11 Euphemisms for Cloaking

    November 21, 2006

Euphemisms are used in many areas of politics.

The definition of cloaking to an engineer, and to an SEO is marginally different in terms of semantics. Cloaking has been villafied by search engines when users and bots are served different content. Engineers believe bots are pretty smart (they normally are) – and SEO’s believe bots should be lead around by the nose only to appropriate areas. “Cloaking” often implies intent and extent that conflict with SE terms of service – but there are many very grey areas as far as what is acceptable and what isn’t. By definition – cloaking is NEVER acceptable – so be sure you are using the proper terminology. Of course this is a bit tounge and cheek – but the point is that there are certainly valid reasons for selectively delivering content – and that “cloaking” is mainly defined by intent. I’m pretty glad I’m not the guy at the SE’s that has to determine the intent of redirects.

    1. IP delivery
    2. Geo-targeting
    3. Flash Detection
    4. Server speed analysis
    5. Duplicate content detection and reduction
    6. Member experience discovery
    7. User agent detection
    8. Browser extension
    9. Spider detection
    10. User experience maximization.
    11. Selective demographic delivery

What are the best reasons for “selective delivery” that you’ve heard? Do you think search engines would frown on that type of delivery if detected?

Thanks to Dan, Marshall, Brad, Neil, and Cameron for their contributions to the conversation that spawned this.



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Todd Malicoat aka Stuntdubl made his first horrible looking website full of animated .gifs in 1997, and after fours years of failure and experimentation ended up in the world of SEO and internet marketing in early 2001. He is currently an independent marketing consultant from the SEO school of thought. Todd earned a bachelors of business adminstration from Northwood University in 2003 while running an web design and consulting firm Meta4creations, LLC. Todd is a speaker at both Webmasterworld and Search Engine Strategies conferences.