Cloaking is one of the more common SEO black hat techniques that you may run across. There are still some SEO professionals using this technique to optimize their websites or those of their client. Unlike the many other SEO techniques available, cloaking is not all that evident to the users if at all – even to those who have a general idea of how it all works. Because of that, you need to make sure that when you hire a SEO company, they are not engaging in any black hat techniques which includes cloaking when they optimize your website.
Let’s take a quick look at this cloaking so we can see how it is implemented. In white hat optimization, the content that the visitor views will be the same as the content that is seen when a search engine spider visits your site. The content is delivered based on the User-Agent HTTP header that will indicate the nature of the user who is requesting the given page. The IP address which is also used to deliver visitor based content will be consistent as well. When cloaking is employed there will be different content that is delivered to the search engines using server side scripting. That content will not be visible to the visitors, nor will be it be visible on the regular pages of the website. In simple terms, cloaking techniques are used to scam the search engines.
Sometimes, cloaking is used to try to trick visitors with the intent of trying to attract them to a particular site which is different from the site that they believe they are being directed to. For instance a person may believe they are going to visit a site with information on skin cancer, but instead they could find them self staring at a site that has images of naked people instead. All too often, sites featuring adult themed content use this method to get unsuspecting visitors into their site. Every major search engines considers cloaking to be a black hat SEO trick. Usually if any site is detected using a cloaking technique it is removed from the SERP listing.
In DMOZ, human editors review websites before they approve them. Those persons are very skilled at what they do and have the proper tools to ferret out any deceptive practices to circumvent the rules making it an almost futile gesture to try. Though it might be very tempting use cloaking to get better ranking and to get some quick visitors you can ruin your website’s reputation for life by engaging in such practices. Once your website gets bad reputation among the search engines, it gets rather difficult to run away from the effects.