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Cloaking and redirects penalty recovery

The cloaking and redirects penalty

Cloaking is where you attempt to show different content to Google's crawler compared to what visitors see and is a clear breach of their guidelines. If you hired a SEO company and you are not sure what they were up to then in Google Webmaster Tools (under Crawl -> Fetch as Google you can see what the Google crawler sees versus what you see when you visit any specific page on your site.

Redirecting is where you show visitors a link but when they click on it, the page it takes them to just redirects to another which Google often feels is "sneaky".

Note cloaking and redirecting may also be the result of a website that is hacked. See Hacked website penalty recovery for more on this.

Alternatively many webmasters become victim to this penalty because they hire SEO companies that carry out this practice.

Cloacking and redirects penalty recovery

For cloaking:

  • If you have the technical know how remove the code which does this.
  • If it was done by a SEO company you hired drop them like a stone and find another to help you out.
  • Keep notes of every event and every page you work on along with dates so you can file a convincing reconsideration request once your site is cleaned up.
  • Remember your reconsideration request should always contain:
    • What you did to resolve the issue.
    • What you did to make sure the issue will not happen again (e.g. dropped the SEO company you were using).

For redirects

  • Go through your sites looking for links which redirect - this often happens after URLs have been changed and redirects have been put in place but hundreds of old links on the website have not been updated. Do not rely on methods like 301 redirects alone when changing URLs, existing links have to be changed as well.
  • If it was done by a SEO company you hired drop them like a stone and find another to help you out.
  • Keep notes of every event and every page you work on along with dates so you can file a convincing reconsideration request once your site is cleaned up.
  • Remember your reconsideration request should always contain:
    • What you did to resolve the issue.
    • What you did to make sure the issue will not happen again.

If you are sure that neither you or anyone else responsible for the maintenance of your website has been involved in creating cloaked content or redirects it is possible that your website has been hacked and the content inserted. See hacked website penalty recovery for more information on this.

I'm Tim Hill, a Search Engine Optimisation and Online Marketing specialist. I created this site to help others understand that SEO is not a mysterious black art!.

If your a newbie try the Getting Started in SEO page, otherwise feel free to dig around and learn more.

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