We were doing some research into the aggressive tactics of the lead gen world recently and found a site ranking on page one with cloaked keyword stuffed content. It’s working so well for them that they rank at #3 for “pay day loan”. Unfortunately for the City of Marietta Ohio, it’s their site that is ranking. It appears that their installation of Joomla was hacked and about 400 of their pages have had payday-related words injected and their content cloaked. Visiting the site directly or by clicking the link in Google doesn’t reveal the payday-specific text because the site is cloaking that content to Google only. You have to look at Google’s cache of the page to see the injected text. If you think about it, it’s a worthless effort because none of the traffic brought by the payday listing is converting because the links to the lead gen site are all in the cloaked content, therefore not seen by the users that the cloaking is attracting in the first place.
This is such an egregious instance of cloaking and keyword stuffing that I’m amazed Google is listing it. If this tactic works, even for a short time, it will be profitable for people like this payday lead gen person. Google, in all their sophistication, still can’t stop these old-school black hat tactics.