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cloaking, variation #27

1:49 am on Sep 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 9, 2011
votes: 594

cloaking = showing different content to a robot, especially a search engine, than to a human

Now, what about...
showing the same content, but in a different way?

Human sees an image via CSS-- for example as a list-item-marker or as background. Robot sees the same image in an element set to {display: none;}.

I thought of it while looking over some stuff from last month's logs. There was one spell covering several days-- multiple visits-- where facebook went into absolute hysterics because it had been sent to a page that contains no images. The only <img> tag it could find was piwik's administrative dot, which is strictly off limits to non-humans. It kept asking for it, dozens and dozens of times. The human-visible images are in the CSS. (Facebook does not pick up external stylesheets, and apparently does not even read internal CSS.)

So if I put a copy of the same image inside a non-displaying element, the robot can "see" it, while humans are unaffected. Link to same URL, so there's no duplicate download for the browser.

Anyone foresee a problem?