Is Cloaking Ever Acceptable?
There are two core strategies in online marketing that should never be used even when they promise to deliver huge gains in a short period of time because any success they may provide will certainly be short lived. The first is cloaking, which we will talk about today and the second is spamming which we’ll cover in a subsequent blog.
Cloaking is the practice of feeding one specific type of content to search engine spiders while displaying a completely different topic or content to the searcher. The reason people feed certain content to search engine spiders is to achieve a high ranking for the cloaked page. Search engines put a lot of effort into making sure that users have a “What you see is what you get” experience every time they search for something. Search engines do not take kindly to this type of misleading advertising and take instances of cloaking very seriously.
Some may argue that there are instances where cloaking is acceptable, for example when trying to overcome browser compatibility issues. Although this practice can be technically viewed as justifiable in overcoming these issues, it is not acceptable to search engines. The reason for this is simply that although this method can be used in a positive way, it can just as easily be used as a deceptive way of getting people to an alternate site. Even though the tool itself is not the “bad guy”, it has all too often been used to deceive search engines and therefore any usage is simply not acceptable by them. While those who use cloaking as a strategy in getting you to their site may see some initial success in increased traffic, it will not help sites that are poorly designed in the first place and that lack quality content.
The positive thing that can be taken from all this is that a professionally designed website with strong, relevant content put together by SEO (Search Engine Optimization) experts will always yield far better results with a much better ROI (Return on Investment).