A webmaster from Bulgaria inquired about the best way to serve unique content based on the user’s IP address, say for legal compliance. Matt Cutts tries his best to provide an answer from the point of view of the Googlebot.

He began by defining “cloaking” and “IP-based delivery” to clear up any misconceptions. Cloaking is primarily directed at web crawlers. It is done to ensure that these search engine robots see a different version of the site compared to visitors. IP-based delivery, on the other hand, is selectively showing content to visitors depending on their IP address. Cloaking is merely a subset of IP-based delivery, so the latter does not always imply the former.

Showing localized content according to a visitor’s location is a type of IP-based delivery. Google itself does this all the time, serving Google.fr to those in France, Google.de to German residents, and so on. It is not cloaking because there is no special protocol for web crawlers. Googlebot will not be adversely affected, as it will still see the page as it was intended to be viewed from its point of origin, usually in the US. Webmasters have nothing to worry about nor do they need to anything out of the ordinary.

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How should I serve different content based on user location? –