Short answer – yes, it’s perfectly fine to block countries to improve your Core Web Vitals (CWV) metrics. Despite how many in the SEO community likes to virtue signal, you’re a business, and as a business, you will do what works. As long as you’re not being deceptive and are not misleading your visitors, you have no obligation to pander to an agenda.
How Does Blocking Countries Improve your CWV Score?
Google’s Core Web Vitals metrics are based on real-world data at a cut-off of 75%. So when they say that your Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) metric should be below 2 seconds, it means that 75% of your visitors from an actual browser should see the largest block in your above-the-fold content in less than 2 seconds.
This presents a problem for websites that get a lot of useless traffic from certain parts of the world. Let’s say that you’re selling physical products that only ship within your country. Or that you specifically can’t ship products to a certain country, but get a lot of visits from them anyway. By itself this is fine. The problem arises when these countries are far away from your origin server or have poor Internet infrastructure. They drag down your CWV scores by increasing the 75th percentile values. And for no good reason! They don’t even generate revenue for you.
So a simple solution is to block traffic from countries that are dragging down your metrics. Typically these are developing nations with inconsistent or slow Internet.
The Controversy and Disingenuous Google Replies – A CDN Doesn’t Help!
This question was asked in a Core Web Vitals Q&A on Youtube. You can get the relevant section starting at the 17:12 mark below:
In the above video, a Google Engineer Philip Wanton recommends against blocking countries to improve CWV scores by telling us to use CDN networks. As if it were that easy! And as if most serious websites aren’t already using CDNs. Google has a reputation for hiring smart people, so I’m going to assume this guy already knows that CDNs are typically for static content, and that server response time is entirely dependent on the origin server and the initial connection time. Serving your images and CSS faster won’t help if visitors from certain countries take 2 seconds just for the initial connection!
This kind of BS gas-lighting appeared on Twitter as well:
According to this guy, we as website owners have a moral responsibility to suck up lower CWV scores in the interests of inclusion. I’m sorry, but my website isn’t a social experiment or a platform for virtue signaling. As a business owner, I’m in this game to make money. And as long as I’m being transparent about my practices, I have no ethical responsibility to anyone but my potential customers.
NameHero Helps with QUIC.cloud for Dynamic Content
Despite the above, hosting with NameHero gives you Enterprise access to QUIC.cloud which speeds up not just static files, but semi-static HTML as well. So to an extent, you can get around slow country-specific connection times. But even this won’t help you if you serve a lot of dynamic and personalized content. Shopping carts are a great example where the information shown to the user is unique, and can’t just be cached mindlessly. So there’s no easy way around this. QUIC.cloud definitely helps, especially since LiteSpeed integrates with WooCommerce.
Blocking Countries with Cloudflare
If you decide to go down this route, you can easily block countries using Cloudflare’s firewall rules. Here’s an example set up:
With a single rule, you can block any number of countries. I like this method because you don’t need to change anything on your site. Cloudflare takes care of all the heavy lifting.
So don’t worry about the naysayers. If you find that certain countries outside your target market are dragging down your CWV scores, then by all means you should consider blocking them!
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!