Why website hosting location is important for search engine position

by ZK on April 3, 2009

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What is web hosting location?

Every website, blog or every a single webpage is hosted on a webserver that connects to the internet. A webserver is a computer connected to the internet which is owned by a webhosting company ( in most cases, unless you have your own webservers ). A webserver is a computer connected to InterNet.

That computer or webserver is located in some country. It has a specific IP address, and from that IP address, it is possible to know in which country or sity or town the webserver is located. The location of your webserver is known as a Web Hosting location.

Search engines ( Google , Yahoo and MSN ) know where your Web site is hosted based on your webserver location and IP details. Your site is ranked according to domain extension and web server location or the IP address location as mentioned above. Now, if you move the site or your domain to another server or a Web Hosting company you first need to know where the web server is located. The location of your webhosting company is an important factor in your search engine ranking

Let me give you an illustration of how a web hosting location can affect your search engine ranking.

Website www.ABC.com was selling shoes, hosted in USA and targeted US visitors, the domain extension is .com This is an ideal situation, where we have a USA domain extension .com targeting USA visitors and hosted on web server located in USA. Over 75 % of the traffic to this site was from search engines, namely Google, Yahoo and MSN with the high search ranking on all the three engines.

Now, for some strange reason the company decides to host its site in India where it has its offshore development team. They move their site to servers hosted in India. Now, one month later, the search ranking situation is completely different:

- Google indexes site pages in Google India since the site is hosted in India it assumes that it targets Indian visitors, visits from Google.com come down by 30 – 40 % . The site in Google.com moves to 5 and 6 pages.

- Yahoo India starts to show ranking for the website on 2 nd and 3 rd page. Yahoo.com searches reduce by 30 %

Similar trends are shown by MSN.com

Now lets understand what exactly happened here and why the site showed a decrease in visits from US searches. After site IP changes, all the three search engines showed a decrease in indexed pages. The search results were lower as some of the pages were deindexed.

Site is now receiving 60-70% less traffic from search engines inspite of search engine optimisation and most of visitors now are from India and other international IPs. For site targeted to USA market that is, in simple words not targetted traffic. Now, even by increasing the backlinks the site results from search engine rankings did not increase, Google started to give low value to backlinks from US sites as it did not determine it to be valuable.

Backlinks from India based sites were now more valuable to Google. Due to a small number of India based sites operating in the same niche industry, the website was not very popular even on India based search results. Onsite search engine optimization like meta tags don’t help much here as the search engines don’t understand where the site is located by reading the Meta tags but it can give you targeted traffic for a particular keyword search.

GeoTargeting

It is well known that search engines are using GeoTargeting to list sites related to visitor’s IP (country) and this is one of the most important factors in ranking. The search engines also look for language used on website and server location. For the above site, English language and hosting in India, show that the site is targeting the indian market.

So, to target USA market, com domain, web server hosting location in USA, English language, links from sites (.com, .net) hosted in US are of prime value and importance to Google.

To target UK market, domain co.uk , English web server hosting location in UK, links from UK domains are of prime value and importance to Google.

To target Canada market, .ca domain, English web hosting located in Canada, links from Canadian domains are of prime value and importance to Google.

Targeting Local Markets
Due to cheap web hosting, many international sites are hosted in USA but this could be a problem for search engine and SERP. If you are targeting some other country, use domain with that country extension, get links from other sites hosted in that country, link to other sites in that country, use local language and keywords. The state for the hosting is not important, moving the site to a web server located in a different state can only show you a small difference.

Conclusion
The right target audience is important for your site, so target your visitors better, localize you content. Get a domain name with an appropriate extension based on your target market, host your site located in the country that you are targeting, get links for related sites and use local keywords. If you have an affiliate website or blog this becomes important. You won’t get any traffic from Google hosting your site in India and targeting US visitors.

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Article by ZK

ZK is the founder of WebTrafficROI.com, he also runs Thesis Discounts where you can get bonuses worth $477 with the Thesis Theme. Connect with ZK on Google +

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{ 57 comments }

Web developer April 4, 2009 at 8:02 am

This is good information I never knew that hosting location played an integral part in google searches. This is the reason I love this blog, it gives valuable information that I don’t get on other blogs.

Health Insurance April 4, 2009 at 8:03 am

Fortunately my hosting is in US and I target US visitors

Toronto Wedding Photographer August 6, 2009 at 3:10 am

My server is in US but i targeted all most all the users

jaisimha April 4, 2009 at 10:42 am

Hello,

This (locational web host server factor) information is quite very new to me, may be others (the so called gurus) are not willing to share this info to others for fear of competetion.

