Industrial-strength cloaking explained
Just to set a few points straight since you're using our promo
string "Industrial-Strength Cloaking" within what is essentially an unrelated
1. "Industrial-Strength Cloaking" (or IP Delivery) in the strict sense of the
term (as we use it, having invented the phrase) is conducted on separate
sites: one "Shadow Domain" (SD) and one "Core (or: Main) Domain" (CD),
the latter being the one you'd direct your human visitors to.
Mixing cloaked and non-cloaked pages on the same domain (and IP, for that
matter), while technically possible, is not recommended in view of the
engines' declared anti-cloaking policy.
It's only the search engine spiders that will be fed the cloaked domain's
content - and, hence, only the SD's ranking will be affected by the cloaking
efforts. There's ways and means to garner incoming links to SDs (albeit
obviously somewhat artificially), but as that's not the issue at hand I won't
go into it any further here.
What's important to note is that because the spiders won't be redirected,
there'll be no redirection for them to detect and, hence, no penalization.
2. "Hijacked" domains don't relate to cloaking at all and, frankly, the rationale
of your mentioning them within this context simply beats me. "Hijacking
domains" (a very rare occurrence in any case) may be many things but it's
certainly not "cloaking"!
3. Ever and again you'll find orphaned domains which used to be ranked (well
or not) when still active being taken over by a new proprietor. Typically, the
traffic they continue to generate will be redirected to some other target site,
be it infinitely (in which case it's a sort of parasitic traffic gobbling behavior
on the part of the new registrants or buyers but quite legit) or for a limited
time until the new domain owners have put their own proprietary content up.
This may account for at least part of the phenomenon you're describing.
Note that there's lots of inactive domains still being blithely listed with
Yahoo! (and in ODP) and hunting them out to pick up their traffic via
re-registration has turned into quite a cottage industry in its own right ...
4. Domains can disappear from search engine indices for tons of reasons, but
when analyzing the actual causes it's certainly not helpful to always
assume "cloaking" as the first and prime suspect. (Not saying that you did,
but it's a fairly common gut level response, usually with people who don't
know the least bit about cloaking in the first place. This is very much akin to
the "Here be dragons" maps of yore and more often than not just as
The chances of losing a professionally crafted cloaked domain in a search
engine index, while technically quite real, are, in actual practice, extremely
remote. There's lots of reasons for this I won't bore you with here, but if
you'd like to discuss it at any length, perhaps you'd want to set up a new
thread. Thus, any professional analysis will assign the possibility of cloaking
being the cause a fairly low priority.
5. "Phony cache": sorry, but there simply ain't no such animal! A search
engine's cache is a snapshot of what the search engine spider has actually
crawled ("seen and stored", you might say). And the cache is what the
search engine ranking mechanism will normally take for a basis, though many
other factors will be added on top of the onsite criteria.
The only way a webmaster or -mistress can change cached content is by
setting up new content and having the spider crawl and reindex it - in
which case, again, it wouldn't be "phony".
However, there's methods of redirecting searchers who take a peek at the
This can be (and is being) done for lots of reasons, all of them quite
legitimate. Here's only three of them:
a) caching tends to break up relative links on a web page which may botch
up navigation, proper display of graphics, etc.;
b) the page content is copyright protected so the search engine has no right
in the world to store and use (display) it within another environment (frames,
SE tag in the header, etc.) without the copyright holder's express
3) a cache may be quite dated, depending on the search engine's indexing
cycle, so you wouldn't want the searcher to be confused by obsolete
information, etc. etc.
Last edited by fantomaster : 10-14-2004 at 01:24 AM.
Reason: Edited some typos + ommissions.