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  • Writer's pictureMing Joanis

What is Grey Hat SEO?

Updated: Jan 11

Grey hat SEO refers to a set of online tactics and techniques that fall between white hat SEO (ethical) and black hat (unethical) SEO. Grey hat SEO tactics are not necessarily considered unethical but exist outside conventional SEO strategies. At Parity SEO, this is where we find SEO Gold!

Grey Hat SEO can be risky when performed by new or inexperienced SEO specialists. A complete understanding of Google's guidelines and good practices is required to conduct effective grey hat SEO. Search engines like Google will penalize sites that take black hat SEO shortcuts. Always remember that ultimately Google is a search engine in service of humans, and it's important to factor this when implementing any SEO strategy.

Grey Hat SEO Examples

Some examples of Grey Hat SEO include authoritative content building, targeting industry-relevant keywords and topics, creating hidden landing pages outside the observable site structure, technical SEO and internal/external link-building.

Using our empirical approach to SEO, our experienced SEO consultants eliminate any risks to ensure the best SEO practices. The key to implementing industry-leading grey hat SEO starts with an in-depth SEO assessment, identifying industry norms and identifying keyword search intents. Our core SEO philosophy is never to fight search engines but rather to help them fulfill their primary function - which is providing accurate and trusted SERP results to search queries.

Grey Hat SEO Guidelines

Here are the 6 fundamental tenets of grey hat SEO:

Be Accurate

Our core SEO philosophy is never to fight against search engines but rather to help them fulfill their primary function, and provide the most comprehensive and trusted search results for search queries. Therefore, your site content must be accurate and up-to-date. 

Provide Complete Answers

One fundamentally misunderstood aspect of SEO is how to build effective SEO content. It's imperative to know the most relevant search queries related to our targeted keyword and to provide answers in one place. FAQ areas are often to provide answers to other related searches. Also, it's important to understand what may be the logical progression of the searcher's query.​

Understand Search Intent

SEOs use industry tools such as SEMrush to determine the search intent of targeted keywords. A keyword can have an informational, navigational, commercial or transactional search intent. The search intent helps to identify where the searcher is positioned within the sales funnel. 

An informational search intent indicates that a potential client is at the very top of the sales funnel, which may lead to a quality first impression or help a potential client discover our brand, but may not necessarily lead directly to a sale. Whereas with a transactional search intent, the searcher is likely already familiar with your brand and just needs to know how and where to buy. This search intent is at the bottom of the sales funnel and likely leads to a quality sale. 

We will expand on search intent in future chapters. 

Expand when necessary

Add internal and external links, where appropriate, to expand on the searcher's research. Links should be used for industry terms, locations, places, people or events. A site which does this well is Wikipedia. They add internal links, where applicable, providing the searcher with an opportunity for expanded data, saving the searcher from having to open a new window to search that related term.

Use Proper Grammar and Language

This might be a difficult one for many SEOs. I often see other SEOs wedge keywords with incorrect syntax or prepositions. Remember to write your SEO content first for people and secondly to appeal to search engines. Always use correct grammar and the most practical language level for the searcher. Wedging keywords where inappropriate no longer works in 2023, and Google will penalize sites that appear to be keyword stuffing. Search engine algorithms have come a long way and continue to evolve, so using careful SEO strategies helps to achieve our SEO goals and future-proof our SEO work.

Know Your Bots

It's important for an SEO to fully understand the behaviour of crawler bots used by search engines like Google. Google uses crawler bots to map out the entire internet and index the most relevant content to their search queries. Redundant or unwanted content is parsed out and not indexed to conserve resources. Knowing what content Google is looking to index is the linchpin of top-level SEO.

White vs Black vs Grey Hat SEO

White Hat SEO

White hats SEO techniques such as on-page SEO, link-building and Google reviews are great starting points for SEO but may not be sufficient to produce top search rankings on their own. Additionally, white hat techniques may not be enough to provide effective ROI.

Black Hat SEO

Black Hat SEO strategies such as keyword stuffing, low-quality backlinks or low-quality content spamming should be avoided at all costs. At Parity, we categorize any SEO strategy that prioritizes search engines above the searcher's query or user experience as black hat SEO. SEO is a value proposition first and is good only if it creates real value for the search.

Grey Hat SEO

Grey hat strategies like dataset building based on search intent and analysis, hidden landing page creation, site architecture revisions, technical SEO, and internal content link-building are SEO-proven strategies to propel a site to the top of the search rankings. Only by building site authority and trust over time will a site achieve SEO success!

Learn SEO

To master SEO, it's important to understand how search engines like Google work and what factors impact your SEO rankings. Stay up to date with the latest SEO trends and best practices. 

Avoid missing out on online growth for your Canadian SME. Call (416) 708-9536 for SEO solutions.

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