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Cloaking Forum

    
Bad Cloaking & Good Cloaking
The differences
Blue Gravity




msg:678071
 4:24 pm on Jun 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Lately I've been running around viewing other people's sites on the engines (not just Google), and trying to pinpoint cloakers. I'm actually seeing a lot more of it lately, but not in the good way. It's what I dub as "Bad Cloaking" as opposed to "Good Cloaking".

There are many forms of cloaking out there. Whether it be Page Cloaking, URL Cloaking, Dynamic Link Cloaking, etc. Just to help some people out I've devised a small glossary on cloaking methods I think people need to understand before they rush into it.

Bad Cloaking = Using blatant spam methods, that are so obvious it hurts me not to laugh. If you're going to cloak, you need to read up on it, and experiment first, before going after top spots. Bad cloaking also looks like something used by someone who doesn't spend a whole lot of time on their pages either. One that just aims for top spots as fast as possible, without a care for people finding out that they are doing it. Using random words and content that makes zero sense.

Good Cloaking = I'd define this as being able to tell the person is cloaking only after looking over it a few times and noticing script errors or errors that aren't the cloakers fault. Someone that pays attention to detail, cares about their pages, spends some time thoroughly checking their pages to make sure they look as real and normal as possible. Pages with actual content on it too, not just random words here and there with sprinkled keywords stuffed into the page.

Overall, when you begin cloaking, it doesn't mean you need to make blatant spam pages. Sure the engine spiders see one page and surfers see another, but the more you make your cloaking pages resemble your real pages, the better chance you have at not only cloaking properly, but not getting yourself into any trouble either.

 

SEO practioner




msg:678072
 4:49 pm on Jun 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hello Blue Gravity and welcome to webmaster world!

I don't agree with what your' saying though. Cloaking is just that:- Cloaking.

It is against the terms of service of all engines.

There is no such thing as good cloaking and bad cloaking. Cloaking is presenting different content to the engines than your visitors.

If you have a good site with good content to your users, why would anybody want to present different content to the spiders? It dosen't make any sense when you think about it.

My 2 cents

micahb37




msg:678073
 8:27 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Cloaking is presenting different content to the engines than your visitors

Would serving a text version of a page with the same content as a graphics version to a spider, and the reverse to a user be considered cloaking based on your definition?

micah

SEO practioner




msg:678074
 11:30 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Again, why would you want to do that micah? I don't see the purpose

jomaxx




msg:678075
 4:22 am on Jun 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

It doesn't really matter whether this forum agrees that such-and-such kind of cloaking is either good or bad. Either it survives a manual check or it doesn't.

IMO, if you are going to create a text version of your site, just do so and call it a "low-bandwidth version". Not only does this negate the need for cloaking, but people will love you for it. You may even find it becomes more popular than the fancy-pants version.

Blue Gravity




msg:678076
 1:02 am on Jun 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

if you are going to create a text version of your site, just do so and call it a "low-bandwidth version". Not only does this negate the need for cloaking, but people will love you for it. You may even find it becomes more popular than the fancy-pants version.

Good idea!

mil2k




msg:678077
 7:07 am on Jun 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

There is no such thing as good cloaking and bad cloaking.

I think you got the context wrong. The thread is not about what is ethical or not.. but rather on Better cloaking methods. Although I agree that it is against the terms of service of all engines. :)

but the more you make your cloaking pages resemble your real pages, the better chance you have at not only cloaking properly, but not getting yourself into any trouble either.

Here lies the difference between a Good Cloaker and a Normal Cloaker.

Alphawolf




msg:678078
 9:36 am on Jun 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

IMO, if you are going to create a text version of your site, just do so and call it a "low-bandwidth version". Not only does this negate the need for cloaking, but people will love you for it. You may even find it becomes more popular than the fancy-pants version.

Duplicate content worries though, no?

Regards,

AW

peewhy




msg:678079
 9:43 am on Jun 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

The good thing about text is that you can paraphrase and shift it around so to avoid duplicate content.

DaveN




msg:678080
 10:05 am on Jun 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

isn't cloaking when you serve up different content full stop.

so what about these large corps that direct you to your language page by ip address or search engines that direct you to the uk portal and not the com.

dave

ukgimp




msg:678081
 10:25 am on Jun 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

Bad Cloaking
You can see it or track it easily

Good Cloaking
You cant see it or easily track it.

Different way of looking at the question.

cheers

jomaxx




msg:678082
 5:37 pm on Jun 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

I don't see the duplicate content concern in this case. Assuming that cloaking is being done for the benefit of the search engine spider, because the site's information is predominantly contained within Flash code or images or whatever, then a text version will not look anything like the original version to a spider.

Of course there are cases where a low-bandwidth version contains the same text with the graphics mostly removed. That *could* be seen as duplicate content, in which case you might want to ensure that only one of the pages gets indexed, but I'm not of the opinion that there is a real penalty for duplicate content anyway.

peewhy




msg:678083
 6:27 pm on Jun 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

Many would say cloaking is cloaking and there is no good cloaking. The other side of the coin is, if you can disguise it, and get away with ... it can't be cloacking.

deanril




msg:678084
 8:44 pm on Jun 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have a good competitor who is cloaking just click on the "Google cache" and there it is.

I hate this guy and Im trying to get him removed. If you cant write good pages and seo in the process then I consider you a theif. A person trying to steal what is not theirs.

You get what you deserve. I really dont care if you have a "Graphics site" my site is graphic but somehow I manage to write text and have my graphics just fine.

