Bloggers and other individuals with a presence in the digital world will write tons of sweet words, as long as you pay them. You just have to name the right price.
As you see, there is nothing complicated about any of these gray hat SEO strategies, but that does not make them less risky. For your business, you have to determine first whether or not the risk is worth taking. Not all of these techniques are applicable to your business, but if you are ready to play with fire and try using them, do it wisely.