Avoid automatic redirection based on IP address

By Ilana Davis

I had hoped that after years of Google saying not to automatically redirect users based on their IP address, this issue would have gone away. Unfortunately, we still see automatic IP redirection and it's harming stores.

An IP address is a unique number assigned to a device that can identify a user's location. Think of it like a tracking number when you use the internet. Though IP geolocation is often used to detect a user's location, it's not always accurate.

As an example, someone visiting your site may be physically located in the US, but they don't speak English.

Although the issue can be language-related such as when a customer speaks Spanish but lands on an English site. The larger concern is with the price and currency shown for your products.

Google is located in the US and as such, most of their crawling and analysis comes from the US as well. They don't attempt to analyze your site from different locations.

Another example would be if your site's main location is Germany and you automatically redirect users based on their IP address. That means Google will likely view, index, and evaluate your USD landing page against your EUR-based product feed. This discrepancy will cause your product feed to be disapproved and potentially blocked from Merchant Center ads entirely.

Google doesn’t want you to use IP location to automatically adapt your content.

Do not use IP analysis to adapt your content. IP location analysis is difficult and generally not reliable. Furthermore, Google may not be able to crawl variations of your site properly. Most, but not all, Google crawls originate from the US, and we do not attempt to vary the location to detect site variations.

Use one of the explicit methods shown here (hreflang, alternate URLs, and explicit links).

@JohnMu twitter response - Googlebot will crawl from one location (often the US), and if you redirect it based on its location, Googlebot would only see (and index) that country version.  It's better to use something like a banner.

The proper solution is

  1. Turn off automatic IP detection. Allow users to select the currency that they wish to use with a drop-down or link, and
  2. Use unique URLs (e.g. au.example.com or example.com/au or example.com/en-au) that Google can access for each currency you support. Look at Shopify Markets International Domains.

This issue comes up a lot with Shopify stores using Merchant Center. JSON-LD for SEO can help to make sure your product feed, landing page, and structured data all match.


Get more organic search traffic from Google without having to fight for better rankings by utilizing search enhancements called Rich Results.

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