Sneaky SEO tactics: Bait and Cloak

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  • July 6, 2007
Patrick Altoft

Patrick Altoft

Director of Strategy

Most internet marketing consultants will tell you that getting links from related websites is the best way to improve your rankings on Google. The problem is that the majority of these related websites are your direct competition and are unlikely to want to link to you.

Obtaining links from your competitors is almost impossible unless they don’t realise you are a competitor. Some websites are willing to exchange links but you need to be a really good resource and a trusted site for them to want to exchange links with you.

The best way to use your competition is to set up an extra site that isn’t associated with your main site.

For example if you are selling MP3 players you would start up an MP3 player retailer directory and fill it with good content and articles and exchange links with all the other retailers.

You can even add your competitors links if they don’t want to exchange links – the key is to create a valuable resource. Make sure it is all done under a fake name and that its not hosted on the same sever as your main site.

Once the new site has taken off and attracted lots of natural links you simply need to implement some sneaky cloaking so that your main competitors see normal links but the search engine spiders see nofollow links. Don’t nofollow all the links on your site, just the ones to your nearest competitors.

if((preg_match("/msn/i", $_SERVER['HTTP_USER_AGENT']) == 1)

||(preg_match(“/slurp/i”, $_SERVER[‘HTTP_USER_AGENT’]) == 1)

||(preg_match(“/google/i”, $_SERVER[‘HTTP_USER_AGENT’]) == 1)){

echo”<a href=””
rel=”nofollow”>Competitor Site</a>”;




echo”<a href=””>Competitor Site</a>”;



The beauty of this tip is that even if Google finds the cloaking and bans the site they have no way of associating it with your main website.

I will try to make the Sneaky SEO Tactics a regular column so if you have any tips please send them in.

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