Geo-Location Targeting Extensions - What Matt Cutts Has to Say?

Geo location targeting includes detecting visitor's IP addresses and redirecting them to appropriate stores e.g. in Magento you can create different store views for different languages. By using Geo Location extensions you can then perform following:
  • Automatically redirect visitors to the correct store view such as French users to French store view.
  • Automatically change the currency of visitors e.g. Pounds for UK visitors.
  • Detect visitors IP addresses and filter their access to your website such as banning visitors from specific countries.

If you are well versed in search engine optimization then you may start thinking about the concept of cloaking, which is a grave sin to do in SEO. You may think about what the following user asks Matt Cutts, the head of Google's web spam team:

Using geo-detection techniques is against Google, I am offering the useful information (price, USPs) to the users based on the geo-location. Will Google consider this as spam? i.e. showing X content to search engines and Y content to users.

Here is the answer by Matt Cutts on Geo detection and auto redirecting:

Geo-location is not spam. As long as you’re showing, ‘Oh, someone’s coming from a French IP address, let’s redirect them to the French version of my page or the French domain for my business,’ that’s totally fine. Someone comes in from a German IP address, I’ll redirect them over to the German version of my page – that’s totally fine. The thing that I would do is make sure that you don’t treat search engines any differently than a regular user. So if Googlebot comes in, you check the IP address, imagine that we’re coming from the United States, just redirect Googlebot to the United States version of your page or the .com, – whatever it is that you would serve to regular United States users. So geo-location is not spam. Google does it.

Whenever users come in, we send them to what we think is the most appropriate page based on a lot of different signals, but usually the IP address of the actual user.

He talks about the last part of the question (the X content to search engines and Y content to users part) and says, it is cloaking, and is something he would be “very careful about.

So it is safe and sound to use Geo Location Magento Extensions. If you have any questions please feel free to ask.