A black hat SEO technique that involves showing different things to humans and crawlers. Typically, those who engage in this behavior are trying to show something that’s easy for a crawler to understand (like HTML) to the search engines instead of the actual content that the search engine might have more difficulty interpreting (e.g. Javascript, Flash, or images). A site that’s easier for crawlers to understand will likely outrank a site that’s difficult to interpret.

  • Pro Tip: Cloaking is considered a black hat SEO practice because it can be deceiving to the user — the user might end up on a page totally different from the one they were expecting when they clicked on the search result. It’s also a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.