Glossary keyword - Cloaking (page cloaking)

Cloaking (page cloaking)

Cloaking is the practice of presenting content to readers that is different from what search engines view. It is an example of Black Hat SEO, which is the activity for getting better ranking through unethical practices. Like all other Black Hat SEO strategies, cloaking is also against the Webmaster Guidelines of Google. 

Types of Cloaking

This strategy aims to trick a search engine into improving the ranking of a website. It presents content to visitors and search engine algorithms in several ways. One of them is the Hidden Text. People add additional information like keywords or duplicate content to increase the relevancy of the page to the algorithm. However, they hide this information for users and, instead, offer distinct content. For instance, using the background color for some parts of the text makes them invisible to people. Nonetheless, the search engine can access this information and rank based on it. 

Flashes

Another cause is the flash, which is not advisable for SEO strategies. Although it may not be useful, some websites are built entirely as a flash, or the website requires a lot of flashes. As it is not beneficial for optimization, those people should move the site to plain HTML. However, instead of renewing, people create new pages full of content. They target these new pages for the search engines while they present flash-based ones to users. 

People usually utilize this unethical tactic when the text content is less for pages. Image galleries or short articles are the common use cases of cloaking. 

Ethical SEO

Getting better rankings is essential for websites. However, website owners should only use ethical SEO practices to improve the visibility of the site. Using strategies that go against the guidelines such as cloaking is both unethical and harmful. The algorithm improves periodically. Therefore, the tricks that work today can be visible to the algorithm in the future. The website runs the risk of being penalized when things are revealed. 

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