Successfully Cloaking in 2013?

 
 

I am well-aware that Google’s algorithm is work in progress and they continuously work on improving their search quality algorithm. What I saw today, however, makes me wonder if I give the algorithm too much credit.

Search query “assumptious”¬†brings up the following page:

Spammy Screenshot

I was shocked to see something like this ranking as #1 even for rare queries. This should not be ranking first after Panda and top heavy / layout algorithm update. After repeating the search I was given the full content page instead, which is also given to Google. Here’s the cached page:

Content Page

I asked one of my guys to check this search query as well and they got the content page first time indicating at a possibility of this being some form of sneaky A/B test.

Is this a common practice? I’d love to hear more from our readers.

Dan Petrovic is a well-known Australian SEO and a managing director of Dejan SEO. He has published numerous research articles in the field of search engine optimisation and online marketing. Dan's work is highly regarded by the world-wide SEO community and featured on some of the most reputable websites in the industry. Questions? Here's Dan's contact email.

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2 Responses to “Successfully Cloaking in 2013?”

  1. Why do you think this has to be sneaky? Maybe it is just a test for a subscription model? (to estimate conversions…?).

    Nothing wrong with testing, I suppose. If they completely changed the page, it would still take Google a few days/weeks to downgrade the ranking.

    It would be assumptious to call this cloaking, no?

     
    • David
  2. I’m with you. However if it’s a subscription model test then shouldn’t it be first view free instead of the other way around? I’d love to hear what a Googler has to say about this sort of test.

     

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