Wikia’s Clean Cloaking An Interesting Technology

Author: Gab Goldenberg

I recently happened to go to Wikia’s page on the 100 worst songs to sing at a funeral, and came across the following cloaked screen that takes up most of the page – none of the content is visible by scrolling or looking closely (i.e. it’s not transparent).

Wikia Cloaking Content Warning

As you can imagine, the warning about politically incorrect and satirical content is not what people visiting the page come for – they come for the list of songs.

Once you click I accept – the URL doesn’t change, but you instantly get a content change:

Wikia's List of 100 Worst Songs To Sing At A Funeral

This is an excellent implementation of a tactic I shared a long time ago, the splash page double homepage technique.

What’s especially impressive about Wikia’s implementation is that they hid the content, instead of just having a lightbox effect where the background is just grayed over but still visible. And of course there’s no second pageload, which is great for SEO. Indeed – I found Wikia’s article ranking in Google search.

There is of course a measure of irony in all this since Wikia was founded by Jimmy Wales, whose Wikipedia nofollows links and generally portrays a negative image of blackhat/grayhat SEO, of which this is an example.

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  1. Interesting and yes it's a smart way to do it. That would be interesting to know if it raised the bounce rate. I would not say it's Blackhat in this case as even if the technique itself is, this kind of use is definitely not intended to Google, it's a question of appreciation I suppose.

    Comment by Mathias Philippe - November 5, 2012 @ 7:37am
  2. Good point - hadn't considered if it has an effect on bounce rate, but the answer is likely yes, though only a small effect. And you're right about the intent factor of course.

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - November 5, 2012 @ 10:45am

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