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What is Gray Hat SEO?

What is Gray Hat SEO?

What is Gray Hat SEO?


If you have immersed yourself into the world of SEO at all, then you are already familiar with white hat and black hat SEO, but did you know there is a third SEO classification? It is not as much talked about among many Los Angeles SEO experts, but another tactic is called gray hat SEO – but what exactly is it and should you use it for your digital marketing campaign?

Gray hat SEO

In its broadest terms, is a combination of white hat and black hat SEO tactics. First, let’s review the techniques used in each respective tactic operates:

White Hat (Ethical) SEO:

  • Aims to better the experience of the web user 
  • Researches and uses keywords that are locally relevant
  • Title and URLs reflect the primary keywords
  • Placing the primary and secondary keywords strategically
  • Linking content that is relevant and useful to your audience
  • Is mobile-user friendly. This is extremely important because in 2021 because Internet traffic from cell phones made up of 54.4% of all web traffic)
  • Makes your website load faster

Black Hat (Unethical) SEO:

  • Aims to manipulate search engines
  • Is not focused on the human experience
  • Spamming keywords on the webpage is commonly referred to as  “keyword stuffing.” (Who would want to eat a sandwich that is overstuffed? Don’t bite off more than you can chew!)
  • Spamming links in comments sections. This is super annoying!
  • Hiding keywords through invisible text
  • Makes your website load slower

Nobody wants to visit a spammy website that is in your face and is difficult to navigate. That is why Google has implemented several major updates over the years that punish black hat SEO tactics so that they will not appear in the top search results. In some cases, Google may even choose to blacklist your website altogether. Your potential customers are humans, not machines. That alone is why you should never use black hat SEO because you want long-term, not short-term rewards for your work. However, some digital marketers have decided to fuse the two in an attempt to get the “best of both worlds” without facing repercussions from Google. 

Examples of gray hat SEO tactics include:

  • Using and buying old or expired domains
  • Posting duplicate content 
  • Using a social media automation tool (e.g. SocialPilot)
  • Sharing “clickbait” content
  • Buying your social media followers
  • Paying for positive reviews of your business or creating new accounts to write them yourself posing as your own customers

Despite these methods, we still do not advocate for them. Sure, Gray hat SEO is nowhere near as shady as black hat SEO, but it is simply just not as effective. Neither black hat nor gray hat SEO is illegal per se,  but they will not help you run a successful online marketing campaign or drive the amount of traffic you want to your business. Think of it this way: when you need to get your car repaired, would you want to pay someone who cuts corners for the service and only offers short-term solutions or someone who does their job the most efficient way possible so that you won’t have to return to the technician sooner than later? If you run into a Los Angeles digital marketing agency that exclusively uses gray or black hat SEO, this is a huge red flag and you should steer clear from them. You don’t want to waste your hard-earned profit on techniques that aren’t going to help you thrive for the rest of your career. The Internet is not going anywhere, so having an effective online presence in this day and age is an absolute must.

At Drive Traffic Media, we only endorse and practice white hat SEO, because the only way to do things is the right way, and that includes Los Angeles SEO. If you are ready to enjoy the benefits of our ethical and effective digital marketing techniques today, do not delay! Please call us today at (949) 800-6990 or send us an email at for a free quote for social media and SEO online marketing that really works. We are looking forward to working with you.