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I would like to deliver content to a visitor that differs depending upon the http referrer tag. What I would like to be assured of is that some of the content is NEVER displayed to a search engine bot.
My first question is, do search engine bots carry http referrer data when they arrive from another site? Namely, if I have a script that pseudo wise does the follow:
If HTTP referrer is blank
deliver content A;
elseif HTTP referrer is not blank
deliver content B;
Will the search engine robot ever be delivered content B? This is what I'd like to avoid...
I want to deliver something that would require a human based decision
I didn't suss this from your initial question - you'll need to add some type of interaction to the page that can't be "botted", like a Turing test - PHP Architect has a really good article on this:
That's actually a very interesting read.
A turing test isn't exactly what I need however as I still want to deliver some content to the bot. The turing tests I've seen most often on the internet (and described in that article) are based on blocking robots from proceeding. I suppose I could do a time delayed redirect and hope that I've given the human enough time to fill in the turing test while also suggesting to the bot not to index the human content. (Without going into detail I don't want to include bot exclusion for the page).
Doing some reading at WebmasterWorld it also makes sense that search engines really protect against delivering content based upon whether a visitor is a robot/human. I really don't want to get into a non-stop redirect battle and face getting accidentally banned if my attempts are mistaken as malicious cloaking.
Can you suggest any other resources that might be helpful?
Are there any legitimate ways to psuedo wise do:
If you're a robot:
You get content B
elseif you're a human:
You get content A
Simply have your bot test override the referer test; so given that you've got a bot; serve what you want.
Altavista frequently dumps funny URLs in the referer field. I've never seen G'bot present a referer tho'.
serve bot content
if (referer is "")
serve human content A
serve human content B
I would separate the logic
do your cloaking the traditional way; based on IP and/or UA.
Altavista frequently dumps funny URLs in the referer field.
At the same time I'm still curious about the http referrer junk that bots send. I've periodically checked my logs and empirically I've got to agree that at this time googlebots don't send referrers.
Does anyone know if scooter follows any kind of pattern with it's referrer junk dumps? I could then always just add a ereg to just dump any referrers that contained a known junk pattern....