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Cloaking Forum

Creative freedom in web design
Is cloaking acceptable for aesthetic reasons?

 2:26 am on Jun 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

I studied fine art back in college and now I'm being pulled into web design and development kicking and screaming. I'm more concerned about form than function so consequently I produce pure graphic [text included] web pages for a unique look. I've been compensating, for SEO reasons, by repeating the meta tag descriptions and keywords as "hidden" text on the web page. The meta tags and hidden text are not meant to mislead anyone; it's done for the aesthetic effect and the code matches the content.

Does this constitute cloaking? And if so, is it an acceptable form of cloaking? Or will I be banned?

Neophyte Web Designer



 2:52 am on Jun 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Not quite founding > if hidden I don't see how any aesthetics can be seen.

Is this cloaking > no

Is it an undesirable technique > from what you have said > yes.


 3:29 am on Jun 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

You'd have to see one of my site designs to understand and appreciate the aesthetic but I think they frown on including any URLs in these discussions. It's viewed as self-promotion. So moore important, fathom, if this is not considered cloaking, what makes you say that it's undesirable?


 4:13 am on Jun 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

From the way you presented > it's not cloaking > cloaking served up one page/code to a browser agent and a different one to a robot agent (crawler, spider etc.).


 5:19 pm on Jun 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'd say it definitely is not cloaking, but is undesirable. You can be penalized or even banned for using hidden text.

When designing websites, one is wise to consider the ultimate purpose of the website. If it is to draw traffic to the website for the purpose of selling a product or service, then it's a good idea to use a text-heavy website, because text is indexable by search engines, whereas graphics are not. Graphics look pretty, but text sells.

Then again, if you just want to show off a pretty website, and aren't concerned about sales, then a graphics heavy website is OK.

The most successful websites have a blend of good, clean design, with lots of text, and load quickly.

Blue Gravity

 4:27 pm on Jun 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

That is not cloaking, that is just keyword stuffing and hidden text. You'd probably be penalized by more than one engine for doing so.

Don't overuse your keywords in the tags and titles. Hidden text does nothing good for anyone anymore. It may have worked back in the early days, but definitely is useless now, so you're only hurting the sites you work with.


 4:53 pm on Jun 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks everyone for the important advice and information. With a better understanding of the concept I was able to retool/redesign my index page(s) for SEO above reproach. Again, I appreciate those who took time from their busy schedules to post a kind response.

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