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I am working for a client and i have some doubts about a strategy that i think it might be a good idea but im still not 100% sure if it is.
My client has an ecommerce site built with a fully modified (by him) ZenCart. The thing is that he sells, letīs say, one product only (he sells more than one, but it will work as an example). He sells this product to different countries like Guatemala, Colombia, Spain, Italy, United States, etc.
The thing is that the price is different according to the country selected at the home page (more on this later).
For example, the product costs 1 dollar in the States but 3 in Colombia.
So what he did is create a customized homepage with a pulldown form where you have to choose a country. If you select United States youīll see the price for the product in 1 dollar. If you select colombia you will see the price for the product in 3 dollars (but converted in Colombian currency).
The thing is that this is made to work with cookies. Depending on what you select from the pulldown form in the homepage is what you get after.
And if you select United states as your country you get the site in english with a parameter "?lan=en" in the URL. If you select Colombia you get the site in Spanish with a parameter "?lan=es" in the URL. One thing to note here is that if you select Chile as your country you also get the site in Spanish (same as in colombia). There is no currency parameter in the URL, only language.
If the cookie canīt be downloaded the system show "0" for price. So that makes Googlebot able to index all the content with a "0" price. Im fine with that.
The thing is that if you go into the product page without going to the country selector pulldown you will get all prices in "0" and that is not a good idea so here is my quesiton (finally):
Is it ok to use User Agent to let GoogleBot (and others) index the content with price "0" and if its not a Bot take the user to a little country selector form to then take him to the page he requested with the prices for that country?
Im asking this because Bot will see a page and users will see a little in-the-way page to select their country and then see the page they requested.
Am I working in the safe side here?
Thanks a lot for your help.
That said, if the sole reason for it is to prevent technical problems of the kind you note above, and you are careful to present the same content, etc, then it is highly unlikely that you would have any problems at all, because even if you are flagged for inspection, any reasonable spam checker could see what you are doing. If the site is otherwise clean, I can't see them penalizing you for that.
Truth is a lot of big sites do it, because it's a good way to handle some technical issues.
If you were to be penalized, it might take some time to get your site reincluded in the indexed, or unpenalized, or whatever. Again though, pretty low risk.
I just wanted to be sure i was doing something "legal". I need to do this because of techologic problems. The idea seems ok to me. SEīs get the same content than users, with the little exception that users see the "select country" page before getting to the landing page.
that is how amazon do it, and they aren't a bad example to follow. I'm from the UK, and if i go to Amazon.com it still gives me the price in dollars, but a banner at the top suggests that i might prefer to go to the UK site.
if you'd rather google not index the other languages, then just block those query strings in the robots.txt file, or check for their existance when the page loads up and add a noindex metatag to the page.