Decloaking Hazards - Why You Should Shun Caching Search EnginesWritten by Ralph Tegtmeier and Dirk Brockhausen
While all search engines use one form of caching or another to build their indices, some of them make a point of displaying cached web pages to their users. The commonly quoted pretext for this is that it offers searchers fast access to a page's content, making it easier to check out whether it's what they are really looking for in first place. Of course, what this actually does is keep visitors on search engine's site, making them more susceptible to banner ads and other means of promotion.
Moreover, for a web site employing IP delivery, this practice constitutes a prime Decloaking Hazard: as cloaking works by feeding an optimized (or, at least, different) page to search engine spiders not intended for human perusal, caching such pages and displaying them for asking will reveal your cloaking effort, this rendering it useless - any unscrupulous competitor could easily steal your cloaked code to optimize their own pages with it and achieve better rankings to your detriment.
The most prominent search engine displaying cached web pages not of their own making is, of course, Google. In past Google staff would promptly comply with any request by webmasters not to display cached pages. Then, about a year and some ago, Google introduced a proprietary meta tag (META NAME="GOOGLEBOT" CONTENT="NOARCHIVE") for webmasters to include in header of those pages they want to see excluded from this feature.
The Google meta tag actually works. While there was some indication immediately after their introduction that sites opting for this exclusion might be penalized ranking wise, this seems to have abated. Obviously, should Google really start a witch hunt on cloaking sites, as their public announcements are font of stating every other month or so, it only stands to reason that web sites making use of this special meta tag might constitute prime targets. For this reason we do not recommend cloaking for Google unless you do it exclusively from a dedicated shadow domain.
It pays to study the Search EnginesWritten by John Saxon
Vive la difference
Here we were, very complacent at significant progress our site was making in search engine placement stakes.
Number 3 on Excite, with a number of hits coming in, number 7 on Northern Light, no hits from there, and so on. We were starting to get a number of hits from Google and Fast and then ... we appeared on Lycos, out of blue at Number 1, but only on one key phrase 'barnsley accountants' and when I tried 'barnsley accountant' we fell out of site (no pun intended).
What was wrong, why couldn't Lycos recognise that accountant is in word accountants? Why was 'Business Start Up' getting nowhere on Lycos?
In order to solve problem it was back to basics. What was it reading, what were words highlighted in listing? How did Lycos work. After all it is one of major Search Engines and if they are investing all that money advertising on TV (by way only 1% of web site hits come from 'off-line' promotion) I should piggy back this campaign and make sure we are well up on Lycos listing.
I know, from bitter experience, that Google works on and first paragraph or so of , AltaVista looks at s and little else, but Lycos is a different beast. The secret lies in becoming a student of search engines - looking at them for hour after hour and trying to 'optimise' your site to reach them all without alienating any of major ones.
Lycos seems to work on title, however rest of it is driven by description that is contained in s that we write for every page (don't we?).
I had omitted to write descriptions for most of 603 pages on site because I assumed that they were only for human reviewers and I wasn't too interested in them at this stage of development of our web site.
So I wrote descriptions for each page, making sure that I wrote singular 'accountant' solicitor' and plural 'accountants' and solicitors' in all meta tags, in a particular section of web site and submitted them to Lycos - long wait - then, there we were Barnsley Accountants, Sheffield Accountants, Doncaster Solicitors, Rotherham Marketing Services, South Yorkshire Premises ... every time our site was number one.