What Is SEO Spam & Cloaking?

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Most businesses use search engine optimization (SEO) to increase their ranking and drive more traffic towards their site. However, certain companies in the market may use it for less ethical or malicious purposes. This maliciousness, in particular, is called SEO spamming or cloaking.

As you continuously invest in the efforts and budget to improve your SEO strategies, SEO spammers with malicious intentions do the same.

Why and How Are They Using Your Site Exactly?

Because they’re selling illegal services or products, they cannot do it while maintaining a real identity. Their sites would go down within days if they ran them with transparency and legitimate SEO techniques. And it is a fact that the absence of a website means no business in these times where the digital ecosystem is seeing continuous growth.

Many reputable and massive businesses still have outdated websites that aren’t well protected against theft. Here’s a guide on how you can make your website effective, As a result, SEO spammers are more likely to attack these vulnerable sites and redirect their traffic towards their shady businesses.

So the questions are, how do these SEO spammers get their information and links incorporated into your sites? And why are they doing that? Let’s dig deeper and explore the answers to these questions in this blog post dealing with SEO spam and cloaking.

What is SEO Spam?

SEO spamming is certainly the most common method SEO spammers utilize to attain financial profits from a website. Unfortunately, a website could become a victim because of several possible vulnerabilities. These may include but are not limited to outdated plugins, vulnerable themes, and common passwords for the admin panels.

Once the attacker gets access to your website, they can easily hide links and create sub-pages within your site without your knowledge. They can even integrate keywords within the source code of your site, which diverts traffic to their sites.

What is Cloaking?

Cloaking can be included under the umbrella of SEO spam. It is considered a black hat SEO tactic that can trick Google into putting a site at a higher rank than it should be. Cloaking is done by manipulating the algorithms. It involves presenting entirely different content to the search engine crawler than what the user sees.

Cloaking is often performed to manipulate search engines. For example, it helps showcase a page in front of Google when it shouldn’t appear otherwise. It can happen by delivering content based on the user IP.

SEO Spam and Cloaking – How Are the Two Connected?

The two of them are often performed simultaneously. SEO spam helps hackers gain access to your site and place their keywords, links, and sub-pages. On the other hand, cloaking assists in hiding the malicious changes from you, the site owner. It can be seen by the bots and crawlers sent by Google but not you and the users.

 

 Types of Cloaking

Cloaking is done through several different methods. Among the most popular are: –

Referrer Cloaking

This cloaking redirects a user from one particular content to another. SEO spammers who’ve attacked your website use referrer cloaking to redirect the traffic from your website to their hidden sub-pages.

IP Cloaking

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IP cloaking means delivering different content to the visitors based on their IP address. Most SEO spammers manipulate Google algorithms and showcase different content as compared to what the audience views. The content shown to the algorithms is designed to attain higher rankings on search results.

User-Agent Cloaking

User-Agent cloaking is similar to what IP cloaking does. However, the cloaking script here compares the user-agent text to the IP address whenever a page is requested.

JS Cloaking

This type of cloaking changes the version of content based on JavaScript. The users who have JavaScript enabled are provided with one version. While those with JavaScript turned off (such as search engines) are directed towards another version of the site.

HTTP Accept-Language Header Cloaking

This kind of cloaking could is used to showcase different website versions to the visitors based on their browser language. However, it does not let the visitors choose their language preferences on their own.

Why Does Google Term Cloaking as a Black Hat SEO Tactic?

Google terms cloaking as a black hat SEO tactic. The reasoning behind this is that it provides users with different results from what they are searching for. Furthermore, every time a hacker succeeds at gaining access to your site, they utilize cloaking to ensure the illegal access is not discovered.

However, some SEO specialists believe that cloaking can be a white hat technique when carried out with non-malicious intentions.

The truth is that there is no such thing as good cloaking, which can be labeled defined as a white hat SEO tactic. Cloaking is essentially unethical because it manipulates the algorithm to provide false results.

How to Check Your Website for SEO Spam & Cloaking?

Now that you are aware of what t SEO spam and cloaking are? And how detrimental can it be for a website? You would be wondering how to check if your site has been a victim of SEO spamming or cloaking.

The simplest way to check is by simply entering your domain on Google plus ‘intext search’ and browsing the results. Suppose you find any unrecognizable content in the pages that appear. Then it means you have been a victim of SEO spam and cloaking.

What’s the Ideal Way to Get Rid of SEO Spam & Cloaking?

What to do if your site appears to be infected?

If you’re sure your site is infected with SEO spam, it becomes crucial to act quickly and get these unwanted additions cleaned. It would be best if you did that urgently because the longer your site remains hacked and infected with such spam, the more likely it is to get flagged

A blocklisted site does not appear in search results. Unfortunately, this means that the site loses all the traffic and its reputation.

Although the cleanup process may take some time, it will help bring back your brand’s lost traffic and reputation. If you need some professional assistance, it’s always a good idea to hire qualified but cheap SEO services in USA, you can get plenty of them from freelance platforms like Fiver, and Upwork etc.

These services will have specialists on the team who can greatly expedite the cleaning of your website. Furthermore, they can help you in re-building the lost reputation of your brand with effective SEO strategies. And to prevent further hacking or theft attempts, be sure to keep the privacy and protection of your website updated. This includes plugins, stronger passwords, and better themes and coding for your site.

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