Guide to redirection and geolocation SEO

2 minutes

At Geo Targetly, one of our core services is to offer clients geo-based redirection. In most cases, our clients always ask the question ‘How is geo redirecting going to affect my geolocation SEO?’

A good mindset to have when tackling SEO from any perspective is 'Google evolves, Google is getting smarter, Google likes personalization because geo personalization Is a key factor is increasing conversion rate and user experience'. And the same holds true for geo based redirection.

In this article, we will discuss in detail how Google treats geo location based redirection and the guidelines you can follow to ensure minimal impacts on your SEO. Why do global and multi-national companies do geo based redirection?

Automatic geo redirection based on the visitor’s country, state or city can provide a big advantage for global or multi-national companies. This is primarily because it creates an improved browsing experience as visitors are instantly taken to pages that show content relevant to their location. It makes sense, I mean why doesn’t anyone want to see product pricing or available products in their country?

There are two parts to increasing sales 1) Increase the number of visitors to your website and 2) Increase the conversion rate of existing visitors. There has been a large focus on part 2) recently, increasing the conversion rate. This is primarily because this technique is virtually free as it makes use of existing resources on your site. Why spend tens of thousands of dollars getting traffic to your site when the conversion rate is low?

By now you must have seen plenty of big companies and global organisations including Google themselves who use geo based redirection to take visitors to local pages. For example if you type ‘’ in your browser from the UK, it will auto redirect you to ‘’. This is the simplest example of geo based redirection by Google themselves.


How does geo based redirection work?

Geo IP based redirection is the process of automatically redirecting a website visitor by their geolocation (country, state or city). It works by detecting the visitor’s location from their IP address by matching it against a database of IPs and locations.

Who else out there is doing geo based redirection?

Pretty much every global company:

  • - redirects to the country specific site:
  • - redirects to the country specific sub-page :
  • - redirects to the country specific sub-domain:
  • - The list goes on…

Google’s view on geo-based redirection and geolocation SEO

Here is a video from Matt Cutts (formerly head of webspam at Google) who states that geo based redirection is an accepted practice and is not spam. A key point to note in the video is how he mentioned to ensure you treat Google’s crawlers the same way as you would treat a visitor. i.e. don’t disable geo redirection for Google bots. As long as you treat Google the same way as you treat visitors, you will be totally fine.

Google’s locale aware - geo distributed crawling

This link from Google’s support pages talks about how Google utilizes location aware crawling.

Google’s mentions they will crawl your website from IP addresses based outside the USA in addition to the USA-based IP addresses. A critical point they make again is to ‘treat Google bot like you would treat any other user from that country’. So once again don’t try to prevent Google bot from recognizing your geo based redirection.

They also mention to ensure that robots exclusion protocol is consistent for every locale. This means that robots meta tags and the robots.txt file should specify the same directives in each locale.

Googles #1 Guideline – Treat Google Bot Like How You Would Treat Visitors

No matter how much you read about SEO from various sources and from Google itself, the number one key statement emphasized by Google is: ‘Treat Google bot like how you would treat your visitors’.

Google can carry our heavy penalization for showing different content to their bots and visitors. This is also known as ‘cloaking’ and can have severe negative impacts on your SEO.

Hence this statement should be your number one consideration when implementing geo-based redirection for your website.

You can read more about Google's view on cloaking here and watch the video below:

Help Google understand your location based website redirection by using the right SEO techniques

Google mentions that they don’t specifically send crawlers from various countries just to see how your website will look like. Hence it is critical to ensure you do everything you can to tell Google that you are a global or multi national company and have websites or pages that are targeted to specific locations.

The recommend signals Google use are below and can be found here

  • Google search console locale targeting
  • Country code top level domains or location specific URLs
  • Hreflang tags
  • Server location (not definitive)
  • Local content (presence of addresses, phone numbers, country names, currency)
  • Listing in Google My Business or other location specific directories
  • Backlinks from location specific pages

Google’s search console locale targeting

If you jump into Google’s search console previously known as Webmasters tools, you will notice an option that allows you to select a target country for your website. Please make use of this option as it tells Google where your primary audience is located.

If you run multiple country level domains such as, and then it is critical to ensure each of these domains are listed as an entity in Google’s search console and they are each targeted to the relevant country.

Using location specific URLs / pages targeted to each location

A key recommendation from Google is to use separate pages that contain the location specific content and have location specific URLs rather than a single page trying to dynamically display location based content.

