My website is very JavaScript-heavy. All the content of the site is loaded asynchronously using JavaScript. So my developers implemented cloaking - server sends a static version of the webpage if it's requested by Googlebot. I recently found out that is called cloaking and considered a black hat SEO technique.

I'm wondering what are the consequences? Is there any way to measure what is the effect of using using this technique to site's search rankings?

  • 1
    Google issues a severe penalty for cloaking. Google also checks for cloaking using networks external to Google. In otherwords, they are sneaky and check your site to make sure that you are not messing around. If you are, they look for confirmation over a short period of time and then WHAM!! It is just a matter of time. Don't take the chance. Fix it fast.
    – closetnoc
    Nov 26, 2015 at 14:41

3 Answers 3


You should not do this when Googlebot (or any other for that matter) comes by, but for anyone who doesn't have javascript turned on.

The most obvious check Google can do is send other set of headers to check of you give a specific result for googlebot only. if( bot-headers-result != normal-headers-result ){ punish(); }

The other reason is that the few people who legitemally do not have javascript (rare but existing) will have (some) functionality now.


Its understandable if you're deliberately serving special static pages consisting of some kind of error to bad bots (or even guests who use content-scraping programs to copy a website), but for everyone else, just serve the same content to search engines as you would serve to normal users.

If Javascript must generate something, don't make it generate the important textual content or the HTML code, especially when its textual content that search engines can use to help you rank your pages higher. Instead, make it change the little details such as text underlining, etc.

Put users first, especially those with Javascript disabled, and treat search engine bots as normal users.


You need to fix that error as soon as possible. Google is very strict about these kinds of things. It is considered a deceptive tactic by Google and they will penalize you for it. If anything put higher priority on Googlebots than actual users.

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    This doesn't actually answer the question
    – John Conde
    Nov 27, 2015 at 4:24

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