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    So cloaking seems to be becoming legit?


    This started with Forbes but I've noticed it spreading to more and more websites - businessinsider.com have started to do it.

    You do a Google search, it shows the page title and a snippet of text which you click on to visit the site and read the article. But instead of going to the article you end up on a page with an advertisement and some small link which says 'continue to [brand name]'. Clicking that link takes you there.

    To me this was always a form of cloaking - showing the search engines one thing and humans something else but the practice has been around for a while now and is growing so it seems Google is OK with it ..... or could this get a slap one day?
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    I have seen such cloaked ads and they appear before your desired text appears. Such in between ads are a nuisance when you are looking for something, you feel as if you have found what you wanted and then you notice there is this funny ad page coming up and you have to wait for it to do its action or wait for those few seconds until when you can skip.
    I feel this practice should be stopped and even Google does not like such cloaked links. Though it may seem hard to detect for the bots, thanks to professional spammers, they may develop smarter ways to detect cloaking and help non cloaking sites grow.
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    It's a good question. Many big sites now do it without being penalised by Google, but should they be doing it?

    I run a number of sites that use a popup light box with an opt-in. That has been working fine for years with no ranking decrease I've seen and in a way these ads employ the same method but take up the entire screen. It's hard to see what the different between this and cloaking really is, as it is a different result being served up to a visitor compared with Googlebot and perhaps at some stage Google will clamp down.
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    I agree with Doodled and it's driving me nuts especially on mobile devices (btw. I read somewhere an opinion, that preparing different content for different devices is also a form of cloaking). But I'm also sure that it's going to get punished someday, human tendency to exploit everything will kill it.

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