The reason being, this provides the best ability for Google to crawl and understand each of these pages and individually list them in local search results.

Multiple sites with country level domains

f you are targeting different countries, it is always recommended to use county-specific top level domains (e.g.,, example .ca). This is the clearest way to tell Google that your website is targeted to a particular country. If you search from a particular country, the search results are almost certain to show preference to websites that have the country specific top level domain. You can then use geo IP based redirection to auto redirect visitors & Google’s crawlers across these country level domains.

Google will understand that each of your domains are targeted to a particular country and you are sending visitors to the correct country domain based on their location. If Google’s crawlers from the UK land on your site and gets redirected to, it makes perfect sense to Google that a UK visitor gets sent to the UK website.

Multiple sites with country subdomains

However, we understand that purchasing multiple country level domains can be difficult to execute and manage especially when they are not available. Using subdomains such as and is another way to execute country based separation.

Subdirectories within the same website

Many companies opt to go down this path as it is easier to manage a single website with a few location specific pages. Another reason for this method is to ‘hold’ all the geolocation SEO value to a single domain rather than spreading it across multiple domains or subdomains.

It is important to setup the subdirectories so that the country name appears just after the domain e.g. or This allows your pages to be ‘segregated’ in the URL structure which enables the country specific page subset to be entered as an entity in Google search console and thus applied with country based targeting option.

Handling duplicate content SEO issues with multiple URLs using the canonical element

One key concern is ‘great, I can create multiple pages easily but what about duplicate content’. Obviously you will get the best result if you can create unique content for each location specific URL. This maybe feasible if you have only a few location specific URLs, however what happens if you have many more?

The solution is to use the rel-canoical element to let Google know the preferred location specific URL. For example you may have,,, you should specific the canocial link as This will tell Google that is the original version and the rest are just variations.

You can read about the canonical element and how to use it appropriately from Google's support pages here.

Using local content on each location specific URL

Google ranks pages based on the content in the page. This is fundamental. Hence having location specific content such as country names, phone numbers, addresses, location specific keywords, languages are all going to help Google understand which location your page is targeted to.

Listing in Google My Business

Google provides business listings and this option maybe suitable for certain physical businesses. If you can take advantage of this, create a Google business page for each of your locations. This just provides one more way of telling Google where your website linked to this business is targeted to.

Hreflang tags

Language can be a very good indicator of which country a page is targeted to. If your website contains different languages then utilize hreflang tags as per Google’s guidelines to tell Google each variation of your page.

You can read more about hreflang tags and how to use it appropriately from Google's support pages here.

State & city based geo redirection and SEO

Most of what we have discusses has been with respect to country based geo redirection. However a surprising number of companies also use geo redirection on a state or city level. This is applicable to directory based websites such as real-estate listings, coupons/deals and even franchise based businesses that operate in multiple locations in a country.

When operating geo redirection within a country, caution must be taken as Google does not mention anything about state or city level-based crawling. Almost all of their guidelines are targeted towards country-based redirection.

Google also does not provide their exact state or city for their crawlers in each country so it is impossible to know where exactly the crawler is coming from within a country. We always advise if you are carrying out state or city based redirection, is to ensure you have location specific page URLs for each of these locations. This will allow Google to crawl each of these URLs, understand the content and display these results in local search engines.

For example if operate a plumbing business in multiple states, it is critical to have a page related to each of these states. If the state or city name is in the URL, Google’s ability to understand where this page is targeted to increases. Google is smart on a state & city level. If you look closely at Google search pages, they target your location down to city level and always attempt to show businesses closest to your location.

We also recommend not redirecting the main page of your site to the state base page.

Instead only redirect other pages such as your ‘About Us’, ‘Contact Us’ or product pages. This avoids the possibility of your main page from being recognized as a page belonging to a certain state or city. It is good to keep the main page as general as possible and for it to contain keywords of all the locations you serve.

Tips to improve your local search rankings

What else can you do to improve your local SEO? While hiring an agency like Loopex Digital can save you the hassle by handling everything, there are steps you can explore and take on your own.

Improving your local search rankings is crucial for several reasons, including enhanced search visibility, building credibility, and driving traffic to both your physical locations and website.

Imagine someone walking down the street, suddenly craving a good cup of coffee. They’ll probably take out their phone and type something like “ best coffee near me”. 

