How not to catch a ban in search engines: dynamic content versus cloaking

    The era of personalization has begun on the Internet. Online stores track behavioral factors and recommend products that interest them; landing page content changes depending on the request and even search engines make personalized results.
    At the same time, wild passions flare up around personalization technology in Runet. We regularly receive accusations that dynamic content is cloaking. Where is the truth?

    What's the matter

    ? First, let's recall the materiel: cloaking (from the English cloak - mask, cover) consists in the fact that the user and the search robots on the same page are given different information.
    It was created to artificially influence search results. A few years ago, the ranking factors of Yandex and Google were far from "humanity." Optimized according to all the rules, the page resembled a salad of keywords.

    The situation is familiar: the site is in TOP-1, SEOs are rubbing their hands, business owners are jumping for joy, and it is impossible for a potential client to read all this without tears. As a result, some webmasters came up with a brilliant thing: “let's show the robots“ stuffed ”with keywords with robots, and the user with a human-oriented option.”

    To distinguish between robots and visitors, IP addresses or User Agent are checked. From the technical side, everything is quite complicated, plus the names of search robots and a database with IP addresses are required.

    It turned out that “the sheepskin is worth the candle” - the site is moving forward in issuance, users love it for its “proximity to the people”, if this is a commercial theme, the conversion, respectively, of sales is growing.
    However, in reality, not everything is so rosy: the method was more used for manipulations in the pursuit of traffic.

    For example, a user searches for free music tracks, and he is transferred to the page of the online store with disks. We are modestly silent about porn sites: that’s where search spammers roamed for the full program)
    In such cases, content for search engines can be 100% different from content for users.

    Legal cloaking

    Yandex & Google announced tough penalties for cloaking, from pessimization to ban. Despite the fact that they themselves use its elements. How so? But first, a screenshot from the Yandex help where cloaking and similar doorway technology are the honorary leaders of the prohibited methods:

    Yandex and by IP address take into account the user's location and show him local widgets (city map, weather, traffic jams, news). For Moscow, one thing, for Perm another, Vladivostok the third: the simplest example called geo-targeting. Google redirects (redirects) to the regional version when entering No one is against this approach, because it is convenient: the user automatically finds himself in a "native" environment.

    The next example of legal cloaking is product recommendations in online stores. Amazon was the first to learn it back in 2005. Let's say you looked at a children's backpack (product card). When you return to the main page or when switching to other categories, at the end of the page you see the block “Recommendations related to what you watched”:

    If the visitor has not bought one thing, the store offers something similar from the assortment. The chances of a sale increase significantly. According to Amazon marketers, they earn up to 20% of annual revenue on product recommendations and upsells (resale to the main order).

    Next comes the call tracking, when a specific phone number is displayed for a specific request. Number change occurs automatically. Owners of the site see from which request the lead came, which allows you to do detailed analytics.

    The a / b testing systems also work on the basis of cloaking - for search engines one page, and for users the traffic is divided equally with the initial and test versions (with a different header, for example). As a result, one part sees option A, the second - option B. It is possible to analyze page performance and influence conversion only with the help of a / b tests.

    Finally, the method that causes the most fierce debate. It's about dynamic content. We use it in the Yagla conversion conversion system .

    Dynamic content against cloaking

    The essence of the technology is in replacing part of the landing page content for user requests from contextual advertising.
    Recall that in 99% of cases, all keywords lead to the same page (primarily in the case of single-page). Despite the fact that different users have different motives and selection criteria. For some, the manufacturer is important, someone is looking for the price, on credit, for the terms of delivery and so on.

    Even greater variation in services. An example of one of our clients is a wedding agency. Here are just the basic needs: people are looking for a toastmaster, restaurant, and a turnkey holiday organization. The agency provides all these services, the traffic is “driven” by one landing page.
    Yes, you can “get confused” and make three pages, but even this step will not cover the whole mass of requests, all needs. And if a business has twenty types of services?

    In this article, we show how dynamic content works in the niche of wholesale deliveries: How to sell 10,000 products on a single landing

    Look more clearly at the example of a car repair shop landing page. This is the original version:

    And this is the header option for the request “replacing the fuel filter”:

    Can you imagine what the range of services the car repair shop has? Only the main categories - 29, without in-depth marks. Plus additional work (installation of alarms, DVRs, etc.) A lot of opportunities for hypersegmentation. The user clicks on the ad and does not delve into the list of works, but immediately sees what he needs.

    Yes, the owner of the site synchronizes the advertising campaign with Yagla, he indicates the replaceable elements in the editor and writes, for example, new headings for each group of requests. Or signatures to lead forms, CTA buttons, images on the first screen.
    The conversion increase is due to the personalization of the trading offer (offer). Business offers a person exactly what he is looking for.

    Here is a brief summary of how it works and what gives the business dynamic content.

    An important point : substitutions occur only upon requests from the context. We do not touch organic traffic.

    Cons Position

    Claims come down to the fact that we give different content to users and robots (see the first part of the Yandex definition in the upper screenshot). And it’s difficult for the search engine algorithm to distinguish a site with dynamic content from spam fraud in order to influence the SERP.

    Pro position

    The most interesting thing is that Yandex and Google calmly perceive dynamic content when it works as part of personalization. Theoretically, of course, the site owner can radically change the content of the page. BUT this is on his conscience and has nothing to do with the task of the service.

    A few months ago, we asked about fears of falling into the cloaking category in Yandex support and received the following response: “If the landing page is relevant to the ad and the key request, there will be no problems.”

    According to reputable Internet entrepreneur Michael Campbell, the consequences depend on the purpose of the technology. And here are the words of his colleague John Heard: “Trouble can be expected only when trying to mislead the visitor. When you create a page that is as relevant as possible to the request, you help both the visitor and the search engine. ”

    Banyat for deception and manipulation. Recall the second part of the definition of Yandex: "... in order to influence the ranking in the search engine."
    Given a personalization strategy, especially with Google, this is the worst crime. Therefore, cloaking is so cruelly punished. But any improvement in user experience (user experience) by Google itself is only welcome. What are we, in fact, striving for.

    In conclusion, two expert opinions on existing concerns. They clearly dot all the i.

    Maxim Uvarov, K50 Service Development Director

    Alexey Dovzhikov, founder of eLama contextual advertising automation service,
    development director of Trinet

    PS As you can see, the problem itself has slightly lost relevance due to major changes in the concept of
    Internet promotion compared to the birth of cloaking. Even for old-school seo optimizers.

    If the topic is still tormenting, we will readily answer your questions in the comments.

    With respect to you and your business, the founder of the service Alexander Alimov

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