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Cloaking : Webmaster World Knowledge base excerpt.
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Brett_Tabke




msg:678829
 9:34 am on May 14, 2001 (gmt 0)
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Cloaking - Stealth

Webmaster World Knowledge Base

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icon Cloaking - Stealth   
 
What is Cloaking?
What is Agent Name Based Cloaking?
What is IP Based Cloaking?
Why would I cloak? What is the benefit?
Will cloaking get me higher rankings on search engines?
How do the search engines feel about cloaking.
Where do I find good IP lists.
Is it better to cloak or not to cloak?
Do the engines penalize for cloaking?
How much different should my cloaked page be compared to my noncloaked page?
Should I try to cloak and deliver for each engine, or all engines combined?
Where can I find cloaking programs and more info?
Total FAQ's this category 12
icon Cloaking - Stealth   
Q: What is Cloaking?
A: Cloaking is the process of serving different versions of a page based upon identifiable information about the user. Often, pages are based upon Agent name and/or IP address (isp host).
  
Q: What is Agent Name Based Cloaking?
A: A custom or default page is produced that is tailored for the Agent being used to connect to the site. From Google, to Microsoft, all major search engines and portals use agent name cloaking to customize a page for a particular agent.
  
Q: What is IP Based Cloaking?
A: A custom or default page is produced for a user based upon the IP address they are connecting to the site with. This can be as simple as given a custom page to WebTV or AOL users based upon their host. It can be as complicated as generating default pages in a particular language for users from specific countries detected by their ISP.
  
Q: Why would I cloak? What is the benefit?
A: There are several reasons many websites cloak:
  1. To generate custom pages for a particular browser. What works in AOL's version of Netscape, won't always work in Internet Explorer.
  2. To protect ones intellectual property rights.
  3. To generate custom pages based upon a users IP address and detected country of origin. Google and Altavista use this technique to form a default page in various languages.
  4. To make a site indexable by search engines. Sites that are of dynamic nature, or have structures not easily indexed by search engines can produce custom pages to allow search engines the benefit of indexing their site.
  5. Flash, Shockwave or other non-textual sites need some method of delivering text based content to text based browsers such as Wap browsers or search engines.
  
Q: Will cloaking get me higher rankings on search engines?
A: If you can't do it without cloaking, you probably can't do it with cloaking. It's not magic.
  
Q: How do the search engines feel about cloaking.
A: Schizophrenic. One month it is "we completely understand", and the next it is a problem. Basically, if cloaking is done to deliver on topic in context quality content to the search engines, they have no problem with it at all. As with a noncloaked page, the only time search engines have a problem with it, is when attempts are made to manipulate the index with word scrambled or other forms of list type, or machine generated data. We have no doubt, that if search engines had to compete for traffic "in the real world", their attitude would be different.
  
Q: Where do I find good IP lists.
A: If you are going to start cloaking, you more than likely are experienced. The best place to start is in your own log files. There are some services on the net with good IP lists. http://www.searchengineworld.com/spiders/spider_ips.htm
  
Q: Is it better to cloak or not to cloak?
A: It can be very rewarding. One of the biggest problems on the net is page theft. If you are cloaked, at least some competitor isn't going to steal your hard earned work. With months upon years of work going into quality optimized sites, can you afford not to cloak?
  
Q: Do the engines penalize for cloaking?
A: None that we know of. However; there are engines that clearly are taking stances against optimization and going to great lengths to thwart optimization efforts. Cloaked or noncloaked, it is still the same game.
  
Q: How much different should by cloaked page be compared to my noncloaked page?
A: A little as you can tolerate. On the surface, the pages should even look as close as you can muster.
  
Q: Should I try to cloak and deliver for each engine, or all engines combined?
A: Tough call. Most often doing one page is easier to manage than all the engines. However; carefully deciding which engines to target is important. Some are vastly different in their algos and it bodes well to target them with a unique page. The question is always that of management. Even after you read everything you can about engines, cloaking for a specific algo is a shot in the dark.
  
Q: Where can I find cloaking programs and more info?
A: Open Directory Project Cloaking Category: http://search.dmoz.org/cgi-bin/search?search=cloaking

Category editor: Air http://dmoz.org/profiles/air.html

  

 

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