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Scroll Cloaking : Simple and Effective Cloaking

Scroll Cloaking as Implemented by a Forum

Scroll Cloaking as Implemented a Forum

Cloaking, in the search marketing sense, is a technique where you show different pages to the Search Engine bot than you do to your users. Marketers do this for a variety of reasons, but most often to show keyword rich content to the search engines that would look unnatural to a human. Often cloaking is more or less a bait-and-switch tactic, although it does have quite a few legitimate uses such as geographic specific content.

Scroll Cloaking

One type of cloaking that I find to be particularly clever and easy to implement is what I call ‘Scroll Cloaking’. Scroll Cloaking was pioneered by a site featured in the image to the left that I will not name. It is a forum that makes money by answering technical questions for it’s paying members. Most developers I’ve talked to absolutely despise this site because they appear to offer only the question and not the answer, and are ranked for thousands and thousands of technical search terms on Google. They try to get you to buy a subscription to get the answer, and I know more than one frustrated person that has ponied up the cash without realizing they could just scroll to the bottom of the page (albeit sometimes as much as 5000 pixels).

Why Do This?

Like most cloaking, scroll cloaking allows you to put content on the page for the search engines that you don’t want your users to see. In most cases, it’s keyword stuffed gibberish. In other cases, it’s content that you need for SEO, but content you don’t want the user to get without paying. Scroll Cloaking allows you to do this, at least for a large percentage of users, while still being able to claim to search engineers that you are not hiding content – because it’s still on the page and visible.

Seemingly Low Google Risk

Given the length of time and exposure the forum site has gotten for this technique without being banned or penalized leads many to assume it is Google approved.   Technically speaking, it’s not really cloaking because the user is actually presented the content, it’s just hidden by 4-5 scrolls that most users don’t realize. There are other such cloaking techniques that I will highlight in the coming articles of this series.

Easy to Implement
Scroll cloaking is one of the easiest types of cloaking to implement.   Anyone can implement scroll cloaking with the following code:

<?
echo $advertisement;
for ( $i = 0; $i < 100; $i++ ) {
echo “<br>”;
}
echo $content;
?>

Disclaimer

I don’t endorse this technique, nor do I recommend it to anyone that hasn’t evaluated the risks. In general a site should cater to what is good for their users, and this certainly doesn’t qualify.

Happy cloaking.

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3 Comments

3 Responses to “Scroll Cloaking : Simple and Effective Cloaking”

  1. Todd Bollack Says:

    THATS AMAZING!!! I hate them (as you say) for this, but I’ll enjoy getting my answers there again! Just now, it will come with a glimmer of “I win” with it.

    Thank you for this post!

    Cloaking, on the other hand, naughty naughty. I’m going to have to keep an eye on you.

  2. Godhammer Says:

    I am so pissed I had to scroll all the way down here to see my comments… =)

    Cloaker!

  3. Quality Nonsense Says:

    Hah, I always assumed they were cloaking. Worth knowing, I never checked at the bottom of the page…