What is URL Cloaking?

There are differences between simple “URL redirection” and “URL cloaking” or masking, they both exist to send both users and search engines to a different web page than the one they originally requested. Applying the right technique in the right case will be extremely useful. So, How to properly use those techniques?

There are about three different types of URL Redirection:
301, “Moved Permanently”—recommended for SEO
302, “Found” or “Moved Temporarily”
Meta Refresh—recommended for SEO

Usually, URL Redirection useful when the page requested is unavailable or has been moved somewhere else.

Another case digital marketer will relate to and find it life-saving. When running a campaign to generate a visitor using a variety of channels. they would want an easy tool to redirect a partition of the traffic or all of it. to split test different factors to optimize their campaigns or funnel.

You can make redirection using JavaScript, PHP, HTML, DNS, Apache Rules.

When using simple URL redirect. Search Engine and User will be able to see the chain of redirection from where it started till the end. You can run a tracing test and see how it works. (Online tool http://wheregoes.com/)

URL Cloaking: is a link disguising from bots and/or humans by hiding the actual link behind the original one. Commonly used to hide sensitive information on the URL, like IDs, Code, Source.

Affiliate Marketing is sort of a special case where there are several other reasons that people want to cloak their affiliate links.

Instead of having your affiliate link to Wal-Mart.com’s grills look like this:

http://linksynergy.walmart.com/fs-bin/click?id=Qw52BwgCHiY&offerid=130155.10024349&type=3&subid=0

You can cloak it to look like something like this:

http://myownurl.com/wallmart-grills

Why Would You Want to Cloak Links?

It’s a consumer-friendly practice.
A URL that contains the merchant’s name makes it more comfortable for consumers to click on the link.

To hide the affiliate’s identity.
Cloaked links can hide unsavory search marketing tactics and keywords from you, the merchant.

To protect against commission hijacking.
Some affiliates worry that spyware running on a consumer’s machine will replace their affiliate ID with the ID of another affiliate, thus hijacking their commissions.

To boost the quality score.
Google doesn’t seem to like affiliates very much which is very apparent in the low-quality scores of many affiliate ads. Think about a landing page with nothing but ads and affiliate links that take the consumer from an AdWords listing to a landing page and then immediately through an affiliate link. Cloaking the affiliate link is a method used to beef up the quality score in this scenario.

Tracking.
It is easier for the affiliate to track clicks and visitors when using its own URL.

Conclusion:
Redirecting technique is necessary for traffic measurement and optimization on the web. The URL redirection without cloaking will serve any purpose effectively whether it’s tracking or measurement or geo redirect. It’s highly recommended and it is SEO friendly.

For affiliate marketers and those who have sensitive details on their link. Cloaking is the best way to protect and secure your link form click/conversion hijacking.

ClickGum is an advanced tracking tool. You can easily create a redirection for partition of traffic or all of it, based on location, a device using your own brand costume domains. For affiliate marketer and solo ads runner will have the option to cloak the link and 100% hide it origin and information.

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