45 Grey Hat SEO Techniques To Avoid In 2019

grey hat seo

You may be aware of several Search Engine Optimization techniques; Black, Grey and & White hat.

We discussed previously negative SEO and keeping safe online.  There’s always a line to draw in regards to maintaining the best online practices.

In regards to SEO, there are many practices (good and bad) and in this post will focus Grey Hat SEO techniques to avoid.

Grey Hat SEO is an SEO practice which is riskier than White Hat SEO, but one that may or might not result in your website being banned from Google and other search engines sites.

Generally speaking, Gray Hat SEO practices neither belong to White or Black Hat SEO category considering that the fact that the terms of service aren’t clear.

Avoid These Grey Hat SEO Techniques:

  • ALT tags keyword stuffing: using those tags to game SEO instead of their actual purpose (writing content to be used as an alternative to images when not viewed)
  • Domain name keyword stuffing: Avoid registering a domain made of multiple keywords.
  • Negative SEO: Please don’t use false report hurt competitors’ reputation or by building links from low-quality websites.
  • Clickbait: giving your pages deceptive, offensive or otherwise provoking titles and headlines.
  • Anchor spammy text profile: using commercial keywords (e.g. best price here, free SEO tools) in the anchor texts of most or all backlinks.
  • Link farms: Avoid turning your website into a link farm or submitting your site to one.
  • Stuffing keywords into your text: writing entire paragraphs/sentences made mostly of search queries.
  • Naked content: making links/or text on a webpage invisible to the human eye
  • Google Maps spamming: registering fake business listings on Google Maps.
  • Content swapping: trying to make pages rank for keywords that are unrelated to their actual content.
  • Exact match anchor text: creating internal and external links with anchor texts matching the URL slug of the links.
  • Duplicate content: pages with plagiarized text will be deemed less relevant than the original.
  • Same anchor text in all backlinks: attempting to make a site rank for a keyword by using it in most or all backlinks.
  • Excessive links in the footer: overloading the footer with links to other sites.
  • Referrer spam: using fake referrer URLs to send requests to other sites, which leads to said URLs being recorded in the targeted sites’ statistics and crawled by search engines as backlinks.
  • Bait and switch: making an ordinary page rank high and then changing its content to commercial.
  • Article spinning: attempting to avoid duplicate content-related issues by rewriting someone else’s content (either manually or automatically).
  • Excessive internal links: placing more internal links to the same pages than needed in order to increase the likelihood of users visiting them.
  • False content: writing content that contains factually incorrect information.
  • Rich snippet markup spam: creating rich snippets with fake information in an attempt to increase a page’s click-through rate.
  • Buying links: obtaining dofollow backlinks from a domain in exchange for a reward (in reality, Google is fine with people paying seemingly legit public relations firms and valid directories for content/listings).
  • Link exchange: aggressive linking between two or more sites for the sake of building a large link profile.
  • Cloaking: displaying different versions of the same page to humans and search engine bots.
  • Guest blog spam: writing guest blog articles with spammy links (or spammy articles to begin with).
  • Automated content creation: filling your site with content generated with automated software or services.
  • Typo squatting: registering a domain under a name which is a misspelled version of a known brand’s name without belonging to said brand.
  • Sponsored content: paid guest articles containing authority-passing backlinks.
  • Parasite hosting: planting your page on another domain in order to take advantage of its authority and resources.
  • Content scraping: using software and scripts to steal pieces of content (such as, but not limited to copyrighted content and database information) from other sites.
  • Building toxic links: obtaining backlinks from low-quality, unauthoritative domains.
  • Trackback spam: using the TrackBack feature on blogging platforms to send other users notifications with backlinks to your own site.
  • Buying positive reviews: obtaining positive customer reviews in exchange for a reward (money, products or services).
  • Spam in blog comments: putting spammy links to your domain in another site’s comment section.
  • Illegal content: filling pages with types of content prohibited by law.
  • Automated Google queries: using software to generate automated searches for specific keywords in order to make your site rank higher for them.
  • Low-authority directory listings: submitting your website to and obtaining backlinks from directories of low quality and authority.
  • Private blog networks: creating a multitude of blogs to accumulate authority and pass it to the main domain.
  • Doorway pages: baiting users with well-optimized, high-ranking pages which automatically redirect them to unrelated pages.
  • SEO squatting: a grey hat version of domain grabbing where one buys expired domains only to bypass the process of building their authority from scratch.
  • Domain grabbing: buying expired high-authority domains to build backlinks from them.
  • Unethical redirects: rigging elements on a page to open unrelated pages in order to direct traffic there.
  • Poorly formatted content: pages containing grammar errors, misspelled words or gibberish, text colored or sized in a disorderly manner, too big or otherwise distracting images.
  • Cybersquatting: registering a domain under the name of a known brand without belonging to said brand for the purpose of stealing their traffic or reselling it to them.
  • Spam in social media: making posts and comments with spammy links to your site on social platforms.


If you’ve been around for a while, you’ve probably got a big back catalog of social media posts, stories, videos, etc. – all kinds of stuff.

Find something that didn’t get enough attention the first time around – maybe you released it on the day of a huge news story or maybe you put the wrong hashtags on it the first go-round – and give it a spit and polish before you re-release it.

Credit to Brian Gareth from Web CEO and you can follow them @Twitter