Now Google will show them some local cafeterias in the area. 

This leads us to additional important tips for improving your local search rankings we haven’t mentioned yet.

1. Optimize for mobile

Many searches, especially local ones, are conducted on mobile devices. Today, it's essential to have your website optimized for mobile, both in terms of usability and SEO.

2. Use schema markup

Another step to enhance your site’s visibility in local search results is implementing local schema markup for your business. This form of structured data communicates your website's local relevance to search engines.

3. Optimize for voice search

Bear in mind the increasing use of digital assistants like Siri and Google Home, which people frequently use for quick local searches. The content you create should incorporate natural, conversational queries, similar to those you'd use in a street conversation.

4. Create local content

Focus on topics that resonate with the local community, such as events, news, or local issues. Identifying the right local keywords enables you to address topics that align with your audience’s search behavior, instead of just adding the name of your city throughout your content. 

5. Include local link building

Acquire backlinks from reputable local websites, such as local news, community blogs, or business associations. These links act as strong signals to search engines, showcasing geographical relevance and credibility. 

6. Encourage customer reviews

Positive reviews on Google My Business have a solid impact on your reputation, signaling to potential customers and search engines that your services are trusted. They serve as user-generated content that increases your site’s relevance in local search queries. Don’t forget to respond to them!

7. Track your visibility

With proper on-page and off-page implementations, it's crucial to pay attention to your website's actual performance in Google Search.

Tracking the ranking positions of your web pages for the most crucial keywords can give insight into how you fare against your competitors.

To thoroughly track your website rankings, consider using tools like Mangools SERPWatcher, which enables you to measure your pages' positions within the search engine.

Moreover, regularly monitoring share of search within your industry will give you useful data about your local brand's popularity compared to other competitors in your area.

Still not convinced and don’t want to risk your geolocation SEO?

Don’t worry, there are alternatives if auto geo based redirection is not working for you. Many companies use geo based popups or geo based notification bars to prompt visitors to go to a local page. You can even go as far as using geo based links to post around the web or social media. Geo based links are smart location aware links that can take visitors to the correct website based on their location.

Ready to geo redirect your website?

If you ever need to discuss your website's SEO and how to ensure geo location based redirection will work for you, feel free to get in touch with us and we will be happy to have a chat.

Geo redirection & SEO resources

Below is a list of all resources used in the article along with others you may find useful:

Real stories of geo-targeting impact

William D.

Small Business

Feb 26, 2024

An Incredibly Handy Tool for Your International Customers

Geo targetly allows us to redirect our international customer to specific pages and make sure that they can get the right UX. It is very helpful when you have like us different currency to manage. Also it is very easy to implement on your Webflow website.

Michal C.


Aug 15, 2024

Geo Targetly Is a Great Option for My Multiple Shopify Sites

@GeoTargetly - Love this tool for global e-commerce redirects. I use it on several Shopify sites and love it. You can use one link and send people to different links based on their location and a ton of other stuff too.
#globalecom #ecommerce #shopifystore

Cheryl T.


Oct 4, 2021

It Is Very Easy to Use On Wix - the Help Articles Were Useful

We wanted to be able to segment certain landing pages for certain geographical locations and using the redirect page especially for our pricing pages was extremely helpful in helping us achieve this task. It has allowed us to target certain landing pages effectively.

Mainak G.


Nov 28, 2023

A Game Changer For Global Business

As the backbone of our emerging global approach, Geo targetly has been holding our back. It's hassle free, they transform your website in the most appropriate ways for different countries, tribes, localities. Besides top notch features customer support is amazing.

Chris T.

Managing Director

Jan 12, 2021

"Geo Redirects Made Easy" - Great Tool And Very Attentive Support

I really liked how easy it was to integrate the geo redirects into our Shopify website with a single block of code. The user interface also made it simple to define our business rules with regard to how we want users to be directed around our 3 sites.

Daan D.

Digital Marketing Manager

Oct 4, 2021

We Have Seen a Great Increase In Our Traffic

Very easy to set up and run. We use Geo Targetly to set up redirections for our specific geo based versions of our website. We have seen a great increase in our traffic and it has been a helpful addition to our tool stack. It's very useful and does what it says.

Start in just a few clicks

try 14 days free
Your Privacy

We uses cookies to improve your experience on our site, analyse site traffic and to show you relevant content. By using our website, you consent to our use of cookies. For more information please, see our Privacy Policy