• Bronwen

    Great post. This is a recurring thing in my life right now!
    For point 9, I understand that Google see’s cloaking as when a human reading your site see’s different content or information than the Googlebot or other search engine robot reading the site, but how does this relate to when you want to cloak an affiliate link so that your commissions cant be link hijacked? Is this seen as bad practice or does Goole understand that there are some bad people out there and we need to protect our own?
    Many thanks

  • Adam

    Bronwen – thanks for the comment! In terms of cloaking, I think you’re walking a fine line when you are trying to cloak for any reason. While I’m reading into affiliate parasites that can hijack or the other big scenario where the searcher removes the affiliate id, I would wonder how many sales this impacts vs what would happen if Google thinks you’re doing some big cloaking & takes away rankings.

    Other opinions welcome, but those are my 2 cents on it. Thanks again!

  • Bronwen

    Thanks for the answer Adam and I fully agree its perhaps better to risk a few sneaky thieves than it is the wrath of Google but my next question is how do my fairly big competitors get away with it then as they certaintly never disappear due to a slap like I do! Is it because they are older, more backlinks etc etc as I know if I even risk it, I am more than likely bound to get whacked from Google?

  • Adam

    This is a problem where the little guy does seem to lose over the 800 lb gorilla of the industry. I think Rand at seomoz does a nice job of explaining this in another similar post that came out last Friday.

    We really try to stay away from these types of grayish areas, but especially when Google Base was newer we had feeds bumped suggesting we used promotional language, quantity pricing. This is exactly what the big guys were doing. Their feed would be bumped less than a day where some of our little guys would be down 2-3 days.

    Best idea is to stay away from the things you know are wrong, regardless of who is getting away with them. While Cutts spam reporting tool isn’t the greatest, it’s just one route to possibly having attention brought to your competition’s sneaky ways.

  • Russ

    I think the webmaster tools are your biggest indicator. They continually improve these tools and let you know issues and performance regarding your site. Nice post and very helpful

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