Cloaking in SEO is a technique for improving a website’s search engine ranks for specific keywords by serving users content or information that differs from what is shown to search engine crawlers.
Isn’t it true that we all desire our webpage or website to be first in a search engine’s results page? All we have to do is optimize our website to make it appear deserving of a high position. However, Search Engine Optimization is a gradual process, and we do not want to wait.
To catapult into the top results of a SERP, an easier option is to apply “Black Hat SEO Techniques.” In SEO, one such strategy is cloaking. Let’s talk about it some more.
Every company wants its website or webpage to appear on the first page of the search engine results (SERP). The website must be optimised in order to attain a high search engine rating. Search engine optimization is a long-term procedure that does not yield quick benefits.
Using Black Hat SEO Techniques is a quicker and easier technique to optimize the website. One approach for catapulting your website to the top of the SERP results is black hat SEO cloaking.
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What is Cloaking in SEO?
Cloaking is a technique for improving a website’s or webpage’s search engine ranking by deceiving search engine crawlers into believing that the content on the page is different than it actually is.
Examples of Cloaking in SEO
- Search engines are presented with a page of HTML text, whereas humans are presented with a page of images or Flash files.
- Only displaying keywords in the content when search engine crawlers request the page, rather than when a real human visitor visits the page.
What are the different types of Cloaking and how is it done?
- User-Agent Cloaking
- IP based cloaking
- HTTP_REFERER cloaking
- HTTP Accept-language header cloaking
A user-agent (also known as a software agent) is a programme that acts on behalf of a user. A web browser, for example, is a user-agent that retrieves website information from an operating system. When you type a query into the browser, the browser transmits a code to the server that identifies and distinguishes the user-agent. Cloaked content is served if the user-agent is identified as a crawler.
Every user that visits a website is assigned an IP address based on their geographic location and internet service provider. Users are routed to the target page via a website with a big traffic volume and a good SERP rating. You can do this by identifying the IP address with reverse DNS records (accessible in your hosting company’s cPanel) and redirecting it with htaccess. This is the most used cloaking method.
The requester’s HTTP REFERER header is examined in this technique, and a cloaked or uncloaked version of the website is served based on that.
HTTP Accept-Language Header Cloaking
This technique validates the user’s HTTP Accept-Language header and presents a particular version of the website based on the match result. Simply put, if a search engine’s HTTP Accept-Language header is present, a cloaked version of the website is served.
What are the common ways to implement Cloaking in SEO?
With a few simple suggestions, we can now understand how to use cloaking:
Invisible or Hidden text
This can be accomplished by making the text the same colour as the backdrop, so it is not visible to the naked eye.
According to SEO rules, Flash is not encouraged. However, some websites are unable to avoid it. Rather than rebuilding the entire website in plain HTML, they create content-rich webpages and give search engine crawlers with them, as well as visitors with flash pages.
HTML Rich Websites
A decent SEO method necessitates a high “TEXT to HTML ratio.” To put it another way, your web page should have more text (content) than your HTML tags. However, if you’re producing short articles or blog posts, the text-to-HTML ratio will be quite low. People choose cloaking to meet SEO criteria to prevent having to re-design their website in such situations.
Replacement of Java Scripts
Websites built in Flash
According to SEO guidelines, building websites in flash is not recommended. Several websites, on the other hand, are constructed entirely in flash or use flash for some of their features.
Such website developers do not rebuild their websites in plain HTML; instead, they generate content-rich web pages that search engine spiders may access. Online visitors are given access to the actual website, which includes flash pages.
Email cloaking is the process of hiding the sender’s identity and address so that the recipient has no idea who is sending the email.
Text to HTML ratio
To optimise a website, search engines recommend having a high “TEXT to HTML ratio.” Simply put, the website should contain more written content on the page than HTML tags.
The text to HTML ratio is low on websites that offer short articles or have little content on their pages. In such cases, webmasters do not revamp the website for SEO purposes; instead, they conceal the content to comply with SEO requirements. Visit our blog to learn more about SEO and how it works.
Image Gallery Websites
Websites that feature more photographs on their pages than actual content are known as image gallery websites.
Even if the photographs are relevant, search engine bots and crawlers do not scan them. As a result, webmasters cloak their sites in keywords and content that will assist them get top rankings.
What is Google’s Penalty for Cloaking?
The search engine’s algorithm is updated on a regular basis, and if you use cloaking, they will eventually figure it out and may permanently block your website from being indexed. In February 2006, Google “blacklisted” BMW, a German automobile manufacturer, for violating its criteria.
Should Cloaking be done in SEO?
Cloaking is considered a black hat method in the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) sector, as it violates Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
If you ask us if you should use cloaking to deceive crawlers and rank higher, we will say no because search engines dislike being deceived. Furthermore, your website is crawled numerous times using different IP addresses, and if you use cloaking, their advanced and tight algorithm will find it.
To achieve high search engine rankings, webmasters offer separate information to search engines and actual users, as we’ve seen above.
Let’s look at some of the most frequent methods used by webmasters to index their sites. Based on meta tags, page titles, and other SEO strategies, we know that a web page is indexed by a search engine.
Is Cloaking illegal?
Cloaking is a method of manipulating search engine rankings by hiding content. It is a prohibited activity that is classified as a black hat SEO cloaking method.
In certain cases, search engines have permanently barred websites that use cloaking from being indexed on their sites.
Keep in mind the strategies we discussed in this post to determine what Google considers to be cloaking and what isn’t. Please share your ideas in the comments section below.