• http://www.michaelvisser.com.au Michael Visser

    Sweet overview of this issue, this pit in the SEM landscape has once again ruptured and more and more consultants may be willing to try these tactics out again. As a poor searcher I’m against cloaking for paid content but support presenting localised content based on a spiders originating IP.

    Passing this article onto peers to chew on. :D

    Typo in paragraph 1, “WebmasterWord”.

  • http://www.SEOcritique.com SEOcritique.com

    Danny, I think that the concept of getting approval is fine on the surface. (And how does one get approval?) But as technologies for serving web pages progress, eventually there are going to be too many web sites using cloaking technologies than can be reviewed manually.

    Google should set clear, logical and frequently updated guidelines for cloaking and when it is or is not appropriate. This is not an issue that can be set in stone for all time. Usage and methods will change over time. I think that just as Google must chase quality in the rankings via constantly improving their algorithms that they must reconsider their guidelines about cloaking as necessary.

    This is an excellent example where more communications and detailed communications with web site administrators is a skill set that Google must develop. Right now the general perception is that you have to be a Danny Sullivan or a Rand Fishkin to speak to Google employees, and then it only happens in conference back rooms and smoke filled bars. Obviously there are far more webmasters than Google can speak to over the telephone so detailed guidelines that make things clear and unambiguous are probably the best answer….at least until a better answer makes itself known.

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    Google should not be telling people how to run their Web sites, and it’s good that they have toned down some of their once blatantly hostile language.

    But if they are going to ask Webmasters to respect their guidelines for inclusion (which they have every right to determine and enforce), then they owe it to the surfing community to level the playing field.

    Danny, I endorse your recommendations about the registration only sites. I don’t mind their being included in the search results as long as I know when I click on a link it will take me to content that I can read, unless I choose to click on a link that I know will take me to a registration or login page.

    Google should be informing its users of what types of content they are seeing in the search results.

  • http://www.cumbrowski.com Carsten Cumbrowski

    Hi Danny. Same Question to you as for Stephan (which remained unanswered so far):

    Serving different content to spiders than to users. What do you mean by “content”? The actual written text or the whole HTML source code?

    If I serve to the user a fully designed page, a badly designed one from SEO point of view, with a lot of junk code, too much crap before the actual text, wrong HTML tags and to the spider the same text and everything but in short, clean and proper html, then is it not cloaking?

    Is leaving parts of the navigation out for the spider which is shown to the user (for example CSS drop down nav) considered different content? I mean, it’s duplicate stuff anyway which would most likely be filtered out by the search engine.

    What is your take on that kind of “cloaking”? Ethical? Gets you banned?

    Also good question by SEOcritique.com. The same question was also forming in my head after reading multiple times the word “approved cloaking”. I am not aware of any process where you can request to get cloaking approved, just to make it official and sure that the Search Engines don’t see a problem with it. Like with the cloaking mentioned in my first question.

    Thanks, I appreaciate it.

  • http://dreadpiraterobert.blogspot.com Dread Pirate Robert

    Wow, thanks for the great overview. I’ve been following the conversation between Philipp and Matt and really appreciate the historical perspective!

    Now if only I’d read your post BEFORE I wrote that article on cloaking… :D

  • Dogger

    I work for a large site and we are in the process of choosing an A/B / Multi variant solution provider. One of my requirements before we go ahead with a solution is to implement IP Delivery to make sure the spider always sees the same content. We obviously aren’t intending to do anything deceitful but some of the tests we will run may change the site layout / flow pretty drastically. The potential to be flagged for cloaking has me pretty concerned. Any opinions as to where A/B testing falls within this debate?

  • http://www.herko-tierbedarf.at herko

    Hello, if I hear of chickens me badly the bird flu to have we of China get now the Chinese to have from the USA google gotten. Unfortunately neither of them gives a vaccine, unfortunate or for. I would like to mention still one the bird flu to have we soon in the grasp

  • Versand

    This is a great advice I appreciate it very much.