What Is Cloaking In SEO & Why You Need It

What is cloaking in SEO? Cloaking is when a website will show one version of its content to crawlers and search engines, and a different version of the content to human viewers. This practice, if detected by Google, will result in algorithmic penalties that cause your site’s ranking on the SERPs to drop like a rock. And today I’m here to tell you about what is cloaking in SEO. So, let’s know about it!

What Is Cloaking In SEO?

Cloaking has been frowned upon in SEO because it is not obvious to users. With this type of SEO strategy, customers can be deceived into buying products or services they did not intend to purchase. Or are otherwise shown results that are not aligned with their original search query.

In the past, webmasters have used cloaking as a way to trick the search engines. And rank higher in organic searches without actually providing the information that a visitor was looking for. 

How Do You Detect Cloaking?

Google has actually stated that it cannot detect cloaking from outside of the website itself. If you suspect that your competitor or another site is practicing cloaking to deceive Google and its users; a simple way to test this theory is to clone their site and add a bit of code in the header tag. You can let Google know with Google Search Console that you are testing some new features on your website.

Doing so makes sure that all incoming requests are treated as “cloaked”. When you do this, Google will see the cloned version of your page. Whereas the rest of the world will see only one version of it.

How Beneficial Is Cloaking For Search Engine Optimization?

Many webmasters use cloaking because it allows them to provide users with different content; or separate pages. Depending on whether the visitor is a human being or a search engine crawler. This type of strategy also allows a company to strongly protect its good reputation. 

In order to do this, a website can create different pages that are optimized for human visitors. And others that are targeted at search engine crawlers. It is important to note that Google does not encourage this practice. Because it will cause the ranking of your site’s content to be harmed. The primary reason webmasters use cloaking is that it enables them to rank higher without providing the information that users are actually looking for.

What Are The Types Of Cloaking?

Cloaking is used for many different purposes and can be divided into two categories.

The first type of cloaking is e-commerce related. When a company has an online store, it may have a separate page specifically for search engines that is optimized to rank highly in SERPs. This type of cloaking is used so that the site attracts human visitors while also making sure that search engines are able to crawl it properly. 

This kind of cloaking has become a common practice in SEO because it helps companies attract more traffic from SERPs without having to worry about getting penalized by Google. The second type of cloaking is more related to reputation management and was very popular in the past.

Is Cloaking Classified As Black Hat Seo?

Cloaking is considered a type of black hat SEO because it is not an ethical practice. Google frowns upon this strategy because it can harm the quality of your ranking in the SERPs by tricking Google and its users. The most important thing you should remember about cloaking is that you should never try to trick your users into viewing something other than what they were searching for.

Final Words

As you can already know what is cloaking in SEO. Although it is not a black hat, it is very harmful to your ranking in the SERPs if you are trying to rank for a term that does not appear on your website. Cloaking will cause Google’s search engine algorithms to start punishing sites with suspiciously high traffic and low search queries.

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