What is cloaking in SEO ?
Every business wants their website or webpage to rank on the first Search Engine Results Page (SERP). To achieve a high search engine ranking the website needs to be optimized. Search engine optimization is a gradual process; you cannot get immediate results with it.
An easier way to optimize the website in no time is by using Black Hat SEO Techniques. Black hat SEO cloaking is one technique which can help catapult your website to be featured in the top SERP results.
So what is cloaking? What is the cloaking SEO technique? This article will help you know more about cloaking and whether it should be used for optimizing a website.
What is cloaking in SEO?
Cloaking is an SEO technique in which users are provided with content or information which is different from the content presented to search engine crawlers.
A website is required to present content to search engine spiders or bots to help improve its search engine rankings for certain keywords.
Under cloaking, the website server is specifically programmed to offer different content to search engines as compared to what it offers to its regular users.
What is cloaking in SEO with example?
Cloaking is employed to improve the search engine ranking of the website or webpage by misleading the search engine crawlers into thinking that the content on the page is different from what actually it is. Some of the cloaking SEO examples are:
- Offering a page of HTML text to search engines, while actually providing a page of images or Flash files to the users
- Showing keywords in the content only when the search engine crawlers are requesting the page and not when an actual human visitor accesses the page.
How to do cloaking in SEO? What are some of the common Cloaking Practices?
We have seen above how webmasters show different content to search engines and actual users to gain high search engine rankings.
Let us understand what common practices are followed by webmasters to index their websites. We know that a web page is indexed on a search engine based on the meta tags, page titles, and other SEO techniques.
So keeping this in mind, the webmasters optimize these basic SEO techniques through the cloaking method:
- Hidden text
Under this cloaking SEO technique, additional keywords are added to existing content and it is overwritten in such a way that it is hidden from the actual users.
The keyword stuffing is done to rank higher in the search engines, these additional words or content is introduced on the webpage in the same colour that of background colour which is not visible to human eyes but can be tracked by the search engine bots.
- Websites built in Flash
Building websites in flash is not recommended as per the SEO guidelines. However several websites are built in flash only or use flash for some features.
Such website developers do not rebuild their websites in plain HTML; they only create content-rich web pages which are provided to search engine crawlers. The actual website with flash pages is provided to online visitors.
- Email cloaking
Email cloaking involves masking the name and address of the sender so that the recipient is now aware who is sending the email.
- Text to HTML ratio
Search engines recommend having a high “TEXT to HTML ratio” to optimize a website. In simple words, the website should have more written content on the page as compared to the number of HTML tags.
Websites posting short articles or having less content on their page, have a low text to HTML ratio. In such instances the webmasters so not redesign the website for SEO; they cloak the content to meet the SEO guidelines. Read more about SEO and how it works at our blog
- Image Gallery Websites
Image gallery websites are websites which have more images as compared to the actual content on their pages.
These images even if relevant are not scanned by search engine bots or crawlers. So, webmasters cloak the website with keywords and content which can help them get top ranking.
Is cloaking illegal?
Cloaking is an attempt to distort the search engine rankings by creating cloak content. It is an illegal practice and considered a Black hat SEO cloaking technique.
There are instances where the search engines have permanently banned the websites who engage in cloaking from indexing on their sites.
How does Google penalize for cloaking?
Google keeps updating its algorithm frequently and if their algorithm finds out that you have used cloaking on your website, you may get blacklisted from Google.
BMW was blacklisted by Google for breaking its guidelines in February 2006.
Should you do cloaking in SEO?
In the Search Engine Optimization industry, cloaking is considered to be a black hat technique which is considered illegal and violates the Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
If you want to know whether you should do cloaking to rank higher in the search engine rankings, we would advise you against it. Your website is crawled multiple times using different IP addresses by the search engine.
They use complex and strict algorithms which will help in detecting any cloaking on your website. It is advisable to avoid all the cloaking SEO techniques mentioned above to keep your website being banned or blacklisted by Google or other search engines.
Rank High without Black Hat SEO techniques
If you want to optimize your website and do not want to apply any Black Hat SEO techniques like cloaking, contact us at GSM Marketing Agency.
GSM Marketing Agency is a professional SEO service provider in Tucson; we strongly believe that to succeed in the long run it is essential for every business to invest in good SEO services. SEO is a powerful tool which helps in increasing the traffic volume and improving its quality.
We don’t believe in focusing on quick, easy results. Instead, we work towards developing high-quality content, inbound marketing, and internal and external link building for long-term success.