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anti-cloaking and de-optimizing

     
4:47 pm on Apr 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Today's goofy question

:: insert boilerplate about how I'm not sure which of 4 forums was the right place to ask this one ::

Are there legitimate and law-abiding ways to "break" your own search results on purpose?

Real-life example (I have a few similar ones): I am darn sure that the people whose googlings lead them to Grandmother Puss, or the Grateful Mouse are not looking for an obscure little picture book dating from circa 1870. I would prefer not to contemplate what they are looking for. It is not a problem in any concrete sense (like bandwidth loss), but everyone would be happier if these particular visitors didn't waste time here in the first place.*

I am thinking something like a global replace of the undesirable words with
pu<span class = "invisible">cat</span>ssy

or
co<span class = "invisible">rooster</span>ck

accompanied of course with appropriate CSS.

Would this work? Obviously not with search engines that use the surface-level text, but will it fool the ones that work from the raw html? Would search engines get mad at me for doing something intended to reduce search results and visits?


* I have occasionally added content to pages when logs suggest that visitors are looking for information that isn't currently on the page. No skin off my nose, and it builds goodwill. But, well, there are limits to helpfulness.
6:00 pm on Apr 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Why don't capitalize on it, create some contacts to redirect the traffic to, with some ROI. Use some js popup asking users the purpose of their visit and let them decide.

If you break the search results you lose the traffic, where the hidden tags - despite of the noble purpose - may look as spam to SEs.
9:52 pm on Aug 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

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If it were me, I would use some server side scripting to check the http_referer header, looking for the objectionable words in the referring URL. Usually they will appear as the "query-string" part of the search engine URL. You could redirect those visitors to the page of your choice. This would prevent your page from being penalized for the tricksy things you are contemplating with respect to the keywords for which you DO want to rank.
10:17 pm on Aug 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Once you grok mod_rewrite, you can do whatever the heck you like with every visitor that turns up, based on any characteristic or combination of characteristics presented in their HTTP request. :)
10:23 pm on Aug 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I would side with volatilegx. In fact, I do something similar on one of my sites, but for a different purpose, and it works very well for me.
11:30 pm on Aug 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Query strings! Woo hoo! All I have to do is read my own boilerplate. And then maybe I'll put up the e-text I haven't yet dared to post although it's got much nicer pictures. Unfortunately it is called "The Rooster, the Mouse and the Little Red Hen"-- only the book doesn't use the word "rooster". (I deliberately did use that word in all alts, just so Project Gutenberg wouldn't be inundated with misguided searches, but of course I couldn't do anything about the body text.)

Once you grok mod_rewrite

I'll come back in the year 2023 then ;)