The non-spoke about 'art' of cloaking is being opening discusses over at the Search Engine Watch forums. In fact, one of the most recognized leaders in the cloaking industry, fantomaster, has agreed to answer questions on the topic of cloaking. The threads name is Cloaking 101 and I have taken this opportunity to get some of my questions answered. Let me take you through a summary of the highlighted points in the thread, many are basic, hence the name of the thread.
- Very hard to get quality links to cloaked pages with Shadow Domains, because these pages are invisible to the Web user.
- The first thing that caught my eye was that fantomaster said that Google uses the Google Toolbar to find new pages, the link goes to an enter I wrote just on that topic.
- When using Shadow Domains, it is smart to have the name related to the product, in order not to annoy the redirected Web visitor.
- There is a big difference between IP delivery and User Agent redirection.
- Reasons to deploy cloaking is mostly to retain 'control'; layout, rankings, dynamic page issues, flash problems, multimedia, session ids and so on.
Moving outside the basics, the thread moved onto to a topic I discusses here a couple times, most recently over here. Read this before reading the rest of this entry. So you see, that search engines (IMO) will be using a form of image retrieval to see what content is located in which 'blocks' on a page. How does this relate to cloaking? Well, if you read the thread, I discuss how dynamic content delivery can be utilized in conjunction with dynamic IP delivery. So if a search engine is visiting a page, the text ad links will be found within the blocks that are worth something as opposed to the blocks that are worth nothing or next to nothing.
But as you can see by one of my posts, I am stuck trying to determine if redirection or dynamic content delivery is the right way to go for this.
Disclaimer: I have never deployed cloaking in any form, I do not personally know the risks involved. Search engines clearly frown upon any form of cloaking. This entry was inspired by the Search Engine Watch thread named Cloaking 101 - Questions and Answers.