Cloaking is the method of showing a content to the user which is different from that shown to the search engine. Clocking is considered a black hat, as it clearly violates the Google webmaster guidelines. It is used to deceive the Search engine by showing text that is not visible to the users and thereby manipulating the search engine’s index. It is very bad for the users as they get totally unrelated results for their query from the search engine’s index. So Google has made it strict against cloaking and any sites found to make use of cloaking can be banned from Google’s index.
The different types of cloaking include:
Producing a page of HTML text to the search engines while presenting the users with images or flash on the page.
Inserting text in the page that can also be viewed by search engine crawlers.
Having hidden text in your content is against the Google webmaster guidelines. It is considered deceptive and the site can be penalized.
Examples of hidden text include:
- White text on white background
- Text behind an image
- Texts positioned off-screen using CSS
- Texts that are set to font size zero
- Hidden links by linking small characters like hyphen
Images: Images are usually not seen by the search engines. You have to use alt tags through which you could describe what is present on the image to the crawlers. It can also be seen in some cases like when the internet connection is slow, by the user.
Videos: Describe the contents of the video in HTML text. Videos should be indexed through scheme.org, on page markup and video sitemap markup.