I know what you’re thinking—sounds like spam, but I’m actually talking about the opposite of cloaking.
Instead of showing text to SE to try to rank with text that’s hidden from users I have pieces of text on a page that I DON’T want to rank for at all, but I want users to be able to see.
I know I could noindex the whole page, but that’s not very fine grained.
It is risky to show different page content to the search engines as opposed to regular users even if your intent is not to deceive the search engines for higher rankings.
That being said, if you are aware of the risks, then you could always check for the user agent in your code, and if you determine it is a search engine then you would not include the content you want to hide from the search engines.
Thanks. I decided not to display the content to the most common bot UAs because the amount of this content is so small. It’s really just links to the full page, but I don’t want the anchor text being picked up.