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We have some a business requirement that would allow one of websites to serve geo-targeted content on the same top-level domain.

My concern is if/or how Google penalizes this approach in terms of SEO.

So, let's say we have the following website www.example.com. I want to serve completely different content to users in the USA compared to that of Australian or Canadian visitors. We would allow for the users to switch the location they are presented to if they so wish (at their own preference).

I have found this video online https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=9&v=Z9SZCvgXak4 but mentions only redirecting users to each localised version.

  • @John Thanks, I missed that autocorrect changed it, I didn't intend for that, apologies. – grg Sep 24 '15 at 6:39
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I agree with Stephen, Each place with different content should have a a separate URL.

Matt Cutts generally suggest this for multi GEO targeted.

Well, I think you should look out on Godaddy website, they are using only one top level domain like yours, and redirect it's user to subdomains like in.godaddy.com and uk.goddady.com (So I suggest to use Subdomains if you don't want to use country level domains).

Google does not penalize your site for cloaking, because you are not serving different content to users and search spiders. You can also specify geo target location into Google Search Console(Yes Google allowed to add sub-directory like example.com/products/usa/ or google.com/products/au/ something like that,) and it will help Google, to understand your content more deeply.

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no problem. make sure, that users are clearly redirected to their location-oriented pages, and make sure too, that the content language matches the location. bots should be redirected on the same parameters, like the human visitors - in other case this could be notated as cloacking.

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Each place with different content should have a a separate URL.

Google won't put in place any penalties for serving different content to visitors from different countries, but doing so may confuse it. Googlebot crawls from various data centers around the world. You may end up serving different content to Googlebot different times it crawls. This could cause your rankings to fluctuate.

Google will also only ever see one copy of your content or the other at a time. The keywords on the version Googlebot didn't see last will not rank at all. That isn't ideal for SEO.

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