Sometimes, a webmaster might program the server in such a way that it returns different content to Google than it returns to regular users, which is often done to misrepresent search engine rankings. This process is referred to as cloaking as it conceals the actual website and returns distorted web pages to search engines crawling the site. This can mislead users about what they'll find when they click on a search result. Google highly disapproves of any such practice and might place a ban on the website which is found guilty of cloaking.
Here are some important tips and tricks that can be useful to deal with.
- A website should have crystal clear hierarchy and links and should preferably be easy to navigate.
- A site map is required to help the users go around your site and in case the site map has more than 100 links, then it is advisable to break it into several pages to avoid clutter.
- Come up with essential and precise keywords and make sure that your website features relevant and informative content.
- The Google crawler will not recognize text hidden in the images, so when describing important names, keywords or links; stick with plain text.
- The TITLE and ALT tags should be descriptive and accurate and the website should have no broken links or incorrect HTML.
- Dynamic pages (the URL consisting of a ‘?’ character) should be kept to a minimum as not every search engine spider is able to crawl them.
- The robots.txt file on your web server should be current and should not block the Googlebot crawler. This file tells crawlers which directories can or cannot be crawled.
- When making a site, do not cheat your users, i.e. those people who will surf your website. Do not provide them with irrelevant content or present them with any fraudulent schemes.
- Do not employ hidden texts or hidden links.
- Google frowns upon websites using cloaking technique. Hence, it is advisable to avoid that.
- Automated queries should not be sent to Google.
- Avoid "doorway" pages created just for search engines or other "cookie cutter" approaches such as affiliate programs with hardly any original content.