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Different content for Googlebot and Users is not always cloaking says Google




There are terms that you might have not heard of even once in your career and one such term is cloaking which is a terminology derived from the Black Hat SEO world. Now, there is no reason to hide the fact that Black Hat SEO is being done and also that people are getting good results from it.

But it is also true that one action from Google or other company can ruin your months of hard work since it is black hat and illegal. Talking about black hat and cloaking, it is an act of misleading users to do something that they don’t know they are doing.

For example, if you are running a website which says that it is selling mobile phones but you are actually selling soaps than it is cloaking when you are showing them a mobile phone but they are buying a soap. Another example is when you are misleading users to click something in disguise of something else. Now, Google has something to say with regards to cloaking and what the “gray line” is between cloaking and not cloaking.

The company says that

“What isn’t cloaking is if my website content is slightly different. Because we all know that with responsive web design we might have slightly different content to begin with.

On a mobile phone I might only load one product instead of ten products… and then have the user click through multiple pages or something like that.

On the other hand, if I see a Googlebot is requesting my website and say this website is about kittens and butterflies and then when it’s a user going to that website (instead of Googlebot) having… like an online drugstore or trying to sell knockoff products, so something like that.” In Google’s words, this is a pure form of cloaking which is not allowed.

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