I have a dynamic English language site. If a user views the site in the US (with a US IP address) some of the site's language is altered so that it make more sense to a US audience. Anywhere else, Australia, United Kingdom, etc. the site displays its default language.

When I Google Search my site from the UK the language from the US site appears in the snippet of information. I'm guessing it's because Google is crawling my site from within the US so it's only seeing the US language version.

Can I instruct the Google indexer on which site is the US version and which is the non-US version and have it display the correct language in its search results?

  • Are the two different language versions (US / Others) available on two different URLs? (Likewise, if a UK visitor is viewing the site in the US, is there any way they can view the non-US version?)
    – MrWhite
    Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 17:39
  • No. There is a single URL. The site looks at the IP address of the user, looks this up in a database, and returns a two-digit country code. If this is 'US', parts of the site are altered: some of the language and the date format.
    – user36528
    Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 21:15
  • @24ma13wg By "altered", do you mean dynamically, like with server-side scripting or includes? Or are users directed to static content that's been modified for each language?
    – dan
    Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 21:39
  • 1
    Altered by a server-side script (PHP).
    – user36528
    Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 22:14
  • Unfortunately, if both languages are on the same URL then this is not going to be possible. The URL is the unique key by which pages are indexed.
    – MrWhite
    Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 23:21

2 Answers 2


If you're using a server-side language like PHP to alter the content of the same URL served to users and bots based their IP address (i.e., geotargeting via IP delivery), search engines will index the content that is displayed to them based on where their bots crawl from. In the case of Google, its Googlebot mainly crawls from the U.S.

In order to accomplish separate indexing for each country/region, you would need to structure the site with country specific URLs, as covered here. Examples include:

au.example.com  |  example.com/au  (Australia)
uk.example.com  |  example.com/uk  (United Kingdom)
us.example.com  |  example.com/us  (United States)

As long as you continue to use IP delivery to serve the same URL with dynamic content, instead of URLs like above, search engines will continue to display whatever content they're served based on where they crawl from (most likely the U.S.).


Yes you can point Google to the correct version with the rel="alternate" hreflang="x" annotation in your HTML <head>

Google answers your question here: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/189077?hl=en&ref_topic=2370587

More info on optimizing multi-regional and multilingual sites here: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/182192?hl=en&ref_topic=2370587

Even if you do all this correctly, Google might not live up to your expectations every time. ;)

  • 1
    However, this does require the two language versions to be on distinct URLs. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case in this instance.
    – MrWhite
    Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 23:23

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