Is Div replacement considered by Google as cloaking?

By | July 9, 2007

hidding your content from Google
I was reading the post from Google Webmaster Central (link via FlashEnabled), about the best uses of Flash.
Someone (Jason) commented that the was to use JavaScript (SWFObject) to make the Div replacement, another one warned him about the danger as being considered as cloaking by the Google Bot.

Personally I used this technique in most of my web projects were I had to handle Flash. By now I never saw one of my website being consider as doing cloaking, I can’t imagine a bot reading JavaScript files (as all my JavaScript are loaded by another a JavaScript function), and I really don’t think that Google would humanly verify that the content of a Div differ from the Flash…

Use of Javascript is an entirely legitimate web practice. However, use of Javascript with the intent to deceive search engines is not. For instance, placing different text in Javascript than in a noscript tag violates our webmaster guidelines because it displays different content for users (who see the Javascript-based text) than for search engines (which see the noscript-based text). Along those lines, it violates the webmaster guidelines to embed a link in Javascript that redirects the user to a different page with the intent to show the user a different page than the search engine sees. When a redirect link is embedded in Javascript, the search engine indexes the original page rather than following the link, whereas users are taken to the redirect target. Like cloaking, this practice is deceptive because it displays different content to users and to Googlebot, and can take a visitor somewhere other than where they intended to go.
Google Help:Cloaking, sneaky Javascript redirects, and doorway pages

So I guess until Google can understand Flash we mustn’t ask ourselves too much useless questions, simply use the best method: JS!
Anyway, even Google use Flash and AJAX, have anyone tried to use Google Analytics without JS enabled: it’s simply not working (and there is not even a noscript tag …), which simply bring us to this simple conclusion, not all your Flash content need to be understood by Google.

Had anyone been out of Google by using the Div replacement?


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