Is cloaking the holy grail of SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is important to the success
of a website. However, successful search engine optimization
takes time. Many webmasters don't want to invest the time
and work that's necessary to optimize a site.
For that reason, some webmasters use cloaking to get their
websites listed on search engines.
What is cloaking?
A website that uses cloaking recognizes search engine
spiders by their IP address. It returns web pages to search
engine spiders that are different from the web pages that
web surfers see. Usually, the cloaking software creates
hundreds of web pages that are optimized for a special
search term so that search engine spiders get the impression
that the website contains a lot of relevant information
about a special topic.
If you often search on Google then you probably can confirm
that you can get good results with cloaking. You can often
find web pages on Google that have little to do with the
description on the result page.
Does this mean that cloaking is the holy grail of
Cloaking obviously works. Does this mean that you should
use it for your web pages? That would be very risky. Very
few web pages that use cloaking can keep their search engine
rankings for a long time.
Google has a clear statement about cloaking on its webmaster
pages: "Don't deceive your users or present different
content to search engines than you display to users, which
is commonly referred to as cloaking."
In general, most websites that use cloaking are getting
banned from Google and other search engines sooner or later.
It's only a question of time. In countries such as Germany
it can even be illegal to
use cloaking. If you want to get long term results with
your website, you should avoid cloaking at all costs.
What do search engines want from you?
Search engines want to return high quality websites to their
searchers. That means that you must make sure that your website
is such a high quality site. There are three main factors
that make a website a high quality website:
- Your website should have a lot of content. If your website
consists of one or two pages or just a few pictures then
it will be very difficult to get high search engine rankings.
Search engines also aren't interested in the 825th eBay
affiliate page. It's important that your web page has great
content. If that content can only be found on your website
then that is even better.
- You must make sure that search engines can parse your
web pages. Make sure that your HTML code is clean and that search
engines can easily find out what your web pages are
about. Cluttered HTML code and web pages that have been
'optimized' for dozens of keywords often prevent high rankings.
Focus on one or two keywords per web page. It's better
that a web page is highly
relevant to one or two keywords than somewhat relevant
to a lot of keywords.
- Your website must have good incoming
links. Links from centralized link farms and link
exchange systems don't work. You should make sure that
the web sites that link to you are at least loosely related
to your web site. The more related websites
link to your site, the better.
All of this requires work and efforts on your part. Your
web site is an important part of your business that requires
the same attention as other parts of your business. The sooner
you treat search engine optimization as an important investment
for your web site success the sooner you'll get great results.