Bad SEO Techniques: Cloaking

Cloaking is a black hat search engine optimization technique in which content presented to the search engine robot or spider, is different from that which a visitor sees.
Friday, February 21st, 2014

What is cloaking?

Cloaking is a black hat search engine optimization technique in which content presented to the search engine robot or spider, is different from that which a visitor sees. For example a visitor might view a website and see the following:

Welcome to Discount Mustache Combs. Since 1935 our company has been the number once source of quality, affordable men’s grooming products. Feel free to browse our online store or call 1-800-555-1234 for easy service 24/7.

The content above looks perfectly fine, however a search engine visiting that same page may see the following spammy content:

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Essentially, cloaking delivers different website content based on if the website detects you are a human or a search engine robot. Cloaking is often used to deliver targeted content that appeals directly to a search engine indexing algorithm while the same time hiding this content from the sight of visitors.

Proponents of cloaking often claim that the action is legitimate in the case of nontext content such as Adobe flash or video. Since search engines cannot index these types of content, proponents claim that serving alternate text content to a search engine is justifiable. In any case, most experts agree that cloaking is never acceptable and that more modern, appropriate technologies (HTML 5, JavaScript) should be used in these cases.

Punishments for Cloaking

Cloaking is one of the more aggressive black hat SEO techniques and as such search engines typically dole out the harshest punishments for websites caught in the act. These punishments include removal of domain name from the search engine index all the way to complete banning of the domain name.

About The Author

Advertising Solutions, Inc.

Advertising Solutions, Inc. is a Professional Website Design and Internet Marketing Company with over 16 years experience in website design and 26 years experience in marketing and advertising. Their skilled internet marketing experts provide affordable marketing services for businesses big and small.