In search engine optimization, there are certain practices that should be avoided at all cost and these are called “Black Hat” SEO techniques. Link building is widely considered a pillar in SEO, but there are also tactics used to establish connections with other websites that can cause damage to a website’s reputation in the SERPs.

The Gray Area

After years of algorithm updates, it is safe to say that Google has established what it considers acceptable in search engine optimization.

Even so, there are still certain practices that can neither be qualified as either of the two sides of SEO. These tactics that fall in the grey area include White Hat techniques that become Black Hat when improperly executed and those that aren’t explicitly unacceptable.

While this may be a problematic matter, it comes with a silver lining— some gray tactics are very useful and very “legal” according to Google’s rules.

  1. Networking, a.k.a. Link Outreach

Networking is deemed an effective SEO strategy to build relationships with other websites. Sometimes called “link outreach version 2.0,” this entails two specific tactics you may have already encountered before: broken link building and updated content link building.

Below are the steps you can follow.

Step #1: Find Opportunities

Seeking viable opportunities can happen with the help of websites that provide link roundups. Experts explained that these pages list links regularly, making its success rate higher. You can make use of advanced search operators (e.g. [your keyword] + “top posts this week”).

Step #2: Connect

After locating potential targets, you can now start connecting with them through social media. Take note that you should leave sending emails to them for later.

Step #3: Engage

Once you break the ice, the next step is to engage with them by providing value (e.g. spreading their content outreach via social media shares) and making them pay attention to you (e.g. commenting and interacting through social media).

Step #4: Request link

This is where you start reaching out to your targets directly. Some experts recommend private messaging through email, LinkedIn, or other social media channels. Remember that you should publish content that is relevant to your target’s niche or keyword for you to secure the link.

  1. Blog Commenting

Some people may think this is the original link spam. However, blog commenting is deemed a legit Google-approved practice as even former Google webspam head Matt Cutts confirmed that he uses the practice “all the time.”

Here’s how to properly do it.

Step #1: Find quality blogs

This link building practice is based on having websites or blogs under the same niche link to each other. Birds of a feather, and so on. You can make use of Google’s advanced search operators and Google blog search (e.g. [niche or keyword] + “comment” or [niche or keyword] + “submit comment”).

Step #2: Get your comment approved

Next is to get your comment approved. There’s no other way to achieve this than to comment the right way. Fill out the fields required as follows.

  • Name – Put your name, NOT your keyword, or else your comment will be denied.
  • Email – You can include any address, whether real or fake.
  • Website – Leaving this blank is a good idea as it would let the blog administrator know that you aren’t trying to spam.
  • Comment – Choose a point on the post you are commenting on that is relevant to the link you are posting. Make sure to expand on it. Think of it as like creating content for guest posting— you adjust it to make it look like it belongs to the page. Your action should not look like you have an ulterior motive.