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cloaking in seo

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What is
cloaking in seo?

  1. This answer was edited.

    Cloaking It involves providing users with content or information that differs from what is provided to search engine crawlers (i.e. spiders or bots) to improve a website’s search engine rankings for certain keywords.

    What are the different types of cloaking and how do they work?

    • Cloaking of user agents
    • Cloaking over IP
    • Script cloaking in Java
    • HTML_REFERER cloaking
    • Cloaking of the Accept-language header for HTTP
    1. Users can disguise their user-agents (software agents) in order to restrict access to their information. As an example, a web browser is a user-agent that retrieves website data from an operating system. Whenever you enter a query, the browser sends a code to the server that identifies the user-agent. When a crawler is identified as the user-agent, cloaked content is served.
    2. A user’s IP address is determined by their location and internet service provider when they access a website. A good SERP ranking and high traffic volume is used to redirect users to the desired page. In this case, you can use reverse DNS records (available in the cPanel of your hosting company) to identify the IP address and set up .htaccess to redirect it. Most people prefer this method of cloaking. 
    3. Claiming using JavaScript: This occurs when users with JavaScript-enabled browsers are served one version of a website, while users with JavaScript disabled (like search engines) are served another.
    4. Cloaking via HTTP_REFERER: In this method, the HTTP_REFERER header of the requester is checked to determine whether a cloaked or uncloaked version of the website should be served.
    5. Cloaking the HTTP Accept-Language header: This technique checks the HTTP Accept-Language header of the user and based on the result, presents a particular version of the website. HTTP Accept-Language headers from search engines are used to serve cloaked versions of websites.

    How is cloaking implemented in SEO?

    Let’s look at a few simple ways we can use cloaking:

    • Text that can’t be seen

    It can be done by adding text in the same colour as the background so that it is not visible to the human eye.

    • Websites using Flash technology

    The SEO guidelines indicate that Flash shouldn’t be used. It is not possible to avoid it for all websites. As a result, rather than making the entire website in plain HTML, they create content-rich pages and provide them to search engine crawlers and flash pages to visitors.

    • Websites with HTML Rich Content

    The TEXT-to-HTML ratio should be as high as possible in a good SEO technique. Basically, you should add a lot more text (content) to your web page rather than just HTML tags. However, if you write short articles or posts, your text to HTML ratio will be very low. In such scenarios, people opt for cloaking to avoid re-designing their website.

    • JScripts are being replaced with HTML

    Using JavaScript, we can show users non-JavaScript-enabled content within Flash or another multimedia element that matches the textual information within the element.  
     

    Google’s cloaking penalty: what is it?

    If you use cloaking, the search engines will sooner or later discover it and may permanently ban your website from being indexed. In February 2006, Google “blacklisted” a German car manufacturer, BMW, for violating its guidelines.

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