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Am I cloaking unknowingly?



5:04 am on Jan 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I had never read anything about this subject until recently and I am wondering if what I am doing is considered cloaking.

I have web pages that display normally when a visitor browses my site, but if you do a search on a SE and come to the same page that way it populates the page with a different set of products based on the keywords the user used to find the link. Same page, different results.

For the most part I see this as a positive thing, however, I have seen it cause problems such as when Google has a specific product with a direct link to it, the user may not see that product due to the search terms they used. But for the most part it works pretty well.

Back to the original question... is that considered cloaking?


6:41 am on Jan 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

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

Cloaking, in general, means showing one thing to a visitor and a different thing to the search engine. Most SEs won't like this. Users, too.


5:17 pm on Jan 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Yeah, I was afraid someone would say that... I changed the pages for the time being so they show the same for everyone.

On a side note, those pages have been that way for months. I use an SEO so Google Bot visits virtually every day and some of my products/pages still come up first or close to first on certain Google searches. Does this mean they aren't bothered by it?


10:40 am on Mar 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member themadscientist is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Yes, I think you're definitely showing something different to visitors than GoogleBot that way ... One thing you might consider though is putting the options on the page and changing the order they're displayed in, rather than changing waht's displayed. What I'm suggesting is not 'changing the content of the page' but rather 'targeting the content order to the visitor' so it's a bit different than cloaking, imo ... As always, use at your own risk and YMMV.


11:27 am on Mar 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have been re-ordering my content for visitors from SEs for years with no noticeable problems. Having said that I also re-order the content each day so Googlebot probably gets a different view each time he visits as well.


2:20 pm on Mar 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Thanks for the responses I have been thinking about doing something similar. I have a search feature naturally and am going to have the SE search terms automatically appear in the search box so all one has to do is click the search button to see the results.

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