"Cloaking" With Google Head of Webspam Team Matt Cutts [Video]

Google Webmasters released a new video, where Matt Cutts talks about "Cloaking."The video titled "definitive cloaking video" covers the following points:Cloaking is showing different content to users than GoogleBotCloaking Violation of Quality GuidelinesCloaking is High RiskIt Is Often Used For Deceptive ReasonsNo Such Thing Has White Hat CloakingDetails on what might be perceived as cloaking […]

Cloaking with Matt CuttsGoogle Webmasters released a new video, where Matt Cutts talks about "Cloaking."

The video titled "definitive cloaking video" covers the following points:

  • Cloaking is showing different content to users than GoogleBot
  • Cloaking Violation of Quality Guidelines
  • Cloaking is High Risk
  • It Is Often Used For Deceptive Reasons
  • No Such Thing Has White Hat Cloaking
  • Details on what might be perceived as cloaking is mentioned in the video
  • Why geolocation and mobile detection is not cloaking

"Cloaking refers to the practice of presenting different content or URLs to users and search engines. Serving up different results based on user agent may cause your site to be perceived as deceptive and removed from the Google index."

Some examples of cloaking include:

  • Serving a page of HTML text to search engines, while showing a page of images or Flash to users.
  • Serving different content to search engines than to users.

If your site contains elements that aren't crawlable by search engines (such as rich media files other than Flash, JavaScript, or images), you shouldn't provide cloaked content to search engines. Rather, you should consider visitors to your site who are unable to view these elements as well. For instance:

  • Provide alt text that describes images for visitors with screen readers or images turned off in their browsers.
  • Provide the textual contents of JavaScript in a noscript tag.

"Ensure that you provide the same content in both elements (for instance, provide the same text in the JavaScript as in the noscript tag). Including substantially different content in the alternate element may cause Google to take action on the site."

You can learn more in about "Cloaking" in the Help Center this article.