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Why you should not treat Googlebot differently

Nowadays it’s possible to create a website at relatively little cost. That causes start-up companies and even established businesses to have increasing competition when selling their products and services online. The quality of the design and the content on your website is as important as its page rankings – or, in other words, no matter how great your website looks, you will never get the results you want if it cannot be found easily on the Internet.
Hiring a qualified web designer is only the first step to building your competitive Web Presence. The second step requires hiring an SEO Consultant who will prepare your website to leave a good first impression on Google (or any other search engine, for that matter).

But here are a few things you should be careful of if you decide to hire an SEO Consultant - make sure you understand every step in the strategy they will offer. Sometimes if a bad (called Black Hat SEO) technique is done, it can be really harmful for your website’s rankings – not right away, but eventually, when Google closes that Black Hat loophole your page ranking will suffer. Once you lose Google’s trust, you’ll have to work double to earn it back.

If cloaking is one of the words, in that quote you got from your SEO Consultant, you will find the following article really helpful.

"There is no such thing as White Hat Cloaking" - Matt Cutts, Google

What is Cloaking ?

Cloaking is essentially showing different content to the GoogleBot than you would normally show your users. In the vast majority of situations, the same content goes to Googlebot and to users. But if you decide to adjust your site to show different content to users and to Googlebot, there is high risk to it. That is a violation of Google’s quality guidelines.

Here is why Google considers cloaking bad, and why Google does not like cloaking.

In the ancient days of search engines (2007), a lot of people did try to do deceptive or misleading things with cloaking.
So for example, when Googlebot came, the web server that was cloaking might return a page all about cartoons. But when a user came and visited the page, the web Server might return something with really inappropriate content. If you do a search for Disney cartoons on Google, you'd get a page that looked like it would be about Cartoons, you'd click on it, and then you'd get something you didn’t expect at all.
That's a hugely bad experience for users and a lot of people complain about it.

What About Geo-Location and Handling Mobile Phones?

Geo-location handles the requests that are coming in to the web server by looking at the IP address of the end user and preparing the most suitable content based on that info. So for example, someone coming from a French IP address will get their content in French and they're going to be much happier about that. Looking at the IP address and reacting to that is totally fine, as long as you're not reacting specifically to the IP address of just Googlebot.

In the same way, if someone comes in from a mobile phone, meaning they are accessing the web via an iPhone or an Android phone, it's totally fine to respond to that user agent and give them a more squeezed version of the website or something that fits better on a smaller screen.

Why you shouldn't treat Googlebot differently

Google Bot White Hat SEO
Google wants to score and return roughly the same page that the user is going to see.

If the end user gets the same link when they click on a Google result as if they'd just come to the page themselves, that means that your SEO Consultant did a good job in making your website appear in Google searches. The end user will get what he searched for, and you will probably get some more customers, because they were pointed to the right place. Everybody wins – the end user, you and even Google.

Contact Boost2Business today to learn more about ethical SEO and how to establish your rank in Google, Yahoo and Bing using White Hat methods approved by Google. SEO isn’t rocket science. It takes dedication, hard work and a little ninjenuity.

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