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Google Just Advocate Cloaking?

     
4:25 pm on Jul 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

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

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(hat tip - @engine )

Here you have Google's John Mueller advocating "blocking it from indexing" from the index. aka: cloaking:

Another thing you didn't mention, but which is common with forums is low-quality user-generated content. If you have ways of recognizing this kind of content, and blocking it from indexing, it can make it much easier for algorithms to review the overall quality of your website. The same methods can be used to block forum spam from being indexed for your forum. Depending on the forum, there might be different ways of recognizing that automatically, but it's generally worth finding automated ways to help you keep things clean & high-quality, especially when a site consists of mostly user-generated content.


http://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/webmasters/WnhIz4fdTbc/discussion
6:32 pm on July 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month

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I don't see why this would be considered cloaking.

Within my personal experience, when a forum chooses not to be indexed it's to maintain privacy for the users. We don't want some random person to wander into the middle of an ongoing conversation among people who know each other.
11:17 pm on July 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Since when did blocking become cloaking? Cloaking is displaying different content to bots.
2:45 am on July 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

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i read "blocking it from indexing" to mean "use a meta robots noindex element or equivalent X-Robots-Tag HTTP Response header".
this is not cloaking.
3:43 pm on July 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I see where you 'want' to go with this, but look at it another way. A granular distinction, but an important one. It is another little insight into the new world thought process (seo's are evil) of the Google algo programming dept.

> when a forum chooses not to be indexed

To me, he is suggesting cherry picking content to be indexed or not. No where did he mention robots.txt.

> If you have ways of recognizing this kind of content,
> and blocking it from indexing

I don't see "blocking" as robots.txt. Blocking a bot is via a programmed method is cloaking. eg: give - or block - Google one version and allow the other version for a user.
4:21 pm on July 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

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There is no "wanting". Cloaking and blocking are terms that are completely different from each other. The one described above has absolutely nothing to do with cloaking.

Blocking certain areas of the website has never and will never be considered as cloaking. It is a common practice to block from robots thin or irrelevant content of the website. That's why we have all that no-index thing. It's designed specifically for that.

Cloaking is when you show "Content A" to the robot and "Content B" to the user for the very same url. That is cloaking. It's completely different from blocking.

For example, "foo" category of this forum can be blocked from search engines to reduce the noise, and make it clear for search engines what the forum is about. Users can talk about aliens, politics, private lives, and that has nothing to do with web industry. Hence, it is wise to block that category to not confuse search engines what this all, in general, is about.

Cloaking would be displaying web industry-related content to the googlebot, as if we're discussing some serious business in that category, but a complete foo to the users. That's cloaking...

Cheers
4:34 pm on July 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Reread the original post. He is not talking about robots.txt.

Another thing you didn't mention, but which is common with forums is low-quality user-generated content. If you have ways of recognizing this kind of content, and blocking it from indexing, it can make it much easier for algorithms to review the overall quality of your website. The same methods can be used to block forum spam from being indexed for your forum. Depending on the forum, there might be different ways of recognizing that automatically, but it's generally worth finding automated ways to help you keep things clean & high-quality, especially when a site consists of mostly user-generated content.


eg: cloaking