Good Cloaker I agree hard to detect
Bad Cloaker just click on the cache

Either way thieves, do good business and good business will come to you, do bad business and bad business will come to you, its all carma.

peewhy




msg:678085
 5:14 am on Jun 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

well said deanril, sometimes we have to fight fire with fire, don't sit and hate him - you can progress, and still hate him!

johnser




msg:678086
 10:02 am on Jun 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Think back to caveman days.

All the lads were hanging out together throwing stones at animals instead of being able to go to McDonalds.

All of a sudden one of the boys gets this great idea and figures out how to make & throw a spear.

Guess what? The other guys are really jealous - "Its not fair, who does he think he is" etc etc. Do you think Mr Spear cared as long as he was getting all the food & women? I don't think so.

Imagine how Mr Spear felt when Mr Bow & Arrow visited?

If you're in business, you will have competitors whether you like it or not. If someone is doing better than you, good on them is what I say. Their spear is better than your rock.

They've already gone through the exact same mental process as you have in order to do better.

Don't moan, complain & shout "thief/its not fair". Learn, adapt, be flexible, make mistakes, try again.

This is the cut-throat world of business. Not playschool.

You essentially need to be following Moore's law to stay current with SEO - ie: your knowledge must double every 18 months.

My 2 cents :)
J

deanril




msg:678087
 7:44 pm on Jun 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

You have a point, and when I get said Spear-chucker booted off of google then is my Rock better then?

I believe you analogy is way off.

Cloaking is bad when you optimize a page full of text for spiders, then show another page BECAUSE, google wants to deliver relevant content, your cloaked page may be relevant but your site isnt, and that what your showing the people.

Only good cloaking might be hiding your meta crap, I dont even think thats worth the effort. So to me cloaking is wrong, and when you get the boot, and none of this $$$$$ then you will see.

Its so easy not to cloak and have the same effect. You take your cloaked spider page, why cant you make a real page with that optimized text and key phrases? Why because the cloaking software does it for you, and you are lazy.

mat_bastian




msg:678088
 7:54 pm on Jun 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

lazyness has nothing to do with it. If I have to cloak, it is often because the search engines are not technologically able or willing to spider and index mine and my potential site users chosen file format.

I don't want to have to build multiple versions of a site. I have to.

johnser




msg:678089
 8:11 pm on Jun 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well as a spear-chucker, if you throw me off, I'm just going to have to build my bow & arrow.

It all depends on your business. If you run a hobby site about Widgets and sell them after your 9-5 job, then you probably think cloaking is bad. Fine.

On the other hand, if you've lots of clients (like we do) and you get paid depending on how well they do (like we do), you're not going to want to do anything stupid which harms you & your clients. If you take any other attitude, you won't be in business for long.

Heres an eg.

Suppose we're employed by a youth hostel in Colorado to get them good traffic. They have a very nice pretty 10 page site they've spent a bit on.

We want to get them traffic on 100 phrases. Heres what we do: We ask them to provide us with 2 pages of relevant text for every single phrase they want targeted. Once we get this, we manually optimise every single 1 of our 100 cloaked webpages.

Result?
Relevant results to SE's, relevant content to users, good traffic for our client. Win win win

Duration of optimimisation? 2 days max.

Note the bit about "manual" optimisation. Thats not being lazy. Its being smart. Whats the altenative? Spend 2 weeks building a beautiful website with tonnes of attractive well optimised text? Sure. What hostel do you know would be prepared to pay an SEO for 2 weeks work on top of the - to them - already substantial costs of design in the first place?

If you work with many clients, you do what works for them, for you & most of all for the SE's.

Relevant on-topic content leading to nice pretty pages is the key IMHO. Doesn't matter how its done if it works. Everyone wins except your moaning competitor. Hard but true.

Now where did I leave my arrows...........

deanril




msg:678090
 10:28 pm on Jun 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yeah thats all nice, but when your client gets the boot what do you do?

Its still cheating, you said it yourself "Spend 2 weeks building a beautiful website with tonnes of attractive well optimised text?"

Do your clients know they are gaining rank because you cheated the system?

What if, their site is not the best, what if there is a better one ranking lower, and could provide better service?

its a lose lose lose situation. You cant justify cheating and stealing from other companies because it suits YOUR SEO needs, to provide SEO at resonable rates. That is self-serving, and not in the best interest of your clients.

mat_bastian




msg:678091
 10:55 pm on Jun 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

You really seem to be pointing a firm and unwaivering finger at people who use cloaking.

I don't want to have to cloak, but my clients want to use swf technology. They are made aware of the risks.

Cloaking is not used for evil in my case no matter how you and google want to dictate efficacy and morality behind technology.

I have said it many times, cloaking is a bandaid solution for me, but one that needs to be used when My clients want to use swf. If google doesn't want my content in it's index, it's incumbent upon them to weed it out. They are the ones who have built their business atop the content of millions of webmasters. I'll take what I can get from them, and I'll be damned if anyone is gonna tell me I'm doing something wrong by appeasing my clients and not google.

Convince search engines to Index and spider swf and then we won't have to worry about it.

deanril




msg:678092
 11:19 pm on Jun 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

As long as you sleep good at night thats all that matters really.

Its all moral I guess. I sleep great, and have no worries.

oilman




msg:678093
 11:20 pm on Jun 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

I haven't slept well in months and I don't cloak at all - maybe I should ;)

mil2k




msg:678094
 7:07 am on Jun 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

I haven't slept well in months and I don't cloak at all - maybe I should

LOL. you should only cloak if you kow what you are doing and have informed your customers.

mat_bastian




msg:678095
 7:21 am on Jun 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

heading off to bed now.

johnser




msg:678096
 9:13 am on Jun 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Correct mil2k

>>>>when your client gets the boot what do you do?
Starve - theres no money coming in :)

We try to avoid that situation and have done so far
J

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