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Hiding interstitials to SE robots

Is this safe cloaking?

     
8:45 am on Feb 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hi there

we use an interstitial ad in our homepage. It's not always there, usually only a week out of four. When we place the interstitial, search engines crawl it as if was the homepage (the cached version of the hompage turns to be the interstitial and we fall down in SERPs). So we assume we have a problem here.

We've been considering not to show this ad to search engine robots, but we're afraid this could be considered as cloaking.

What do you think? Would it be safe? By the way, how would you do it in an ASP environment?

And, is there any other way to prevent engines from assuming our homepage is an interstitial?

2:53 pm on Feb 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hi raul2010 and welcome to WebmasterWorld :)

I won't judge you on using an interstitial on the home page ;) Cloaking the ad might get you into trouble.

Is there any way you could include both sets of content (the ad and the regular home page) on the page at the same time, say by making the interstitial a Flash file and using CSS to position it over the top of your regular content?

4:05 pm on Feb 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Well, placing this ad is obviously not my decision. I'm just trying to minimize its negative effect :)

We considered the CSS layer thing but liked it even less :(

I wanted to do it more or less like Gamespot or IGN, but I really don't know how. I see the ad when I go there, but google's cached versions show homepages. If they're not cloaking, what do they do? Any ideas?

3:06 am on Feb 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I'm not sure how they do it either. Perhaps with a linked JavaScript document that only executes in a browser.
 

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