An SEO professional was curious about location based SEO, and how Google Search performs searches.
They have a client that operates in only a handful of states. Right now, when you go to their home page, the state that they are headquartered in, it’s mentioned loud and clear.
Basically, you know they are in that particular state.
However, the client now thinks that perhaps visitors from other states will feel left out when they come to the home page.
To rectify this, their conversion team had an idea to create localized landing pages.
However, they want to automatically redirect the user from that home page to the specific state page using dynamic Geo IP redirection.
The state pages are the same homepage, just with that specific state, to better show their ideas. The SEO pro was curious about the SEO implications of following this kind of process.
John explained that there are several things to keep in mind here. On one hand, for Google search, they will generally crawl from their servers that are mapped back to California.
What that would mean is that the content they can look at would be content that’s more specific to California.
They would not have access to any content from the other states.
Depending on the kind of content you have for other states, it might be okay. But, it could also be problematic.
He also believes that Geo IP redirects, or dynamically swapping out the localized content, is something that throws people off in terms of how it will look like where it is from.
If you index the individual state landing pages, then the state landing page that someone from California would go to would also be noindexed, which would mean that your homepage will drop out of the search results.
This would be a bad thing.
John’s general recommendation for these types of situations is: instead of redirecting automatically to a specific location, you want to make it so the user can find that content easier.
Something like a dynamic banner on a page when the user goes to the homepage is a great way to implement this, he says.
When the user goes to the homepage, there could be a dynamic banner on top that recognizes the state you’re visiting from, for example Texas. And the company may have an office in Texas.
There’s then information to click on the link to find out more, etc.
This way, the user has the ability to go to these individual pages.
That way, instead of having separate state landing pages, you would have your general home page, and then the state-specific information dynamically swapped out.
This happens at approximately the 14:17 mark in the video.
John Mueller Hangout Transcript
SEO Professional 4 14:17
Hi, can you hear me? Yes. Great. So I’m in SEO, and I was given this question, and I want to provide the best possible answer. I’ve got a client that operates in only a handful of states.
And right now when you go to the homepage, the the state that they’re headquartered in is, is loud and clear, you know that they’re in that state, but then they feel like it’s leaving the other states out when they come to the page.
So the conversion team has an idea to create state landing pages. But they want to automatically redirect the user when they come to the home page to that state page. So a dynamic Geo IP redirection.
And then since those state pages are essentially the same homepage, just with that state showcased better, their idea is to no index these state pages. And I now have a tight ball in my stomach about this whole idea, and they want to know the SEO implications of doing so.
Okay. So I think there are a few things to kind of keep in mind there. On the one hand, Google for search, we generally just crawl from one location. And probably for most systems, that would map back to California. And essentially, what that would mean is that the content that we can look at would be the content for California.
And we would not have access to the content for the other states, which, depending on what kind of content you have there for the other states, we like, that might be okay, but it might be problematic. So that’s kind of the first thing to keep in mind is like, probably, it will look like when you search for your company, it’ll look like oh, this is purely in California, or maybe even in San Francisco, I don’t know how the IP addresses would map there.
So I think that’s something that often throws people off, especially with Geo IP redirects, or dynamically swapping the content. The other thing is, if you noindex the individual’s state landing pages, then, of course, the state landing page that someone from California would go to would also be noindexed, which would basically mean that your homepage would drop out of the search results. So that would be a pretty bad thing.
My general recommendation for these kinds of situations is, instead of redirecting automatically to a specific location, to make it so that the user can find that content much easier. So something like a dynamic banner on a page, when the user goes to the homepage, there’s like a banner on top, it says, oh, it looks like you’re in Texas. And we have an office in Texas. And here’s the information and click this link to find out more.
And that way, the user has the ability to go to these individual pages. And ideally, those individual pages would also be indexable. Because that way, if someone looks for your company name plus the state name, they would be able to find that landing page, which would be essentially ideal. The other approach that you could take is to swap out some of the content dynamically on the homepage.
So instead of having separate state landing pages, you have kind of your general homepage, and you have that state specific information dynamically swapped out. The important part here is to make sure that overall, that homepage still has enough generic content, so that it doesn’t come across as like everything is for California, but rather, like this is lots of information about your business.
And since it looks like you’re in California, here’s specific information for California, or whatever state that you’re in. So those are generally the two directions that we recommend there. With regards to the individual state landing pages, for a handful of versions, we wouldn’t really see that as being problematic. If you had landing pages for every city in every state, then that would start looking a little bit iffy for our web spam algorithms. But like if you’re talking about a handful of states, or like I don’t know, maybe even all states, it’s something where you have 50 different versions of the homepage with your local address with phone numbers, opening hours, kind of that additional local information on them. From our point of view, that’s generally fine.