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Published Tue, Nov 26th 2013

Matt Cutts - Geolocation Techniques Not a Spam if Used the Right Way

As everybody is aware of the fact that the basic rule of SEO is to ensure that you dole out the same content to the Google Bots that you dole out to the end users.

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Several years ago this technique was considered to be as spam wherein one version of the webpage would be visible to the Google Bots but when the webpage is loaded to the end users it would show them completely a different version. Thus if in case you are making use of Geo Targeting techniques so as to provide the end users with country specific or region specific content in that case how are you going to handle it is the foremost questions that hinders the mind? To ease out the confusion and answer this questions Matt Cutts discussed the solution to it in the latest webmaster help video by giving a detailed explanation on how actually geo targeting targeting technique can be employed by various Webmasters so that they do not end up being penalized in terms of the Google perspective.

How to deal with Geo Location Technique?

As the Webmasters already know that making use of geo detection technique is thought out to be a spam mechanism in terms of Google then how to deal with it such that you do not have to pay a penalty when showing content X to the SE and content Y to the end user. Matt Cutt’s starts his explanation by stating that Geolocation will not be considered as a Spam Mechanism till the time you are directing a person coming from a German IP address to the German Version of your webpage or directing a person coming from France IP address to the French version of your webpage. Further to this he added that the webmasters should not consider Google Bot as any other different user than the ordinary end user who visits their website.

Detailed Explanation by Matt Cutts on Using Geo Location Technique

Matt Cutt’s explains this through an example by saying that if Google Bot comes in to visit your website then you should check the IP address of the Bot just like in case you would do it with any end user and simple redirect the Bot to the United States version of the webpage in case the Bot is coming from the US IP address and definitely this kind of Geolocation is not considered as Spam in terms of Google. Cutts adds to it by saying that Google will treat the traffic differently depending on Geolocation thus if a user comes in Google will send the user to the webpage which they think is most appropriate page depending on various factors however generally Google considers the IP address o the user.

When coming to the gray area i.e. when it is about displaying different content version to Google Bot and the End Users Matt Cutts says that if you are displaying one version of content to the end user and altogether a different version to the Google Bot then this is considered as Cloaking and one needs to be pretty careful about this.

Geo Location Technique Not a Spam

He says that you are totally fine in case you are treating Google Bot just like any other end user and redirecting them based on the IP address they come from. It is ok as long as you do not make use of any special code which will search for the user agent of the Google Bot or any special code that will identify the Google Bot. This is fine for the reason that you are not cloaking or hiding anything from Google and treating the Bot just like the way you are treating any other visitor coming from that IP address. As long as you are handling geo location in this manner it is well and good as you are presenting geo located pages in a nice manner to the search engines and the end users devoid of any risk.

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