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Main > Archives > 2004 > June > Google Bug, Cloaking, or Both?

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Google Bug, Cloaking, or Both?

In doing a search for Free Marketing Plans on Google I came across a site in the no.10 position that was bleeding it's description across into the AdWords section. I decided to look at the source code to see why and then "thought I" realized they were cloaking.

just so you know, I've been working long hours lately and this information below was all typed out and I was about to hit publish when I realized I was looking at Google's source code and not's source code. I decided to leave the text in here anyway so you can use it as a primer on cloaking.

For those of you not familiar with cloaking, it's the presentation of a specific page to a search engine spider while presenting another page to a human.

Normally this isn't that big of a deal and there are real world scenarios when it makese sense to serve one version of a page to the spiders while serving a slightly different version (source code only) to an actual user. However, this is not one of those cases. In fact, when I looked at the source code I realized all they had done was presented Google with a page built from Google's own index. I'm providing a link to the spam code here so Google can penalize them accordingly.

Search for free marketing plans on Google presents another display bug

Chances are, Google has a filter in place that will not serve up it's own results when they're found on other sites but these guys have bypassed that by serving up a completely different version of the page to end users than they served up to Google's crawler (Googlebot) for purposes of ranking better for a specific search engine keyword.

This is sad and needs to be reported... hmmm, wonder who'll do the reporting.

End of section on cloaking and coverage of my own mistake :)

So I'm still going to include the code because there's something wrong with it (at least for Google's displaying purposes) and I haven't determined why that url is spanning across the width of the page but I'll dig into it and report later.

By Jason Dowdell at 06:18 PM | Comments (0)

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