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Cloaking?


Best Answer ginab , 25 August 2015 - 11:15 AM

Hi again Jill,

Your idea of temporarily changing out the template was exactly what I was thinking. GMTA ;-) ? Come to find out, it was a corrupt coding in the template/add-on for e-commerce. It was bloated sending different results. These folks own a couple restaurants in CO and wanted their sites to look similar. Can't blame them for that. The end result was indeed a coding issue. After changing out the template there was no coding issue. In all the years we have been doing this I have never seen such a bad template, or had this issue. But, in this case, the customer insisted on using the template because they had taken a liking to it from another restaurant. But we found a template to manipulate that looks identical.

Good point on the cloaking tool Michael. One of the cloaking tools we use does show the different metadata side-by-side. Like Jill mentioned, you can't trust them all. We always run a battery of tests to protect our clients. All-in-all, it was a really bad template/commerce combo from the pit with hidden code.

 I totally agree with you, we don't trust any third party tool. This was a rare case.

 

Gina

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#1 ginab

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Posted 19 August 2015 - 12:03 AM

Hi all. I really really really need some help.

We have two clients for whom we made two websites (on WordPress). They're both pretty straight forward sites ... but when we used an SEO tool to check some behind the scenes stuffs, BOTH sites are being flagged as serving up cloaked data to Google!!!!

But we aren't!!!!!  I'm so terrified that Google is going to ban them for something that is not our fault. I've now used robots.txt to 'block' Google from crawling the sites until I can figure this out.

If anybody could please help me with this, I would be forever grateful.  

a) why does Google think I'm sending cloaked info? Is it a WordPress thing? Is it the theme I'm using on Wordpress?   Do I need to solve this in Google Search Console?

B) how can I fix it so that Google doesn't think that anymore?

THANKS SO MUCH for any help you can send my way.
Gina


Edited by Jill, 19 August 2015 - 08:38 AM.
Removed websites


#2 Jill

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Posted 19 August 2015 - 08:39 AM

Most third-party tools are dumb. 

 

What does Google Webmaster tools tell you?

 

Also, make sure you didn't check the box in Wordpress to make your site not indexable by spiders/crawlers.


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#3 torka

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Posted 19 August 2015 - 09:09 AM

Second what Jill said. Google is not staffed by a bunch of ogres running around looking for trumped-up reasons to ban innocent web pages. It's far more likely that the coders of the third-party tool you're using either don't understand what cloaking is, or have so poorly coded their tool they are flagging harmless code as "cloaking."

 

Let Google crawl your site and use the Google Search Console to see if they report any crawl errors or other issues. If they don't report anything, you're probably OK.

 

Keep in mind, "not being banned" doesn't mean you're going to automatically rank highly for your most coveted search terms. Lots of times we've had people come here saying their site must have been banned because they were ranking nowhere for their keywords -- but the problem was actually that their pages were poorly optimized, or that they were targeting high-competition keywords, or that they were going up against large, well-funded and deeply-entrenched competitors, or simply that their site was brand-new and hadn't had time to build up trust and reputation yet, or whatever. There are tons of reasons why a page might not appear in the top 10 organic results (or even the top 1000 results) that have nothing to do with being banned. Not saying any of this will be the case for your pages, just that it's something to keep in mind. :thumbup:

 

--Torka :oldfogey:


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#4 ginab

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Posted 19 August 2015 - 12:39 PM

Hi Jill and Torka,

Thank you so much for your answers. I appreciate your expertize! This one had/has me a little freaked out. I used the same Word Press template for each of the websites, so I'm thinking it's something in the template. I always go over everything with a fine tooth comb to deliver the very best to my clients. Speed/mobile testing, etc. I agree most of the tools on-line are "pretty dumb". However, the ones I used are reputable. One is the cloacking detector from Bruce Clay and the other is an on-line tool that actually shows you the differences (side-by-side) in metadata being delivered. In these two cases they had "extra garb". Now, just trying to fix the issues without messing up the rest of the site will be a challenge.

I did check with Google Webmaster tools, and in 'not so many words' they said if it doesn't match, get rid of it. Easier said than done.

It just so happens BOTH of these websites (made from the same template)  also have 302 re-directs. That is my other challenge right now :-(  $100.00 for a piece of garbage template.

Thanks again, I appreciate both of you!

Gina



#5 Jill

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Posted 20 August 2015 - 09:57 AM

Well, easiest thing would be to temporarily change the template and see if the dumb tool says something different. You can always switch it back if necessary.


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#6 Michael Martinez

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Posted 20 August 2015 - 11:36 AM

One thing to consider is how the cloaking tool operates.  It's looking at what the search engines show and comparing that to what it can fetch from your Website.  But Google says it won't index content that is hidden by styling (like tabs).  That is not (yet) regarded as cloaking by the search engines.  They are just not going to use that data to rank Websites because their visitors cannot easily find the content on the page.

 

I would trust what the search engine says over what any third-party tools say.


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#7 ginab

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Posted 25 August 2015 - 11:15 AM   Best Answer

Hi again Jill,

Your idea of temporarily changing out the template was exactly what I was thinking. GMTA ;-) ? Come to find out, it was a corrupt coding in the template/add-on for e-commerce. It was bloated sending different results. These folks own a couple restaurants in CO and wanted their sites to look similar. Can't blame them for that. The end result was indeed a coding issue. After changing out the template there was no coding issue. In all the years we have been doing this I have never seen such a bad template, or had this issue. But, in this case, the customer insisted on using the template because they had taken a liking to it from another restaurant. But we found a template to manipulate that looks identical.

Good point on the cloaking tool Michael. One of the cloaking tools we use does show the different metadata side-by-side. Like Jill mentioned, you can't trust them all. We always run a battery of tests to protect our clients. All-in-all, it was a really bad template/commerce combo from the pit with hidden code.

 I totally agree with you, we don't trust any third party tool. This was a rare case.

 

Gina


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#8 torka

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Posted 26 August 2015 - 09:10 AM

Excellent bit of detection there, and a fine work-around solution. Well done! :)

--Torka :oldfogey:






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