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The instructions in this help article may be affected by recent changes in the Analytics user interface. See this blog post for details. Help center updates are coming soon.

Overview of Content Experiments

Experiments and Cloaking

Cloaking is the practice of presenting a version of a web page to search engines that is different from the version presented to users, with the intention of deceiving the search engines and affecting the page's ranking in the search index.

Google does not view the ethical use of testing tools such as Content Experiments to constitute cloaking.

We encourage constructive testing. Optimizing your web pages benefits advertisers as well as users by increasing conversions and by presenting the most desired information more efficiently. To ensure that your experiments are not construed as cloaking, we suggest following the general guidelines:

  • Your variation pages should maintain the spirit of the content on your original pages. Those variations shouldn't change the meaning of or your user's general perception of that original content.

  • Keep your source code updated. An experiment ends when Content Experiments has collected sufficient data, and you should then update the source code on your test pages to reflect that winning combination soon afterwards.

We reserve the right to take action on any site that violates Google's Webmaster Guidelines, or if we feel that users are being deceived or abused. For example, if a site's original page is loaded with keywords that don't relate to the combinations being shown to users, we may remove that site from our index.

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