Friday, February 25, 2011

Grey Hat Seo - Is Good or a Bad Technique?

You are familiar with the respective definitions of ‘white hat’ and ‘black hat’ search engine optimization, that I had talked in my earlier posts. With this post I am starting to explore about Grey Hat SEO.

What is Grey Hat SEO?

Grey Hat SEO = White Hat SEO (Ethical) + Black Hat SEO (Non Ethical)

Grey Hat SEO is the kind of SEO which sits between White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO. Since the color grey is between black and white, logically Grey Hat SEO sounds like a label for the middle ground. It is a balance mix of ethical and unethical SEO techniques to get higher ranking and better visibility.

It is about risk versus reward. Well, Grey Hat SEO techniques are those, which do have a thin presence of risk trudging around and may even be taken as purely unethical in the near future, but as for now they are better than the Black Hat techniques and are used by many SEOs. But to be very frank Grey Hat is not White Hat and should at no cost be considered as a substitute for it. One should try avoiding such techniques as long as possible.

Grey Hat SEO Techniques: There are some process of using grey hat techniques which are as follows:

Cloaking, also known as stealth, is a technique used by some Web sites for presenting two versions of a single web-page that deliver one page to a search engine for indexing while one set of content is shown to human visitors. In cloaking, human visitors are shown the actual web page, but search engines are shown a web page which is full of spammy SEP techniques such as keyword stuffing.

This is done by delivering content based on the IP addresses or the User-Agent HTTP header of the user requesting the page. When a user is identified as a search engine spider, a server-side script delivers a different version of the web page, one that contains content not present on the visible page. The purpose of cloaking is to deceive search engines so they display the page when it would not otherwise be displayed.

One technique for determining if a web page is using cloaking is to view Google's cache of that web page. Unless the web page has turned off Google caching, the Google cache will show you how Google bot sees the web page. If the web page has turned off Google caching, that is also a possible indicator that cloaking is in use. There are also many cloaking detection tools on the Internet, you can search and check online.

Advantage: It works in many cases to achieve improved SERPs.

Disadvantage: It violates most search engine policies. Google and other highly ranked search engines will remove your site from their listings completely and sometimes blacklist it, once detected by them.

Paid Links
We all know how important links are for SEO. The practice of purchasing link on websites solely for the increase in link-popularity, could be considered shady. When paid links are purchased for advertising, they are considered legitimate. When they are bought to increase link popularity, they fall outside of the rules and can result in a penalty from the search engines.

Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is content that appears on the Internet in more than one place. Duplicate content can be considered legitimate in certain cases but rarely. There are times when duplicate content is considered legitimate by both search engines and visitors and that is on resource sites. A site that consists primarily as an index of articles on a specific subject-matter will not be penalized by posting articles that occur elsewhere on the net.

There are a few different reasons why search engines dislike duplicate content. One is that they don’t want to show the same pages in their search results. Another is that they don’t want to spend the resources in indexing pages that are substantially similar. This is a problem because when there are more than one piece of identical content on the Internet, it is difficult for search engines to decide which version is more relevant to a given search query.

Now, A question arise: Should You Use Grey Hat SEO Tactics?

I believe grey hat techniques are questionable methods of SEO and these techniques are not pronounced as totally unethical yet, but they might be soon joining the league of evil world of Black Hat SEOs. So, It’s better, that you should try avoiding such techniques.