Cloaking refers to the practice of presenting different content or URLs to human users and search engines. Cloaking is considered a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines because it provides our users with different results than they expected.

Some examples of cloaking include:

  • Serving a page of HTML text to search engines, while showing a page of images or Flash to users
  • Inserting text or keywords into a page only when the User-agent requesting the page is a search engine, not a human visitor

If your site uses technologies that search engines have difficulty accessing, like JavaScript, images, or Flash, see our recommendations for making that content accessible to search engines and users without cloaking.

If a site gets hacked, it’s not uncommon for the hacker to use cloaking to make the hack harder for the site owner to detect. Read more about hacked sites.

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