We run a custom built e-commerce platform. We started in Canada and our main site was thus built to serve canadian buyers. When we expanded into the US, we added a /us sub-folder as an identifier. We need to serve different websites because prices and products are different across the two countries. We also set up GeoIP redirection - so visitors are automatically redirected to the appropriate site - i.e www.our-site.example for Canadians, and www.our-site.example/us/ for Americans.

This seemingly is having negative results on our SEO. We have the following setup: Two webmaster properties

  1. www.our-site.example for which the country selection in webmaster is Canada
  2. www.our-site.example/us for which the country selections is USA

We are serving them different sitemaps with the appropriate hreflang attributes. We also had hreflang set up on the site (but recently removed because you are not supposed to do both the sitemap and meta hreflang at the same time)

The issue we are seeing is that some of our major pages we are trying to rank for in Canada are showing the US version of the link on Google.

My questions are:

  1. What is the best practice for redirection and URL setup if default country is not US? This is specifically an issue because the Googlebot uses an US IP.
  2. How can I ensure US links do not show up on Canadian search results?

1 Answer 1


You need to let Googlebot crawl all your sites regardless of what country the crawler is based in. Once you disable the IP redirects for Googlobot, then Google will be able to see all your hreflangs and show the correct content to users in the Google search engine.

Googlebot does most of its crawling from the US and right now, you are likely redirecting Googlebot to your US site. Googlebot doesn't have separate crawlers from separate countries, so it tries to treat every URL as global unless it sees a hreflang on the page. You need to let the US Googlebot browse you Canada site as well as your US site.

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