Cloaking is a technical HTML approach in search engine optimization, in which the Webcrawler of the search engine is presented with a different web page under the same URL than the user.
Cloaking is supposed to improve the ranking as well as the indexing, but it belongs to the „Black Hat-SEO“ strategies. The goal is to optimize a page differently, e.g. to provide multimedia content for users and text-based content for the web crawler.
Types of Cloaking
There are two types of cloaking: IP cloaking and simple cloaking. In simple cloaking, users coming from a search engine are redirected to another website. This is usually done with a script that checks the http referer header and redirects users accordingly.
In technical IP cloaking, information about the user’s browser or IP address is used to offer them different content than the other users. This can be done through IP cloaking, where other content is displayed based on the user’s IP address, or user agent cloaking, where other content is displayed based on the user’s browser type.
Unmasking such cloaking strategies is increasingly difficult. However, the search engine is getting smarter and developing strategies especially to debunk IP cloaking.
Thematically relevant sub-pages: