Black Hat SEO – The Definition of Cloaking
A system to hide code or content from a user and deliver different content to a search engine spider.
IP based cloaking delivers custom pages based on the users IP address.
User Agent cloaking delivers custom pages based upon the users Agent.
Depending on the intent of the display discrepancy and the strength of the brand of the person or company, cloaking it may be considered reasonable, or it may get a site banned from not one, but all search engines.
Cloaking has many legitimate uses which are within search guidelines. For example, changing user experience based on location is common on many popular websites.
This technique is abused by spammers for keyword stuffing. Cloaking is a violation of the Terms of Service of most search engines and could be grounds for banning.
If search engine traffic is important to you, make sure you consider the following with respect to cloaking:
- Make sure you are familiar with the obvious and not so obvious forms of cloaking and are aware how these are used on your site to avoid any potential penalties.
If anyone remembers 2 years ago, Google came in and banned the accounts of many top Internet Marketers for using these types of strategies. Most notably was black hat SEO and “Get Rich Quick” Schemes. This resulted in complete chaos for almost everyone who was performing MLM marketing.
This type of Internet Marketing should be avoided at all costs!