What is cloaking and why should it be avoided…

CloakingIn a nutshell, cloaking is when a user will see different information on a webpage compared to the search engines when they come and crawl the website. This is also known as a blackhat technique which is something the search engines DON’T advise.

So why do webmasters use clocking…

Webmasters usually use cloaking to achieve better rankings in the search engines by stuffing the page with keywords with poorly written content which is not aimed at the user.

How can I find out if a website is using the cloaking method?

Typically, the easiest way is by using the user agent string so the website you’re visiting thinks your Google. Or you can use this great tool by click here.

What should I do if my website has cloaking?

I would recommend that your report this to your webmaster and then submit a reconsideration request to Google so you avoid any penalties.

What happens if I get caught?

As mentioned above, the risk could be a penalty or blacklisted, and in my opinion once a website has been penalised by Google, it will always struggle in terms of future SEO efforts.

Image from SXC.hu

This post was written by , Dave is a digital marketer specialising in SEO and PPC, and can be followed on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.

3 Responses to “What is cloaking and why should it be avoided…”

  1. Hi Dave — great subject. And then there is “good” cloaking. For example, if we put a field in a form that a bot can see but a user cannot and that field is filled we know the form wasn’t submitted by a human. We can use this instead of captchas in situations where security allows and where captchas might be too intrusive.

    • Dave Cain says:

      Hi Glenn, another great comment and a legitimate method even though I’m not a fan of this technique. I much prefer a simple box that has a maths question as a security/spam option.

      • Yeah — not my favorite either – altho I did use this once where I had to put a form in a header and there just wasn’t enough room for a captcha.

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