Cloaking and/or sneaky redirects

Matt Cutts explains cloaking

If you see this message on the Manual Actions page, it means that your site may be showing different pages to users than are shown to Google, or redirecting users to a different page than Google saw. Cloaking and sneaky redirects are a violation of Google's Webmaster Guidelines.

As a result, Google has applied a manual spam action to the affected portions of your site. Actions that affect your whole site are listed under Site-wide matches. Actions that affect only part of your site and/or some incoming links to your site are listed under Partial matches.

Recommended action

First, review Google’s Webmaster Guidelines on cloaking and sneaky redirects.

Next, follow the steps below to identify and correct the violation(s) on your site:

  1. Use the Fetch as Google tool in Webmaster Tools to fetch pages from the affected area of your site.
  2. Compare the content fetched by Google to the content seen by a human user (you!) when visiting the site.
  3. If the content differs, identify and remove the part of your site that’s serving different content to Google and users. This will require looking through your site’s code on the server.
  4. Check for URLs on your site that redirect users to somewhere other than where they expected to go.
  5. Check for URLs on your site that redirect conditionally, for example by only redirecting users coming from Google search, or only users coming from a particular range of IP addresses.
  6. If your site redirects users in any of these ways, identify and remove the part of your site that generates these redirects. This will require looking through your site’s code on the server.
    Tip: These types of redirects are often written in JavaScript, or in your .htaccess file. You might also check your content management system and any plugins.

Once you’re sure your site is no longer in violation of our guidelines, request reconsideration of your site. After you’ve submitted a reconsideration request, be patient and watch for a message in your Webmaster Tools account — we’ll let you know when we’ve reviewed your site. If we determine your site is no longer in violation of our guidelines, we’ll revoke the manual action.