Cloaking SEO

What is it and why is it not advisable?

Table of contents

What is Cloaking SEO?

Cloaking SEO is a practice employed by some webmasters to display one version of a web page with different content to search engines and another to human users, with the goal of improving a website’s ranking in search engines.
This SEO technique involves developing two different versions of the same website:
Literally with this practice users and search engines are deceived.

Why Cloaking is not recommended

Cloaking is therefore a Black Hat positioning technique, and its use is penalized by Google.
Why is it penalized by Google?

Quite simply. Cloaking SEO is often used to mask fraudulent activities, hide sites with illegal content, paid sites to capture organic traffic, or simply hack devices.

In the past, it was a widespread practice, but Google and other search engines are very efficient at detecting this type of practice so very few companies use it unless they have the express intention of stealing web traffic and/or causing penalties to other competing domains.
Something that, unfortunately, we can still find as you will see in the following example:

Cloaking Example

If you do this search in google: “sex”, the search engine returned these results until recently:
Cloaking SEO 1
Doridori is a bakery and pastry chain in Barcelona whose activity has little or nothing to do with what is shown in the results.
At this point, if the problem has not been reversed by the domain owners it is very likely that Google will end up penalizing them.

In conclusion:

Google has made it clear in its guidelines for webmasters that cloaking is a prosecuted practice as it frustrates users and does not meet its standards.
It is therefore a black hat optimization technique that can result in heavy penalties from search engines, including removal from the entire index of results.
So, we recommend you stay away from this kind of practice.

Important: if your website has been built differently to adapt to computers and mobile devices, this does not count as cloaking. Search engines take into account that two web versions can coexist for the same domain: the desktop version and the mobile version.

Links and recommended reading:

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