It has been estimated that about one-third of US news sites block EU users since they have’t complied with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Because of this, this has become an issue for Google search users in Europe.
If a user in the EU clicks on a search result listing that is blocking EU users, they’ll get a page that says that they are denied access. To Google, it doesn’t know that the user is blocked since Google is crawling this content from the US. Due to this, it thinks the content is available to all users.
According to John Mueller of Google, he said said on Twitter that Google is looking for ways to handle these scenarios. He said that “its a bad user experience if somebody clicks on a search results that ends up blocking them from the site they want to go to. Mueller said “it is something we’ve been looking into to find other solutions for.”
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 an example of a searcher complaining about the situation:
@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
This is one of this situations that doesn’t have a simple solution. How will Google improve the user experience isn’t clear. It’s possible that Google is trying to find a way to make sure searches in Europe either don’t see this particular content, or another workaround to deliver content to users.