Cloaking in SEO: And Why Its Bad

February 12, 2023 Mehr Jan

There are some definite good strategies that you can make use of in SEO. And there are some black hat SEO techniques to avoid like cloaking in SEO.

This is actually something that has been around for a long time but should be avoided.

What does it mean?

This basically means you will be showing different kinds of content to users which is actually far different from what is being seen in the search engines.

How it causes to make an impact is that there will be manipulation of the rankings that you get from here.

And it will be giving an unfair advantage to the other websites .

The way this works is that a website creator creates actually two kinds of versions of the same web page.

One is for the users and the other is for the search engines.

They are both serving different goals in this manner.

How it works, why it is harmful and ways to avoid it will be discussed in this article.

So let’s begin:

What is Cloaking in SEO?

As a website owner, the one main thing you want is to gain high SERPs ranking.

And this can only happen when you are creating a strong website.

You will be making use of and applying a range of SEO techniques which allow you to make use of and bring on some great SEO tactics in focus.

However for those who try to gain high rankings and a nudge through black hat SEO techniques like cloaking in SEO, should reconsider their ways.

It is basically the process through which a website will be showing a different URL to the content users.

And an entirely different one to the search crawlers.

This is done so that search engines will be getting a higher ranking in SERPs. That is the main aim of course. But is it worth to reach it through this unethical practice?

While you may be able to gain some short term benefits from this practice. They will be leading to chances of getting penalized from Google.

What Are Clocking Practices?


Now we will look into and define the ways in which this process is adapted,

One is where you have hidden text.

How this works is when you have a matching foreground color and this is similar to the background color.

You will be hiding the text. And this is also known as keyword stuffing.

Usually this is something which is not planned. And can very well happen due to an accident.

However it is still a practice which will be punished by Google.

There is also the use of unbalanced text.

It comes with being unbalanced to the HTML ratio.

More so used when you notice that the webpage is having very thin content.

While how it works is that you should be having high text to HTML ratio.

However certain webpages will try to just increase the HTML ratio.

And not be working on developing high quality and expanded content.

This is why so much emphasis is given to content creation.

It needs to come to a good size and should be of quality, which means relating to the topic in hand.

Another way this is applied is when the content is appearing in HTML and the content looks extremely rich to crawlers.

However the same content appears as Flash to users.

Why is Cloaking in SEO Harmful?

Now we will be looking into and discussing as to why this is a really harmful practice.

And why it should be avoided at all costs.

For one thing it will be deceiving users. When you look into how it is actually showing different content to users . As compared to how it shows something entirely different to search engines.

It will be undermining the trust of the website.

In the long run, your website will be deemed unworthy and not to be trusted in any way.

Also it is effectively violating what we call as search engine guidelines.


Because cloaking is going against how Google attains search results.

It will be also harming the website’s visibility and impacting the online presence in several ways.

Not just that, it also damages reputation. That is these kind of unethical practices will be impacting how SEO works.

It also reduces the credibility with your users and other important stakeholders.

Not just that, it will also be leading towards a negative user experience. Because the main thing is having quality content.

And if according to their search intent, those kind of results are not attained, it will lead to a higher bounce rate and even low engagement.

Ways to Avoid Cloaking in SEO

So now you understand just how cloaking in SEO is done.

This is a black hat SEO technique which relates to how you are showing different content to different users.

It will lead to Google Penalty. So it is best to be avoided at all costs.

When you wish to avoid cloaking, the first thing to know is you need to adapt engaging and ethical practices.

That means using SEO’s transparent practices.

These will be focusing on providing high-quality user experience.

Make sure you are providing unique content which is also relevant to the topic in hand.

This ensures that the search intent of the users is reached.

You will definitely be getting a high ranking on the website.

The main aim is to create a positive user experience.

Also make use of canonical URLs. This is looking at identifying the preferred  version of the page, as opposed to having multiple versions of the same.

Make sure you are also avoiding any kind of hidden content. That is where you will adapt techniques which will yield certain results that may not be effective.

What some people don’t get is that the website design also matters. Make sure you are using mobile-friendly designs. That allows you to rank in a good way for mobile search results.

Also it leads to combating any unethical practices that may exist. Avoid cloaking in SEO for it leads to impacting your online presence.

To Sum Up


SEO strategies work in a number of ways to give you a really good ranking. They allow your website to get a good ranking and stand out.

However there are also some illegal practices which can lead to your site getting impacted.

This is what we consider as black hat SEO.

They can be easily penalized by Google.

You need to make sure these are not being practiced.

It is important to have them in proper control.

Only when you analyze the results, will you understand just how they work.

One such practice is cloaking in SEO.

This, as the name suggests, is when you are adapting an act of cloaking. And presenting your site not as it should be.

The results differ from what users will see and what crawlers can understand.

It is usually done so by accident but it can impact Google in several ways.

Make sure you understand what cloaking in SEO is.

You should also know what are the ways in which it impacts SEO. And in this article we have also looked at the ways in which you should be avoid its use completely,












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