As you know, when GDPR, the European law about data privacy regulations across the web, went live – some sites simply decided to block any European visitor from visiting their web site. This results in some searchers seeing content from these sites but when clicking over to the web site being told by the web site that they cannot view the content because of GDPR.
This is simply because Google crawls from the United States and GoogleBot sees the content. If GoogleBot crawled from Europe, GoogleBot would not see the content and Google would not rank it.
John Mueller from Google hinted on Twitter that Google is looking for ways to deal with these issues around blocked content over GDPR for search. He said ” it’s a bad user experience, and it is something we’ve been looking into to find other solutions for.”
Here is John’s tweet:
This is an unfortunate side-effect from us primarily crawling from the US (it’s unpractical to crawl from all locations & websites would hate us for it). I agree it’s a bad user experience, and it is something we’ve been looking into to find other solutions for.
— 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) September 13, 2018
Here is one of the examples of someone seeing the information in Google and then clicking over to see the page is not there, likely because of GDPR.
@johnmu Why do I get a featured snippet showing in my local Google (UK) that I cannot actually visit because it is blocked? (geo blocking) That is not a good user experience. pic.twitter.com/Esp0vytShY
— Simon Cox (@simoncox) September 13, 2018
Here is another site that does this, but they put up a more user friendly notice:
There are really a ton of sites that do this because it is simply not worth the investment to comply with GDPR for many US web sites.
How might Google deal with these cases? Well, they might decide to crawl some sites from Europe on a slower basis just to check for these types of cases and then not show the sites to European users in search? It is unclear. I don’t imagine Google is going to penalize sites that do this, that seems extreme. Google not showing content to Europeans because they cannot access the content might seem like a penalty but it isn’t. But who knows…
Forum discussion at Twitter.