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How can cloaked sites be ranking well at Google?

Nearly all commercial searches ....

   
3:28 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



There were several threads last month about cloaking (doing it for spammy reasons) and the steady rise of cloaked sites doing really well in Google. On Google.co.uk nearly all of the most competative keywords my clients wish to rank under have cloaked sites for the top 20-30 spots.

My clients are begging me to implement cloaking scripts on their sites aswell as that is the only way I can think of to fight it. I don't want to, I think spam cloaking is dispicable but Google aren't leaving me much option.

What I don't understand is, that if their algorithm is so brilliant how come cloaked sites (the pages which are fed to the crawlers) have poor inbound links, low quality content, almost non-existent internal linking structure and yet they rank at the top? In my opinion, the pages that the cloaks feed to crawlers shouldn't rank highly even if they WERE the actual pages users were seeing!

12:04 am on May 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Hey Googleguy,

It's very simple to remove this spam! Two simple criteria:

1) third level domain (kw1-kw2.domain.com)
2) NOARCHIVE

99% of these pages are spam (cloaking and redirecting).

12:07 am on May 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



sounds like a known subdomain trick to me.... wildcard subdomains + htaccess + php = SPAM . I wont go into it, but i reported lots of sites using this trick, unfortuneately it is hard for the algo to catch them.
1:04 am on May 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member kaled is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



It's just a thought, but perhaps the MIME type of the cloaked pages need to be checked. Perhaps keyword stuffing works for text/plain but not text/html.

To test this, you'll need an HTTP viewer that has a programmable User Agent.

I'll sticky an url to anyone wants to check this possibility.

Kaled.

5:02 am on May 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



It would be ridiculously easy for google to decide tomorrow that noarchive=noindex. That would be a good starting place. As to why pages with little p.r. and no real content... maybe even not a coherent sentence on the page rank well now... They just do. Only the techs at the plex know why (if then). :)
10:08 am on May 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ciml is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



The pages (like I said, the top 20-30 in some instances) are poorly optimized, hardly ranked to, not internally themed or anchored either and yet they are ranking high. The only factor is the cloaking, for some reason it feels like Google is giving extra marks for cloaking!

internetheaven, I'm sorry that you find my view derogatory. I simply believe that what you claim in this thread is wrong.

10:30 am on May 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



internetheaven, you hit the nail on the head.

I found a perfect example today <snip>.

[edited by: ciml at 10:32 am (utc) on May 20, 2004]
[edit reason] Please see StickyMail. [/edit]

11:45 am on May 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member caveman is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Liane, thank you!

Too many are fond of saying "there is no spam..."

Cloaking can be reasonable and done with fair minded intent, or cloaking can be deceptive and spammy, as suggested by Liane's passage:

I found a cloaked site today (#1 of course) which delivered entirely different content to the search engine than that which the user sees. The text the search engine was fed was totally keyword stuffed! Heck, the webmaster didn't even bother trying to mimic the page the user sees. He just put up a text file using lots of H1 tags and a string of keywords followed by a couple of nonsensical paragraphs followed by another string of keywords.

Let's cut to the chase: The question should *not* be, "How can these sites be doing well?" That's sort of like asking "How can there still be war in modern, enlightened society?"

The only question you need to ask yourself is, do you wish to use cloaking as a weapon, or not.

If not, please re-read ciml's simple, excellent advice:

Well, I suggest you make that page that would get you to the top, then look at your human friendly page and see which aspects you forgot first time round.
1:24 pm on May 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Cloaking is only bad if the surfer gets redirected to unrelated commercial sites. Usually spammers/cloakers know the value and niche of their traffic and will redirect to very relevant sponsors.

If people are searching for Viagra and gets redirected to a viagra sponsor what's the problem?

If people are searching for online poker and gets redirected to a casino sponsor what's the problem?

Google's anti-spam meassures (florida/austin) actually caused the complete opposite. Extremely non relevant SERP's and annoyed surfers.

Maybe they could re-implement a scoring penalty on sites that had the nocache tag.

1:34 pm on May 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



And just to add:

Page optimization has much less value these days.
It is not uncommon to find pages scoring top3 for "blue widgets" without having the word "blue widgets" on the page.

It's all about links.

Click the cache link and you will see the following:
These terms only appear in links pointing to this page: blue widgets

2:54 pm on May 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



"Cloaking is only bad if the surfer gets redirected to unrelated commercial sites."

Wrong. When I click a SERP I want the content from that site. I don't want to be redirected to a related sponsor. Google is terrible a detecting this, and it degrades their SERPS.

4:23 pm on May 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Cloaking is only bad if the surfer gets redirected to unrelated commercial sites.

If that were true then why are the search engines on an all out war to remove Affiliate Marketing spam sites from their results?

The truth is that search engines want to be the ones doing the redirecting, not redirecting to a redirect. There is no point in an algorithm at all if the search engine is going to let the cloaker decide what is relevant.

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