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Cloaking is a search engine optimization technique in which the content presented to the
search engine spider
is different from that presented to the users; this is done by either looking at the
of who is requesting the page, or by looking at the User-Agent
header. While there are some legitimate uses for cloaking, like giving
to users while giving text to the
(since search engines can't understand Flash), cloaking is most often used to try to trick the search engine into giving it a higher ranking than it would get without cloaking; it can also be used to trick search engine users into visiting a site that they ordinarily wouldn't, because the search engine's description of the site differs from the site's actual contents. For this reason, sites that are discovered to be using cloaking are permanently banned by most search engines.
Cloaking is a form of doorway pages technique.
A similar technique is also used on the
Open Directory Project
. It differs in several ways from search engine cloaking:
It is intended to fool human editors, rather than computer search engine spiders.
The decision to cloak or not is based upon the HTTP
, which tells the
of the page on which a user clicked a link to get to the page. Some cloakers will give the fake page to anyone who comes from a web directory website, since directory editors will usually examine sites by clicking on links that appear on a directory webpage. Other cloakers give the fake page to everyone except those coming from a major search engine; this makes it harder to detect cloaking, while not costing them many visitors, since most people find websites by using a search engine.
Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloaking
Reprinted from Wikipedia, The Free-Content Encyclopedia under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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