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What is cloaking in SEO, and why do you need to avoid it?

What is cloaking in SEO, and why do you need to avoid it?

What is cloaking in SEO, and why do you need to avoid it?

Cloaking shows search engine crawlers a different page than users. It allows altering a website's SERP rankings by showing various links or pages.

Cloaking is an easy way to disguise a website's proper form spiders and other crawling programs. This method will give search engines a different impression than human visitors. Cloaking is commonly used to boost a website's position in search results on Google and other similar services.

It's vital to briefly discuss how a website may change its appearance and functionality for a user based on the type of device they're using to access it. It is not considered cloaking to have two almost identical websites programmed slightly differently to make the site more accessible for mobile visitors than desktop users. Instead, search engines provide only a sliver of leeway for site owners to make separate mobile and desktop versions.

Which SEO Cloaking Techniques Are employed?

The SEO cloaking techniques that can be applied to a website fall into five broad categories. To develop a firm understanding of cloaking, familiarizing yourself with these numerous varieties is essential.

User-Agent Cloaking

You will utilize a web browser to search the internet for generic information. After launching a browser, the next step is to enter a search term that describes the information you need. Your browser will then transmit a code to the destination website.

The website can distinguish between code generated by a web crawler and by a human user like yourself. Sites will deliver the cloaked variant of their pages to search engine spiders if they detect that they are trying to access their material.

Internet Protocol-Based Cloaking

Every computer or internet-connected device you own will be given its specific number, called an IP address. This number is typically associated with your internet service provider and geographic region. To engage in IP-based cloaking, a black hat SEO method, one must first identify the IP addresses of the search engine.

A fake webpage loads when one of such IP addresses is identified. If the phony site has more terms that search engines use to rank websites, it will often outrank the real one. It's successful for both the users and the search engines because the site owner can focus on the visitors without changing a thing about the pages shown to the users.

JavaScript Cloaking

Cloaking is a method of black hat SEO that divides website visitors in two. The first part consists of those who use search engines but have JavaScript turned off. They will be provided with a site that has been heavily optimized to increase its chances of appearing on Google's first page.

Those with JavaScript support make up the second category. Those who fall into this category are typically repeated visitors to a website who have been directed to the simplified version.


The HTTP REFERER header is examined in this type of website cloaking. A spoofed page with optimized content is generated when the header is recognized as arriving from a search engine crawler. When the browser header cannot be immediately identified as coming from a recognized search engine spider, the user is shown the version of the site optimized for humans.

Cloaking of the HTTP Accept-Language Header

Like before, this cloaking approach investigates the visitor's HTTP Accept-Language header. If the browser's header was detected to have come from the search engine, then the user will be taken to a version of the website that has been optimized for search engines. If the browser or search engine is unknown, the user-friendly version of the site is shown.

How do people often use cloaking devices?

Now that you know the many kinds of SEO cloaking, it's time to discover how it's done. The four most prevalent approaches to enacting these distinct cloaking types are as follows.

Incorporating Hidden Text

Hidden search engine optimization text is a straightforward form of cloaking. For this, it is necessary to make the text color the same as the website's background color. In this way, the words are still online. However, the naked eye can't see it. Search engine spiders can only view the buried text.

Websites that rely on Flash

For this cloaking technique, you'll need to make a single, straightforward HTML web page that fully satisfies search engine optimization standards. After that, users are taken to other Flash pages designed with them in mind.

To what extent does SEO Cloaking harm search engine rankings?

Are you wondering, "What exactly is cloaking in SEO?" now you know! When confronted with a problem, your natural inclination is to wonder why individuals behave in a certain way. People use cloaking to improve their search engine rankings by hiding or revealing parts of their website, depending on who sees it.

Google & other search engines use complex algorithms to figure out which websites are the most relevant to a user's query and rank them accordingly. The first search engine results will be the page that best matches the user's precise query.

It stands to reason that a website owner would prefer a prominent position in search engine results pages for keywords related to their business. An increase in website visits usually increases sales. Unfortunately, it's not simple to adapt a user-friendly website variant to the needs of individual search engines.

Because of the demanding requirements of search engines, cloaking has emerged as a simple solution. Search engines, including Google, adhere to a generally accepted set of guidelines. These aid in guaranteeing that they view the content as other users of a specific website. We've covered all of the cloaking techniques above against Google's guidelines.

Sites that are found to exploit cloaking techniques will be blacklisted as search engines invest more resources into research into improved ways to execute these standards and detect offenders. To put it plainly, the site would no longer appear in search results for any terms.

Can you still use Black Hat Cloaking?

In short, it's impossible to say. Some forms of cloaking, such as coded writing, are hopelessly outdated and no longer effective. The simple solution of employing a gateway for search engine crawlers has scared many away from the concept that IP-based cloaking is booming, so this cloaking approach has been phased out.

Cloaking is a temporary fix for higher search engine rankings. As novel cloaking techniques are discussed online, researchers at search engines are quick to uncover them and devise countermeasures to expose deceptive cloaking. Search engines will always have dedicated teams investigating new forms of cloaking. Sooner or later, search engines will develop countermeasures to every tactic.


Since cloaking isn't an effective long-term strategy for increasing a site's position, it's best to avoid it if you don't want to have your site banned from search results. Instead of relying on cloaking as a temporary solution, tackle the underlying problem.

For instance, if your web pages include more HTML tags than text content, try increasing the text content. It will take more money and time, but it will be worth it. However, you may considerably lessen the likelihood that your website will be banned, saving you the trouble and potential financial loss of maintaining a website that no longer generates revenue.

Quick action is required if SEO cloaking is discovered on your site. Because as you probably are aware by now, constant cloaking use might lead to your intended website being blacklisted. You can rescue your website from spam if you have some coding skills. If you are not sure how to achieve this, however, it is a good idea to keep an eye on content writing services in Delhi.

Masum Billah

Authored By Masum Billah

My professional SEO and web development services are designed to deliver page one rankings in the major search engines. For your peace of mind, we only use safe, ethical and white hat SEO strategies! If you’re interested in working with me please drop me a line

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