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What is cloaking



4:39 am on Dec 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


i joined the forum today, am so excited about what i have been going through. but i will be fast to announce it also that am new to webdesigning. I have a question which is "What is cloaking?" i have heard the terms used several times. How is it done? And what is the advantage and disadvantage if any?

Thanks to all memebers


5:10 am on Dec 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Hello fewa, Welcome to WebmasterWorld!

I think this would be a great "first resource" to answer all of your questions about cloaking...

What is Cloaking


3:10 am on Dec 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Hi fewa, welcome aboard!

Also check out this Cloaking Primer [webmasterworld.com] I wrote awhile back.

Gladstone Nigeria

8:55 am on Jan 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I just came acrross this post. Let me quickly say thanks. I intend to go and check out both the Cloaking Primer and the other site. Some people actually have charged me a fee to help me cloak my affiliate links. I will decide on that after reading the recommended stuff.


9:13 am on Jan 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Cloaking affiliate links has nothing to do with "this" kind of cloaking, which simply put is serving different web page content dependng on who's requesting the page, whether it's a human being using a browser like IE or Firefox, or maybe one or another of the search engine bots.

Cloaking affiliate links is completely different, it's just "masking" the actual URL of the affiliate link using a type of redirect script, redirecting the links with a script running on the site. So instead of the regular affiliate link, it would look like


And the script will know which affiliate (or network) URL to send the user agent to because it identifies the URL that either widgets or gadgets is defined as in the list of variables in the script.


2:32 pm on Jan 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hi everybody,
I think I have an excellent example of cloaking. I asked a site for link exchange and they agreed. when my link was posted on that site, i checked the page thoroughly to decide if it is bad or good neighborhood.
What i found..
While clicking any page, the adress bar is showing always
http://www.example.com having TBPR3 and the catche is pure white, not a single letter there :o
also source viewing is disabled.
Also i saw one redirection was going on when i click the link. So i pasted the redirect URL in my address bar and found the same page with different header, [example1.example.com...] which do not have a google catche.
So guys shall i report it to G through my WMT, any advice?..;)
If mod allow i will post both the URL or any person interested can sticky me

[edited by: volatilegx at 2:25 am (utc) on Jan. 17, 2008]
[edit reason] cleaned up example url [/edit]


2:18 am on Jan 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Just a note... please don't post the URL. It is against the terms of service [webmasterworld.com] of WebmasterWorld. We are not here to "out" cloakers or report people who do things we may not approve of. Whether or not to report such behavior is a personal matter which is up to you.


6:31 am on Jan 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Sorry mod, I know the TOS, thats why i wrote example.com
In some cases, i have seen WebmasterWorld allowed to post the original url, thats why i asked. Never mind and just want to tell you, you people are doing a fantastic job here. i am delighted to be a member of this useful community.


10:38 am on Apr 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator anallawalla is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Quote from volatilegx's 2004 post (which does say cloaking is risky):

The point of all this is that highly optimized web pages are served to search engine spiders while human visitors get a different web page... all from the same URL.

This is what BMW.de did in 2006 and was de-indexed for a few days, so I'd be scared to try it. Cloaking to strip out the session ID is fine, and someone has cited Matt Cutts to that effect.


7:25 am on Jun 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Cloaking is having two separate pages, one optimized for the search engines and a different one optimized for the viewer. Cloaking is a big no-no with Google.


5:44 pm on Jun 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Curious as to update on the CBA - Cost Benefit Analysis here.... it seems this would be very hard for the search engines to "Ban" - given the many legitimate uses - such as detecting browser and language / geography to serve best match content.

But the word scramblings or attempts to improve your keyword SEO relevance by serving a page that is fundamentally different than what humans get to spiders & bots (at least the ethical ones) does seem a bit underhanded - and not useful.

Any updated thoughts as to how this is breaking in the real world today?


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