We're a company based in the UK. We're appearing on the organic search results for Ireland and some other countries. We dont cater for these countries, so when we get enquiries we have to turn these down.
In our Webmaster Tools account we have "United Kingdom" selected in the International Targeting Country tab. (We dont have any choice because we have a .co.uk domain).
So my question is: How can we hide the site on non-UK search engines? robots.txt? htaccess? a meta tag?
I guess you could do some kind of language accept detection and serve a "sorry" page. But that would be far from effective or ideal.
If it were me, I would not do a negative "we don't" notice, but some kind of positive "serving x, y, z, areas" banner. And maybe in the meta description too.
The site might still come up in search results for those you don't do business with, but they (hopefully) will learn that fact early on. And having the names of places where you do business may even help for those searching that are in those areas you want to do business with.
I wouldn't go overboard listing every village and hamlet, but some of the larger regions should do.
Thanks Mittineague. But surely this is quite a common thing where a website doesnt want to be seen/contacted by users in other countries that they dont serve?
Is there no directive in robots.txt that would do it? Or can I ask for my site to be excluded from certain search engines (in specific countries)?
I cant believe Im the only person who has experienced this issue.
I agree with you there: it does seem like a fairly basic thing to want to be able to do, yet there seems no way to achieve it.
My guess is that there's a particular problem with Ireland and the UK, because of the relationship between the two. Northern Ireland is part of the UK, but folk searching there may also want results from the south of the country. Similarly, folk in Ireland carrying out searches may be happy to include results from the North. So I suspect that there is a deliberate overlap here in the way search results are displayed.
As @Mittineague says, perhaps the best solution is a line saying "Sorry, but we can only accept customers from the UK" or something similar in your Meta description, or perhaps a modal with that message which appears the first time someone visits your site.
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