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Okay, some large pages take a while to download to the browser but there are many websites with more than 50k on the index page which download perfectly well, and users wouldn't know any different unless they scrolled down the page immediately - Other search engines, i.e. Google, don't seem to have a problem so why does alltheweb?
Surely this system positively encourages cloaking.
Some niche market sites can live with + 300 k flash or else gizmo stuff, most don't.
I believe that if Fast ajusted the algo for fast loading pages (just as many others), it was to respond to preferences of users, not cloakers. May be is this why a couple cloakers do fast loading pages?
Fast likes fast loading pages because users want fast loading pages.
I think my point was perhaps not made so clearly. If I could respond to your points:
> I just cannot make any relation between the absolute necessety of using cloaked pages and download time.
There is no absolute neccessity to cloak - I didn't say that. Take, for example, a well themed legitimately optomized website doing well on major search engines inc, Google. The index page is 50K in size which in my opinion will load up quick enough to keep the user interested even when using a 56K modem.
Now, to achieve a high ranking in Alltheweb (and I am fully aware of exceptions) you are faced with a choice: either,
a) shave some 20k (or more) off your index page, thus potentially losing the successful listings with other search engines - who rather like the website as it is. or,
b) use cloaking techniques to give alltheweb a smaller page size.
these choices are of course dependant on the thoery about alltheweb preferring smaller page sizes - I have no proof of this, I just share a belief in this theory.
> Some niche market sites can live with + 300 k flash or else gizmo stuff, most don't
300k is quite ridiculous - I was only talking about some 50K.
I am not advocating nor comdemning the use of cloaking in any way - I personally don't use it. I am simply offering a theory that alltheweb may well be attracting cloaked pages.
I know the two choices I offered above for gaining success with alltheweb are simplistic, and there are other factors to consider, but if you have exhausted all other possibilities and feel sure that your file size is the factor preventing you from a good listing, then the choice may become reality.
As Robert pointed out, it is easier to keep a small page well focused. Small size is just a by-product of well designed and well-focused pages.
Splitting your pages into subsections instead of cloaking should allow you to focus each page on the right keywords, so that your users can find exactly what they are looking for. That is what you want I guess.
I do not think cloaking is necessary in this case, while would help you attract more traffic, it would also result in users getting the "heavy" page which is slow to load and probably too long to find the info they are looking for.
If the page is already "unsplittable", and you still need to give it a push, cloaking is probably the right approach...