I'm currently working on a US-based site that consists of the following:

  • National Landing Site (call this WWW, i.e. www.site.com)
  • 50 regional subdomains, one for each state (i.e. nevada.site.com, california.site.com)

WWW currently serves non-regional content while the regional content has state-specific information.

With this particular site, we're looking to redirect users with a GeoIP API (capture IP, convert to ZIP, associate ZIP to state, redirect user) to the appropriate regional subdomain. If we aren't able to assign the IP to a state for any reason (out of country, TOR, VPN), we will pass them through to the WWW version of the page and allow the user to enter their location (sending them to the correct regional site).

We plan to pass Googlebot through to the national site (utilizing GeoIP and User Agent data). Would Google consider this cloaking, or should we pass Googlebot through just like a regular user?


1 Answer 1


It is against Google's guidelines to treat their bot any different than a normal user, so if you are force redirecting users then you must force redirect Googlebot, obviously this creates the issue of Google only indexing one region and this is why many businesses a like Do not force redirect.

To comply with Google's guidelines but it will also improve your user experience because GEO IP isn't perfect, you should ask your visitors if they would like to go to region A or remain, similar to other websites like Dell, History Channel, WebMD etc.

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