Most Internet users are aware that their devices used to surf the web are assigned an IP address. Websites can read this IP address whenever the user visits their pages. Using geolocation data, websites can translate the IP to location data such as country, state and city. However, IP geolocation might be inaccurate because the IP mapping is an approximation of location, not 100% accurate. IP geolocation can provide around 95%-98% accuracy.
Once websites can determine the visitor’s geolocation, it is possible to redirect them to different pages based on their country or state or city. Such personalization gives a more familiar and localized browsing experience to the website visitors.
How does IP redirection work with geolocation?
IP geolocation data is easily available from various providers such as IP2Location. Website operators can just query the geolocation for the IP address of their visitors. After getting the geolocation info, the website can choose to block users or redirect users on various pages.
Blogs such as WordPress have a multitude of plugins that can be configured to provide redirection based on IP geolocation. Online shopping platforms like Shopify, PrestaShop, OpenCart, Magento and much more also have plugins that perform similar tasks. Website developers can choose to write their own codes to query for the geolocation info then perform whatever task they need such as redirections.
Type of redirections
There are a few types of page redirections used by websites.
A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect. It is used whenever a page no longer exists at the specified URL and needs to be rerouted to the new URL. It is good for SEO as it tells search engines that the URL has been permanently moved.
302 redirection is commonly used for temporary redirection as part of IP redirection by geolocation. It is used when your page is under maintenance or when you want to carry out the A/B testing for new website design. For the purpose of IP redirection, the 302 redirection makes the most sense from a search engine indexing point of view.
URL frame redirection
It is used when the website developers don’t want the users to see which page they are actually looking at. The visitors will keep seeing the same URL in the browser even though the page URL has changed inside a frame. For better SEO, it is not recommended to use this method as the same content found on two separate URLs cause duplicate content.
This method works on the client side. The browser reads the meta refresh tag and redirects the user to the specified URL after a set time. However, it is not recommended as an SEO technique due to its poor usability and the loss of link equity passed.
Benefits of IP redirection
Being able to use geolocation means that websites can customize their contents to better cater to visitors from various regions. For instance, online shopping portals can display prices of items in the local currency; this makes life easier for buyers as they don’t have to calculate the foreign exchange rate.
It is easy to assume that everyone understands the same language. However, many parts of the world may speak a different language such as Spanish or Mandarin. Websites that can redirect users to pages with contents in the local language will definitely make the visitor feel more welcomed.
IP geolocation redirection can be used to limit products and services to only regions where they are available. Marketing campaigns can use geolocation in their landing pages to perform IP redirection to localized promotions.
When used correctly, IP redirection can boost visitor traffic and increase sales conversion.
Potential issues with Google SEO when using IP redirection
The main issue with Google SEO is when the IP redirected page is not indexed properly. This can happen when redirection rules do no cater to US-based IP addresses.
Google Search Engine bots are primarily US-based; hence geolocation redirection needs to take that into account. Using country-specific URLs often help with this common issue.
E.g., https://example.com.my or https://example.com/my/
How to implement redirection using the IP2Location plugins
IP redirection may seems a bit difficult when you start everything by scratch. No worries, there are lots of free and ready made plugins to help you with. You just have to download the redirection plugin and install it in your store. Then, adjust the settings to fit your business needs. You are all set and ready to go.
For users on the Shopify platform, you can utilize the IP2Location Redirector plugin to easily achieve redirection on their online stores.
Meanwhile, blog users on WordPress, can install the IP2Location Redirection plugin to enable IP redirection on their blog pages.
It does not matter how IP redirection is implemented. Websites can write their own custom codes easily using geolocation databases or APIs.
Alternatively, blogs and online stores have the option to install ready-made plugins that can provide redirection by configuring a few rules.
Online websites can reap lots of benefits by customizing their websites with geolocation-powered IP redirection. The more engaged your web visitors are with localized pages, the more you can earn from sales conversions.