Don’t automatically redirect users based on their IP


I’ve touched on this before but it’s worth a post on its own as I still keep seeing this and not only is automatically redirecting users to the version you think they should be on very annoying, it can also create huge problems for search engines as they may not be able to access all of your content.

Therefore, say I’m in the UK and I access a website that it set up for international traffic. The website automatically redirects me to the UK version of the site, maybe with pricing in GBP. This is what I probably want to see as I’m in the UK. Now, say someone in the US tries to access the UK website but then gets automatically redirected back to the US version, with pricing in USD. It’s probably the correct version of the website for that user, but here’s where the problems begin.

Google’s crawler, Googlebot, mostly crawls from the US. It means that if Googlebot tries to access the UK website, it will automatically be redirected to the US version instead. In other words, Google cannot crawl, index or rank the UK website as it can’t see it.

It’s best to ask users what version of the website they would like to go to. Don’t assume that just because they are in a certain country that they want the local variant, or even worse, assume that they speak the local language. So, always ask, never presume!

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