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We are an Indian company and have an online store. We sell in India as well as abroad. The products are sold at different prices in India and abroad and there are two site versions for Indian prices and International prices as www.example.com and www.example.com/international/ respectively.

URLs of both versions are submitted to Google and IP based redirection is applied through PHP code to all URLs of both types as below:

  • If a URL www.example.com/international/xyz-123.html is opened in India then it redirects to www.example.com/xyz-123.html

  • If a URL www.example.com/xyz-123.html is opened in a country outside India then it redirects to www.example.com/international/xyz-123.html

Now we know that if URL A redirects to URL B then Google Indexes URL B.

Given the above rule we understand that:

  • when www.example.com/xyz-123.html is crawled by Google say in US, it will redirect it to www.example.com/international/xyz-123.html and this will get indexed instead of www.example.com/xyz-123.html.

  • When www.example.com/international/xyz-123.html is crawled by Google in India, it will redirect it to www.example.com/xyz-123.html and this will get indexed instead of www.example.com/international/xyz-123.html

Will the above scenario eventually lead Google to index both www.example.com/xyz-123.html and www.example.com/international/xyz-123.html or will Google not index either of the URLs?

  • I am not 100% sure, but if you create a sitemap for all language mutations, with correct country code. Also, specify the default pages. Google Search will be able to serve automatically correct links based on localization. – Martin Jinda Jan 3 at 12:31
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Your indexing is going to be spotty. Google may index some of both sites. It will index mostly your international site because Google does most of its crawling from the US.

Auto-redirection based on geo-IP address or the Accept-Language header hurts SEO. If you want good SEO, you can't use redirects. Google crawls from all over the world. It expects to be able to access the international site from India and the India site from the rest of the world. Pages will fall out of the index when Googlebot gets redirects.

If you use IP detection, instead of using a redirect, you can put a notice on the site saying "You look like you are in India, click here to use the India website with pricing in Indian currency." Instead of IP address detection, you can also use the Accept-Language header which is sent by browsers, or browser features that allow you to access the users location. But again, don't issue redirects.

Even for users, redirects are not good:

  • Geo IP databases are inaccurate. Up to 10% of users could be identified as being in the wrong location.
  • People travel. Just because somebody is currently in a location, it doesn't mean that you can always make the right choice for them.
  • The Accept-Language header is usually not customized by the user. The default is usually based on the language of the browser that is installed. The country may be totally incorrect. Even the language may be wrong because browser downloads tend to default to English.
  • Users may use VPNs and proxy servers.
  • Many users won't grant your site permission to use their location data.

Because of these problems, it is better to give the user a notice and let them make their own decision.

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  • Part of the value of having both pages indexed separately (when you don't have a redirect) is that the appropriate price can be shown in the search results, and that the products can be shown in product search (assuming you have suitable products). – John Mueller Jan 8 at 8:54
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It's not certain that Google would index the redirect, it would depend a lot on the canonical URL that is set up on both pages.

In your scenario, this is a single site with a folder holding the International variation of product pages existing on the site.

You're going to want to provide a canonical on both of the pages specifying which URL the crawler should take as primary. My assumption is that it would be the non-international version.

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  • Can you also specify if the content on the two page variations are in different languages, other than the currency difference? And are the duplicated content? (in which case you're going to want that canonical) – LordDarthsidious Jan 3 at 14:29
  • That is the solution but it won't work for us as we have already defined Canonicals for a bunch of URLs. If we go by this solution then those pages would have two Canonicals which would confuse Google and then they wouldn't index either. – Krishan Jan 4 at 14:25

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