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A friend of mine wants to build a website, but doesn't want people in the West Midlands area of the UK to be able to see it, but wants areas outside of the West Midlands to be able to see it.

Is this possible? I know SEO can be used to target specific countries to improve search results, but could it be used to target specific areas inside a country and to basically remove the website from Google listings for a specific area?


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It's not a perfect solution, but you might try a geolocation database to block requests from specific regions (or serve alternate content). More information: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geolocation – danlefree Feb 9 '11 at 13:42
You should make that an answer instead of a comment – John Conde Feb 9 '11 at 14:08
up vote 3 down vote accepted

You can't reliably and effectively block a specific region from viewing a website. The way the Internet works there is no definitive way to say a visitor is from a specific geographic location. The best you can do is to use Geolocation to try to determine their location and then ban them if they meet a predetermined criteria. Unfortunately this is not reliable and you not only will it still allow some restricted users through but also block users who should be able to get through. Basically this won't work in a reasonable way and shouldn't be considered doable.

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This is what I thought, but thought there might have been a way! I will try the Geolocation option and see how I get on with it. Thanks for the answer! – mickburkejnr Feb 9 '11 at 14:50

You could host the website in another country and/or on a different countries domain name -- that might at least discourage Google from including it in local or "UK search". There's no way of keeping the site from just West Midlands however.

The geo-blocking suggestions above are probably your best bet but they can suffer from both false positives and false negatives.

I think the strategy is flawed. You should consider the Streisand Effect before attempting to hide anything on the web.

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You can use the robots.txt protocol to optimize your site for invisibility with major search engines, but (so far as I am aware) there is no way to restrict this facility by region.

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