Q and A: Should I restrict access to my website?

Question

Hi Kalena,

This is Pratik from India. I am working here as an SEO and dealing with a lot of overseas clients from SEO perspective. Here, I have got a query while working on a website. I have found that my website is receiving traffic from different countries which is not the actual target to get the leads converted; my main target is United States only, so the additional traffic will be of no use. Therefore, I am wondering of blocking other countries visitors to visit my website and redirect them on a simple page. The question is what disadvantages you see on blocking the traffic from other countries? Will this effect on SEO in anyway? Will I be able to rank well on Google as I am doing today? I am more concerned on SEO results because my website is ranking well for more than 500 keywords in top 10. Could you please let me know comments on the same? Looking forward to your feedback!

Thanks,
Pratik

Hi Pratik,

Unless there is a VERY good reason, I would be very, very cautious about blocking any sort of access to your site.

Just because traffic may be coming from a source that is not your specific target market, does not necessarily mean that it will not result in a lead.  A US resident may be on holidays or working abroad (there may be a lot of potential leads in US Military personnel posted abroad for instance), or may have outsourced research to an overseas service (much like what you are apparently offering for SEO).

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you the importance of links…Although backlinks from websites local to your target market are likely to be of better value than those from other countries, it is probable that you could generate some very good, relevant links from other countries.  If they were unable to access the site, clearly you would be missing out on backlinks.

Perhaps the most important reason why you may not want to block other countries though is related to search crawlers. Search engines, won’t necessarily crawl your site from the country where your target market is located.  If you block access to other countries there is a very real chance that it will limit the ability of search engines to crawl (and therefore index and rank) your site.

Traffic, even if is not coming from your target market, is rarely a bad thing as you never know what might lead to sales, leads, enquiries or links, unless you have a specific need to keep your site hidden from specific users, you should not be limiting access.

Andy Henderson
WebConsulting (SEO Brisbane)

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