Matt Cutts: Is redirecting users based on their location spam?






Video transcription

Today’s question comes from Peter.
Peter asks, “Using geo-detection techniques is against Google, I am offering the useful information–price–to the users based on the geo-location.Will Google consider this as spam? That is, showing X content to search engines and Y content to users.”
So I’ve said this before, but let me just reiterate.Geo-location is not spam.
As long as you’re showing someone’s coming in from a French IP address, let’s redirect them to the French version of my page or the French domain for my business, that’s totally fine.
Someone comes in from a German IP address, I’ll redirect them over to the German version of my page.That’s totally fine.

The thing that I would do is make sure that you don’t treat search engines any differently than a regular user.So if Googlebot comes in, you check the IP address. Imagine we’re coming from the United States.
Just redirect Googlebot to the United States version of your page or the dot com, whatever it is that you would serve regular United States users.So geo-location is not spam.
Google does it whenever users come in, we send them to what we think is the most appropriate page based on a lot of different signals, but usually the IP address of the actual user.
So the last part of the question was showing X content to search engines and Y content to users. So that is cloaking.

That’s showing different content to Google than to users. And that is something that I would be very careful about.But as long as you’re treating Googlebot just like every other user, whatever IP address they come from in your geo-locating, as long as you don’t have special code that looks for the user agent of Googlebot or special code that looks for the IP address of Googlebot and you just treat Googlebot exactly like you treat a visitor from whatever country we’re coming from, then you’ll be totally fine.Because you’re not cloaking.
You’re not doing anything different for Google.You’re doing the exact same thing for Google that you would do for any other visitor coming from that IP address.
As long as you handle it that way, you’ll be in good shape.You won’t be cloaking.You’ll be able to return nicely geo-located pages for Google and for search engines without any risk whatsoever.

Quick Answer: No, provided it’s for a legitimate purpose.

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