The rise of the international web with complex privacy laws, and the level of junk traffic and cyber issues coming from certain geographies has made US publishers strongly considering geolocking their websites. Eric Schanfelt, a leading US publishing consultant, elaborates further…
From regulatory compliance and ad performance to hacking and copyright risks, here are six reasons why local publishers want to block international website traffic.
- Blocking international website traffic Simplify website compliance and cookie notifications. You should only be concerned with the laws of the country in which you are specifically providing services.In addition, international privacy laws are becoming increasingly complex.
- Reduce the chances of your website being hacked Because most of its activity comes from abroad. Yes, there are still cyberattacks originating from within certain countries, but geo-limiting website traffic can reduce the majority of potential attacks.
- Blocking international traffic Reduces chances of content being scraped and reused without your knowledge. Just today a publisher I work with discovered that all of the content on their site had been scraped and used on another of her websites without her knowledge or permission.
- Reduces the likelihood of fraudulent credit card purchases to the subscription order form. This is happening with some of the publishers we work with.
- Blocking international traffic Improve ad effectiveness and CTR This is because international traffic is less likely to click on local ads.
- Reduce the number of spam and spambot sign-ups Get it from your website.
A VPN can be used to bypass a website’s geo-restrictions, but the vast majority of people do not experience any problems.
Publisher Concerns About Blocking International Website Traffic
Publishers may be concerned that blocking international traffic may reduce web metrics (users, pageviews, visits, etc.). Check your own analysis. Most publishers only lose her 5-8% of their traffic by geo-limiting their site visitors. Besides, for all the reasons above, it’s unwanted traffic on your site in any case.
There are also concerns that blocking international traffic could have a negative impact on search engine optimization, which Google’s John Mueller said would not. Do not block the US as the most popular search engine including Google. In most cases, US sites are indexed. Also, don’t block Googlebot.
I would like to emphasize that this is not an anti-global stance. Blocking international website traffic is a practical way to manage and mitigate risk for local publishers. We do not recommend this strategy for publications serving a global/international audience.
However, if it is a B2B or consumer publication that only serves people within a specific geographic region, it may be worth considering blocking international traffic from your website.