Sorry this site requires JavaScript to be enabled in your browser. See the following guide on How to enable JavaScript in Internet Explorer, Netscape, Firefox and Safari. Alternatively you may be blocking JavaScript with an advert-related or developer plugin. Please check your browser plugins.

Blocking all users outside of the US from being able to see your site would likely be considered cloaking and would be against our Webmaster Guidelines (JohnMu) ......

Wow, now I can’t even control who I let in to my house without Google having a say in it??
Comments11 Comments  

Comments

Avatar
from Feydakin 2311 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I think that we can assume why this statement was made.. It would affect the "quality" of Google’s search results because they might present an end searcher with results that they can’t actually get to.. It doesn’t matter how it affects the websites in question, blocking spam - controlling access to retail sites with limited shipping options - or even stopping rogue bots, that is irrelevant.. What matters is how it affects Google..

Avatar
from advancedbourland 2311 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Not to sound like an SE noob, but I am sick and tired of all the ways we have to bow to the GOOG and code this or that... and it can sometimes get in the way usability either for users or the site owners. If you can only handle so much bandwidth and someone is making your load so much that you are down for legitimate visitors I think that should be [allowed to be] more of a concern than whether it’s viewed as cloaking by Google or not.

Avatar
from Hamburglar 2311 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Does Google have any claim to the high road on this one, considering their participation in the Great Firewall of China?

Avatar
from randfish 2311 Days ago #
Votes: -1

Conceptually, you could just cloak to solve this issue. Show all users who come from outside the US and don’t accept cookies (which rogue bots almost never do) a 301 loop (or something equally troublesome) and show users who do take cookies, along with all US/Canada/whatever country you like the right content.Then, if you need to be really clean, you could also cloak with the Google SERPs referral string, so if a path came from search results (Google’s or anyone else’s), you could let that visitor through. It would take a very smart bot to figure out how to get around parameters like that, and I’m guessing if you spent a little more time thinking through this, you could come up with some really smart ways to do it that wouldn’t get you in trouble.

Avatar
from g1smd 2311 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I have blocked whole chunks of Asia for some sites; where 100% of the traffic from those areas was just scrapers, rogue bots, and attempted hacks.For once I am not going to comply with what  Google  wants. In this case, they are out of order; however I have changed the response from "403" to an "Under Construction" page.

Avatar
from Feydakin 2311 Days ago #
Votes: 0

But Rand, why should we have to jump through all of those hoops just to keep our sites and servers safe and keep Google happy at the same time?? It’s things like this that make me glad Google is such a  small percentage of my traffic..

Avatar
from iBrian 2310 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Asian IP’s love to spam UGC sites.Therefore I’ve started blocking Asian traffic from my UGC sites which should have no relevance to an Asian audience.For example, if you run a forum discussing personal finance in the UK, the *main* reason you get someone from Asia turning up and posting is to spam your site. Funnily enough, Asian spammers love to use GMail as their sin-up ID’s. Perhaps if Google and other free email providers were to help clean up their own back yard, we would have less reason to block parts of the internet.2c.

Avatar Administrator
from dannysullivan 2310 Days ago #
Votes: 0

"Conceptually, you could just cloak to solve this issue."Well, that doesn’t solve it. I mean, Google’s saying that blocking might be cloaking -- so the only reason you wouldn’t block is to avoid cloaking. To then say you could cloak to solve it, that’s right back where you started.If you mean geolocate, IE show users from different countries different things, sure, that would work. Google’s not going to call that cloaking of course. That’s what my whole The Long Road To The Debate Over "White Hat Cloaking" post was about.Frankly, if you’re blocking certain countries, I’d say that already comes under geolocation and so Google is wrong to say it would be cloaking (and they did say "might be" not definitely is). I get blocked all the time by US TV sites, as my Showtime’s Web Site: For US Eyes Only covers. But hey, if Google wants to ban Showtime for doing that, sweet revenge.

Avatar
from netmeg 2310 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Bleah.  One of my sites lists all the community fireworks displays for my state.  There’s very little reason for anyone outside the US to come to my site, but because of the subject matter, I typically get a lot of traffic and consequently, unsolicited email, from China wanting to sell me fireworks.  So we blocked some of the most persistent visitors.  And damned if I’m going to let them back in.  It just makes no sense.

Avatar Administrator
from dannysullivan 2310 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Heard from Google. "As long as the web server always blocks IPs from (say) Africa, it’s not doing anything special/different for Googlebot, and so it wouldn’t be considered cloaking, but geolocation instead."

Avatar
from MattCutts 2310 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Yup, what Danny said. The downside of doing a lot more talking to webmasters and site owners is that sometimes we’ll misspeak, but I’d much rather have that problem and sometimes need to clarify than not be talking to webmasters as much.<div></div><div>Barry, thanks for highlighting this, and JohnMu, thanks for always being willing to answer questions in the Google webmaster discussion group. </div>

Upcoming Conferences

Search Marketing ExpoSearch Engine Land produces SMX, the Search Marketing Expo conference series. SMX events deliver the most comprehensive educational and networking experiences - whether you're just starting in search marketing or you're a seasoned expert.



Join us at an upcoming SMX event: