SEO Cloaking: What It Is & Why It’s Bad News For Your Business
A Black Hat SEO Technique You MUST Avoid
If you’re in, or anywhere near, the SEO world you’ve at least heard the term Cloaking at one time or another. It’s sometimes whispered about on SEO Forums. Sometimes certain search engine optimization professionals, who see no problem doing it, proudly endorse the practice. Should you do it? Before we give you the answer, let’s explain what it is.
Cloaking is nothing more than feeding the search engine bots, including Google’s, different webpages than you feed human visitors. Why do this? Because it allows you to create a page SEOptimized to maximum levels that Google gets, giving you all the ranking benefits possible.
The reason you don’t feed that same page to a real visitor is:
1. The Google feed page just doesn’t sell to the human mind as well. Some of the highest rankings sites and pages have terrible Conversion Rates. They’re geared completely to the search engine bot and it shows. Ranking does not always equal Sales.
2. It allows you to create hundreds of software-created pages that pack in the keywords, yet read like nonsense. This creates the illusion that your site is filled with targeted content. But it really doesn’t. A real visitor would spot this in a minute. The Google bot, not so fast.
GOOGLE’S STANCE ON SEO CLOAKING
Google is getting better and better, though, at detecting sites that are cloaked. The general consensus is that you can get excellent rankings. For a while. However, you run a serious risk of being penalized and possibly banned if detected.
Google even lays it out in writing that Cloaking is against their guidelines and terms. It doesn’t get much clearer than that. However, that hasn’t stopped many less honest SEOs who see it as just a marketing advantage they give themselves.
Before considering the temptations of this ‘technique’, you should be aware of one more thing. Google has formally announced that it will be taking further steps and looking harder at, and for, Cloaking on sites they catalog. That means you and me.
Ultimately the decision is yours. Any SEO who works for clients, however, should never use Cloaking. It is nothing less than putting that client’s site, and their business, at risk. Would you put a lock on the door of a shop that hired you to raise sales? Of course not. So why endanger them online? It really is that simple.
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Article written by Jonathan Cook