What is Cloaking?
Cloaking is the practice of showing visitors and search engines different versions of the same webpage, URL, or content.
While cloaking can be done with good intentions, it is mostly used to deceive search engines and manipulate search results. For that reason, it is generally considered a black hat SEO technique.
Cloaking goes against Google Search Essentials, and Google will demote ranking or deindex sites found cloaking their content. Therefore, it is important to avoid cloaking and ensure your website content is consistent for humans and search engines.
There are different methods of cloaking the content on a webpage. Some common cloaking strategies include:
- Using text that is accessible to search engines but invisible to human visitors
- Redirecting human users to a site different from the one displayed on search results pages
- Showing different versions of the webpage depending on whether the visitor is a human or a search engine crawler