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Is changing the language of page titles based on the user’s IP considered cloaking?

Is changing the language of page titles based on the user’s IP considered cloaking? - answered by Matt Cutts

Matt's answer:

Today’s question comes from Mr. [? Kake ?] in Manchester. And Mr. [? Kake ?] wants to know, “Purely from a ranking point of view, is it worthwhile, using the visitor’s IP address, to change the title and heading of a page to the local language? Is this considered cloaking, and does Googlebot even have spiders that crawl from foreign IP addresses, anyway?” So Google does not, right now, have any crawling that happens from non-U.S. 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 an American, United States visitor would be. So treat us like you would treat a visitor using English in Internet Explorer or Firefox, or Chrome or Safari, the desktop version of those web browsers. So cloaking is showing different content to Google, or Googlebot, than you show to users. And geolocation is not cloaking. Because what geolocation does is it says, look at the IP address of the user, and if they’re coming from, say, France or the United Kingdom, show them the content, or translate it into the language that is relevant to a French or a UK IP address. So as long as you’re doing that consistently, and you’re not doing anything special or different for Googlebot, than geolocation is totally fine and you’re not cloaking. So a U.S. visitor comes, you show them a page, a Googlebot comes from a U.S. IP address, they see the same page. So Google, for example, does geolocation. Lots of people do geolocation. So if you want to try doing geolocation based on IP address and then showing, you know, that specific language, or showing the title from that specific language, that’s 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 very 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’re giving the same treatment to all the different users that you see, regardless of whether they come from search engines, or from a different IP address, or from, you know, 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. Hope that helps.

by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team


Original video: