Link popularity seems to override all other considerations at Google. In a search for <snip> you will find the local newspaper in #1 position, probably lots of links. But the runner up pages are so full of hidden text, redirects and keyword stuffing that it make you wonder. What sort of content is Google looking for that would make cloaking worthwhile?
First, welcome to the forums. Second, please check the forum charter [webmasterworld.com] (listed at the top of every subforum). We are not the Google spam reporting facility - it would be never ending.
Third, there is no hidden text in the top results that I can see. I do see, 4-5 modest pr valued sites with a fairly decent set of back links and are highly relavant to the search in question. A couple are pretty full of "alt" tag text, but Google doesn't use alt tags.
There's no spam or anything that got those rankings - they were acquired on merit.
As for cloaking and Google. There are mostly non-se related considerations that are worth while.
(edited by: engine at 9:43 am (utc) on April 17, 2002)
Thanks, I was not trying to blow the whistle on anyone, but simply trying to see if I should be using those same tactics. For example, the #3 position page contains about 100 repetitions of the <clip> in white print on a white background and then redirects to a legitimate page. Again, I am not out to blow any whistles, I simply want to know if this is fair game. If I run #2 and #3 through Web Position's Page Critic, thsese pages seem like they should be way down in the pack. They aren't... and I am baffled. Should I emulate them or disregard their methods. I promise to get back to the topic of cloaking once I've got rid of this confusion.
If they are cloaking it would not make a lot of sense to have keywords in same color text as the background then redirect to a different page. More likely they have the ranking in spite of those techniques rather than because if them.
You could probably easily beat them by not emulating their approach, use a lighter SEO hammer than they chose, if you know what I mean.