What Is ‘Grey-Hat’ SEO? Is It Something Every Business Owner Should Be Aware Of?

It’s overwhelming for new business owners when first exploring the world of SEO and digital marketing in general. There’s so much terminology to be aware of – not to mention the multitude of rules and regulations.

In this article, we’re going to focus specifically on ‘grey-hat SEO’. What does it mean? And is this something that every business owner should be aware of? Let’s get down to brass tacks.

What does ‘grey-hat SEO’ mean?

The best way to understand grey-hat SEO is to first know what white-hat and black-hat SEO are:

  • White-hat SEO: white-hat SEO refers to any search engine optimization strategies that do not go against Google’s strict search algorithm guidelines. If an SEO agency uses the most ‘above-board’ methodology, they’re a white-hat SEO agency and well worth your consideration.
  • Black-hat SEO: black-hat SEO (as you may have already guessed) refers to any SEO strategies that do go against Google’s policies. So for example, keyword stuffing and/or buying bulk links from fake websites (to name a few). Get caught and Google will punish you.
  • Now that we understand what white and black-hat SEO are, let’s blend them together:
  • Grey-hat SEO: grey-hat SEO refers to strategies that incorporate both white and black-hat SEO. The perfect example of this is writing high-value content that improves lives, but then buying fake links in bulk to try and get the article more exposure as quickly as possible.

Should every business owner be aware of grey-hat SEO?

Absolutely. If you are a small business exploring digital marketing it is your responsibility to know about the right and the wrong way to market your business. Whether you are handling your own SEO in-house or if you are hiring SEO services in Dubai, you have a duty of care to ensure that you aren’t breaking any rules or going against Google’s policies.

By understanding what grey-hat SEO means, you can try your best to avoid it.

Sure, grey-hat SEO certainly isn’t as bad as black-hat. However, it is still breaking the rules and if Google picks up on it, you can be penalised as a result (which isn’t good for business).

How to know if your chosen SEO agency plays by the rules?

Before you hire a prospective SEO agency, you need to hit them with some difficult questions. Find out what strategies they use and ask them directly: “Do you use any black-hat or grey-hat techniques?”

If the SEO agency is legitimate, they will answer you straight. If the SEO agency is not, they may be a little coy and indirect, for example: “We don’t discuss our methods as we like to keep them a trade secret” – or some other, similar nonsense.

To be extra cautious, your best bet is to shop around for an SEO agency that has an excellent and long-established reputation of success. If they have hundreds of 5* reviews and proven case studies from existing clients, you’ll be on the right track.

Conclusion: Avoid grey-hat SEO

Again, while grey-hat SEO is the lesser evil, it is still a naughty practice that ‘bends’ the rules. For the best results you should invest in an SEO agency that doesn’t need to break the rules to help their clients succeed.

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