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Cloaking In SEO: A Deceptive Strategy Or Legitimate Tactic?

What Do You Mean By Cloaking?

It is a technique of Black HAT SEO that refers to an ambiguous method where a website shows different content to search engines and users. It involves the display of search engines one version of a webpage while showing a different version to actual visitors. The main purpose of cloaking is to cheat search engine rankings and get more traffic to a website by presenting optimized content to search engine crawlers.

It is also considered a violation of search engine guidelines and it may result in many penalties and it may also lead to the removal of a website from search engine results. Search engine aims to provide proper and accurate results to the users, and it also disables the objective by providing false information.

According to Antraajaal Search engines use knowledgeable algorithms and techniques to detect and combat cloaking. It analyzes the structure of the website and content of the website to identify any errors between what is shown to search engine crawlers and what is shown to the users. There are various techniques that are used to find cloaking which include comparing cached versions of webpages, analyzing server logs, and using user’s feedback signals. To indicate a healthy and ethical SEO strategy, it is important to avoid practices that involve cloaking or deceiving search engines. 

What Are The Different Types of Cloaking And How Is It Done?

Various types of cloaking are:

There are several types of cloaking techniques that have been used in the past, although it’s important to note that these practices are considered deceptive and violate search engine guidelines. Here are a few examples:

  1. IP-based cloaking: It is a type of cloaking that involves the distribution of content based on the IP address of the user or search engine crawler. The websites identify the IP Address of the visitors and serve content exactly designed for the search engines, which will display different content to the users who are regulars. It is a method that is used to deceive the ranking of search by presenting advanced content to search engines while showing different content to the actual visitors.
  2. User-agent cloaking: In this cloaking, it involves delivering different content which is based on the user-agent twist which is sent by the browser or the device connecting the website. This website identifies the user-agent information and then it serves content specially which is tailored for search engine crawlers. Identical IP-based cloaking is a method that aims to cheat search rankings by cheating search engines about the actual content of the website. 
  3. Referrer-based cloaking: Delivering alternate content based on the referrer information, which is the URL of the page that directed the user to the current page, is known as referrer-based cloaking. Depending on whether a visitor came from a search engine or another source, website owners can recognize the referrer information and deliver a different piece of content. This tactic seeks to show visitors diverse material while providing search engine crawlers with stuff that matches the search query. It’s crucial to stress that these tactics are regarded as dishonest and go against search engine policies. Search engines like Google make it a point to track down and penalize websites using masking methods. Long-term success in SEO requires adherence to moral SEO principles and an emphasis on offering useful, pertinent, and transparent material to both search engines and users.  

What Is Cloaking In SEO?

  • Hidden And Individual Text – This type of text which is invisible and unreadable to the users is known as hidden and individual text. Particularly, this type of technique comes under in Black Hat Seo which is against Google guidelines. This consists of the following factors:

+ Setting the website background color to the same as the website font color.

+ Putting an image over the text.

+ Reducing the font size on the website.

  • Keyword Stuffing – Populating the webpage with a large number of keywords. It means repeating the same keyword or phrase in the entire content of the website.
  • Link Spam – Purchasing of links from low-quality or unrelated websites. This type of technique partially comes under in Black Hat SEO technique. 

What Are The Cloaking Penalties Imposed By Google?

According to Antraajaal Google may take strong action against cloaking and also consider it a violation of their rules and regulations. If Google detects cloaking on any website, Google imposes penalties which can negatively impact the site’s visibility in results of the search engine and it can even lead to removal of the website from Google index. Penalties for cloaking can be different depending on the severity of the violation and the history of the website. The following are some consequences :

  1. Ranking Demotion: Google lowers the rank of the website results of the search and reduces its visibility and organic traffic.
  2. Manual Action Penalty: If a manual review by Google’s webspam team confirms cloaking, a manual action penalty can be imposed. In this result can be in notification in Google Search Console and further ranking demotion.
  3. Removal from Index: In many cases or for constant violations, Google can remove the website entirely from Google Index, making it virtually invisible in search results.  

What Is Cloaking In SEO?

Why Is It Considered A Violation By Google?

Cloaking is considered a violation by Google because:

  • Deceptive Practice: Cloaking involves showing different content to search engines what is going to be shown to the users which leads to misleading search engine crawlers. It is an ambiguous technique that aims to manipulate the ranking of search engines.
  • Quality guidelines violation: Google has specialized quality guidelines that websites are expected to stick to. Cloaking violates the guidelines as it creates an  incoherent user experience and interferes with the accuracy and relevance of search results.
  • Unfair Advantage: Cloaking allows websites to attain an unfair advantage in the ranking of the search engine by showing optimized content entirely for the search engine bots. This can disable the principle of fair competition and compromise the integrity of search results.
  • User Dissatisfaction: Cloaking may lead to a bad user experience. When users click on the search results and are directed to pages that are unrelated or misleading content, it can ruin the trust of users in search engines and also destroy the overall user experience on the web.
  • Maintaining search quality: The primary goal of Google is to provide users with high-quality and relevant search results. When penalizing the cloaking, Google’s aim is to maintain the integrity of the search engine and it also ensures the users receive accurate and trustworthy information. 
  • Manipulation of Ad Campaigns: Cloaking sometimes can be used to mislead the advertising platforms by showing distinct content on the platforms compared to what users see. It disables the effectiveness and reliability of online advertising campaigns.
  • Upholding webmaster guidelines: Webmasters are expected by Google to stick to a set of guidelines to ensure level playing guidelines and it is seen as an attempt to manipulate the rankings of the search engine rather than giving useful and relevant content.


According to Antraajaal, Google considers cloaking as a violation because it does not follow the rules and regulations of Google. It involves displaying different content or URLs to users and search engines, which leads to misleading search algorithms and ruining the integrity of search engine rankings. 

When Google penalizes websites that employ clocking techniques, Google aims to maintain the quality and relevance of the search results, it also ensures a positive user experience and upholds the principles of fairness and transparency. One must refrain from such malpractices. The Best SEO Company In Chandigarh will guide you through ethical means to achieve the desired results. A marketing agency is like a partner. They understand your requirements and work accordingly. The goals of the company should be the primary focus and the work should be implemented accordingly. Once the agency understands your requirements, the mission and vision of the company can be achieved mutually.

If you follow On-page parameters and off-page is done on high-quality backlinks, the results are bound to be achieved. You must follow the latest updates made by Google and implement them in your work accordingly. Antraajaal, a Chandigarh-based branding and digital marketing agency focuses on white hat SEO. When we asked Deepika Bahri, the founder of Antraajaal, she said, “We are looking for long-term results”. We know that we are using a free platform and we must value its codes and ethics. Google has certain parameters and we must adhere to policies laid by them. After all, this is where we all derive business from.

You can read our blogs for the latest updates on cloaking as well as on other topics. Our team of experts has market knowledge and is passionate about educating others about it to others. Antraajaal is the Best SEO Agency In Chandigarh that specializes in Digital marketing, Advertising on newspapers, radio, television, social media marketing, brochure designing, catalog designing, search engine optimization, TV ad production, Amazon listing, and many other services. Contact Antraajaal for any such services! 


Also Read:

Impact of Voice Search On SEO

Reasons Why SEO is Good for Your Company?

How Much Does SEO Cost for a Small Business?

Top 17 Google SEO Ranking Factors You Need to Know

Why hire a local SEO agency in Chandigarh?

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