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Google Penguin Update vs. Grey Hat SEO

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Black-Hat and Grey-Hat SEO tactics have taken a blow with the recent update of Google Penguin 2.0. Google is fastening its belt to fight against the unethical ways of promoting websites. It says that a website and SEO must target the audience rather than targeting the search engine.

While the hoopla is continuing across the web on latest Google Penguin update and people from all corners are speculating how far the new version of this algorithm is going to hit the Black Hat SEO tactics that for a long time played with the webmaster guidelines of search engines and in spite of several time to time cuts and slashes managed to enjoy traffic volume and business more or less in the same way as before. But in this clamor the real culprit remained in the shadow, the Grey Hat SEO tactics which in spite of being on the questionable side as per search engine guideline always managed to appear gentle and bright. You can recognize and nab down the Black Hat SEO tactics that are playing with the rules more openly, but Grey Hat SEO just do let you doubt on the intension lurking behind its link schemes and content and so it is more or less a grey area for the search engine to decide in terms of straightforward right and wrong and so it is called as Grey Hat SEO .

Grey Hat SEO : Definition

In relation to our present focus on how latest Google Penguin update is going to affect the so called SEO practices dubbed as grey zone, a definition of Grey Hat SEO is nevertheless required for our understanding of these grey areas. By referring to a grey area we generally mean a practice that consist both ethical and unethical means and so in Grey Hat SEO you can simultaneously see the presence of many White Hat SEO practices besides a few of the Black Hat SEO practices. While in White Hat SEO you can expect only 100% original and unique content and similarly copied content in Black Hat SEO , in Grey Hat you can expect a bit of originality in a content that is altogether not unique but maneuvered in many places to appear as unique. While Black Hat SEO techniques build up link scheme that is completely devoid of any genuine value to the content, in Grey Hat SEO there can be a nice mix of both relevant links dubbed as 'good' by the webmaster and promotional links that are irrelevant to the topic, dubbed as 'bad'.

What risks Google Penguin Update pose for Grey Hat SEO as a whole?

Until now Grey Hat SEO is the most popular SEO standard followed by most of the websites and bloggers, especially those with rigorous business interests behind their web presence. Aggressive lookout for traffic and a faster output in business volume from web traffic is what is targeted by millions of sites in the worldwide web and even in trying to sensitize the web community on the relevance of ethical web practices through algorithms like Google Panda or Google Penguin update , a search engine like Google cannot altogether disapprove this rigorous play of business interests.

But, the real question is how far your business interests should be pursued so not to deteriorate the quality of the web content and overall user experience. Yes, you just cannot take advantage of coming up the search ranks by just misguiding the web user and not showing or providing anything of relevance, that is true as broad day light and in the time to come such Black Hat practices are going to be wiped out for sure. But as far as the Grey Hat SEO practices of striking a balance between business interests and providing relevant content is considered, we are not so sure as how far Google can really tame such practice that smoothly moves in between the borderlines of ethical and unethical. Keyword stuffing without any genuinely presented unique and relevant content certainly deserves punishment, but how can a truly unique and relevant content can be down ranked if it is just loaded with a higher concentration of keywords? No, it cannot and so even Google Penguin update seems seemingly toothless in face of many Grey Hat SEO practices. But some practices like spam that still is running well among the Grey Hat community may face the wrath of Google.

Let us see some of the most common Grey Hat SEO practices that may or may not be the subject of down ranking in the new SEO environment following Google penguin update.

  1. Spam
  2. Some sites though are genuine in respect of publishing original content can take some of your time while presenting a pop up ad or spam page before guiding you to the searched content. This is a popular Grey Hat SEO tactics, but as Google Penguin update this time is particularly serious about spamming, you can face the wrath through down ranking.

  3. Keyword stuffing
  4. Most of the sites on the ethical side though publish genuine and relevant content from time to time, tries to hit the search ranks through higher concentration of keywords in their content only to beat the competition. This, known as keyword stuffing though comes with a relevant content unlike what happens in Black Hat SEO and so is less vulnerable to attract any penalty this time with Google Penguin update.

  5. Link building focusing both business interests and relevance
  6. This time Google is particularly observant on the link building scheme of websites and so you can expect some unfavorable music to your amazement. If you have links that serve equally your business interests and relevance to the topic you are probably on the safe side. But when this balance goes loose by making your business interest more prominent than the relevance concerning the search title, it is again vulnerable to face down ranking.

  7. Duplicate content or incorporating few changes in a copied content
  8. Though duplicate content is a strict no-no according to Google webmaster guideline and is normally dubbed as a Black Hat SEO technique that is always vulnerable to attract severe penalty from Google Penguin update, the same is also seen as part of few Grey Hat SEO practices, with just a few changes. You made content appear on your page that is much similar to an already published content in other website yet not actually the same. In such cases you just copied the content from the original source and then incorporated various changes in places to look different. This unethical Grey Hat SEO practice may face penalty in the time to come as Google is determined to pick up only unique content in its search ranks.

  9. Providing YouTube links or feeds from other sites to improve site's relevance

Many bloggers and sites just provide some YouTube videos and news feeds or sourced materials from other sites just to increase the relevance and gain traffic. Though this is not as unethical as copied or duplicate content, but undoubtedly play an important role in making the site lose its value and that would certainly reflect in poor show in search ranks. These cheap practices may further deteriorate search ranks after Google Penguin update gets into effect.

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Posted on: June 13, 2013

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