SEO Tip #119: Is Changing The Language Of A Page Titles Based On An IP Address Considered Cloaking?

And does Google have a spider to even crawl from foreign IP addresses anyway?

Matt Cutts: Google does not, right now, crawl any non US IP addresses so that’s one thing to know about. Right now we only crawl from the United States. And so we want to be treated just like a American United States visitor would be so treat us like you would a visitor using English, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and the desktop versions of those web browsers.

Cloaking is showing different content to Googlebot than you show to users and geo location is not cloaking. What geo location does is looks at the IP address of the user and if they are coming from France and the United Kingdom and translates it into the language that is relevant to French or UK IP address.

As long as you are doing that consistently and you are not doing anything special or different for Googlebot then geo location is totally fine and you’re not cloaking. So, a US visitor comes and you show them a page and a Googlebot comes for a US IP address and they see the same page.

Google does geo location. A lot of people do geo locations so if you want to try doing geo location based on IP address and then showing that specific language or showing the title of that specific language that is completely fine.

The only thing where you really need to start worrying about cloaking is if you look through your code, and this is really a good litmus test, is to say are you doing something really special for Googlebot as a user agent or Googlebot IP address range?

If you’re not doing anything special for Google in those regards then for the most part you should be in good shape because you are giving the same treatment for all the different users you see regardless if they come from search engines, a different IP address, mobile, or whatever it is.

It’s just as long as you serve Google the same content that a regular user would see then you should be in pretty good shape. I hope that helps.

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About the Author

Andy Johnson

Andy Johnson has been on the Internet since the its dawn(ie his first computer program was recorded on cassette tape) and his first hard drive cost about as much his current MacBook. His first byline was in 1993 for a local newspaper rag he eventually helmed, and his last “real job” was at a computer start up which ended when it ended. Throughout it all he’s freelanced and blogged. Now he is mesmerized by Search Engine Optimization forever trying to “rise to the top” for the right reasons. He’s been married to his wife Julia for as long as he can remember and has two lovely, wonderful children. He looks forward to sharing the latest in the technical best for all the online entrepreneurs.