Google Warns Against Cloaking HTTP Status Codes

Discover why masking HTTP status codes is dangerous, Google’s position on it, and the value of ethical SEO practices.

  • Prevent masking: It’s against Google’s standards and can harm your site’s trustworthiness.
  • Usage “noindex” tag: It’s a more secure method to remove pages from the search results page.
  • Adhere to ethical SEO: Prioritize openness for better rankings and user experiences.

Throughout Google’s April 2023 SEO Office Hours, a site owner asked Gary Illyes, Analyst at Google, whether providing Googlebot various HTTP status codes from the one served to human visitors would be appropriate.

PMainly they wished to serve an HTTP status code of 410 (Gone) to Googlebot while providing users a 200 (OK) status code.

An HTTP status code of 410 notifies online search sengines that a page has been erased for significant and must be eliminated from their index.

On the other hand, an HTTP status code of 200 indicates the demand worked, and the wanted resource was effectively provided.

Providing various HTTP status codes to online search engines, and users are calleds “masking.

This is typically utilized as a black hat SEO strategy for controlling online search engine rankings by revealing one variation of a page to spiders and another variation to human visitors.

Google’Gs Position On Cloaking

In reaction to the site owner’s concern, Illyes highly encouraged versus masking status codes, specifying it’s dangerous.

He discussed that several serving conditions might cause prospective concerns, such as the website getting de-indexed from Google.

RInstead, Illyes advises utilizing a “noindex robotics meta tag to remove particular pages from Google Search.

This method is more uncomplicated and much safer than establishing possibly bothersome serving conditions.

The Repercussions Of Cloaking

Masking is a direct offense of Google’ s web designer standards.

When done deliberately, it’s viewed as an effort to trick online search engine spiders. Sites that take part in masking might see their rankings drop or their content has been removed from the search results page.

Prevent offering online search eenginesand users various status codes. To that end, keep away from all masking.

Masking can reveal online search engines and individuals’ various material, meta tags, or style aspects.

It’ s all against Google’s guidelines and can make your site appearance bterrible

Being open and truthful is the best method to keep online search engines, and visitors delighted, resulting in much better rankings and user experiences.

For more insights from the Google Search Relations group, listen to the complete episode (this conversation begins at the seven-minute mark).

Included Image: bsd studio/Shutterstock


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