Thanks a lot for sharing this invaluable info.

Thanks,
Jaisimha

jaisimhas last blog post..Unlimited Bandwidth Hosting

Karl Hadwen April 4, 2009 at 6:58 pm

Great post, should rename it “Which webhost for SEO?” should do better for seo ;)

Karl Hadwens last blog post..Looking for a girlfriend

ZK@Internet Marketing Blog April 6, 2009 at 10:18 am

Thats a nice title for the post short and to the point :)

ZKs last blog post..Google denies rumors of buying Twitter

Toronto Car Finance August 6, 2009 at 3:10 am

Yes perfect word for the post …ZK keep going mate

Ajith Edassery April 4, 2009 at 8:24 pm

Good post ZK. It’s all about the country TLD, hosting location, level of hosting (C-level IP hosting has SEO advantages when it comes to traffic source and SEO optimization.

However, there’s a work around. If you want to host in India and still target US traffic, you could do that via your Google web master tools geo settings.

cheers,
Ajith

Ajith Edasserys last blog post..Blogs could transform into SocNets

ZK@Internet Marketing Blog April 6, 2009 at 10:15 am

Hi Ajith,

All my sites are hosted in US, I have’nt tried using the Geo setting in webmasters tool. Where is your hosting located ?

ZKs last blog post..Google denies rumors of buying Twitter

Ajith Edassery | Blog Money April 6, 2009 at 8:29 pm

I am hosted in the US and hence I do not need to do geo targetting as I target all types of audience from any place.

However, if I had hosted a .in domain in the US, I could have got more Indian traffic. If I still wants US traffic with a .in cTLD, I will have to use the geo settings in Webmaster tools. (This is only for Google SE which is possibly contributing to 90% of one’s search traffic)

ZK@Internet Marketing Blog April 7, 2009 at 9:23 am

When Google launched Google Webmaster tools in 2007, it basically allowed you to tell Google if your site is based in a certain geographical location.

For example if you had a UK site, using a .com domain – Google would often not give you any preference in the Google UK searches unless it had a .co.uk TLD

The Geo Location option was to give Google a clue about the location of the site and help it rank better in the local searches.

But it does not seem so

Googles stance on the Geo location setting in webmasters tool is not well defined.

It may have some effect on the searches , but its not the same as having a .com extension and web hosting in US, you appear somewhere in between two extremes.

I have nt personally used this option, if anyone has used it we would love to hear for you about your experience in using the Geo location option in Google Webmaster Tools

Thanks Ajith for the valuable contribution to this thread

ZKs last blog post..Google denies rumors of buying Twitter

venkat20 April 22, 2009 at 6:27 am

Hai Ajith..

This is venkat i found details of all the Ip-address location free of cost On the website http://www.ip-details.com .It is very easy to view within a fraction of a seconds..

Ajith Edassery | Blog Money April 22, 2009 at 8:02 am

Thanks for the link venkat :)

Ajith Edassery | Blog Moneys last blog post..Latest innovation from Google Labs – News Timeline

Ann @ Work From Home April 5, 2009 at 12:48 am

Very comprehensive info ZK and you are totally right, I often see visitors on my blog pushing their foreign sites and it is not a good idea.

Anns last blog post..Freelance Work From Home – 16 Freelance Sites

The Film Wall April 6, 2009 at 4:50 am

i am not totally agree with you.if you take domain from UK.then you get more traffic from US.but if you will think,you get more traffic from all the world that you are wrong.great tips.

ZK@Internet Marketing Blog April 6, 2009 at 10:17 am

The domain extension and web hosting both have an impact on your search results. Most likely if you have a .co.uk domain you wont rank on Google.com but you will get ranked on Google.uk

ZKs last blog post..Google denies rumors of buying Twitter

kitchen taps April 6, 2009 at 7:05 am

I agree with ajith. Its all about country- TLD.

Stock Photography April 6, 2009 at 11:55 pm

Yahoo India starts to show ranking for the website on 2 nd and 3 rd page.

Brad Callen April 7, 2009 at 12:43 am

If you are targeting some other country, use domain with that country extension, get links from other sites hosted in that country, link to other sites in that country, use local language and keywords.

Deppy April 7, 2009 at 8:03 am

I have never thought about it before. It seems it is too difficult to optimize a site.

facelift April 9, 2009 at 12:23 am

you are really putting informative thoughts in your blog, I was unaware of this completely but thanks to let me know.

Pituitary Gland April 10, 2009 at 6:25 am

This is the reason why I host most of my sites in the US, so that I can capitalize on the majority of the searches. It is the same with domain extensions as well. For example, a .com.au name will rank a lot better in Australian search

Seaward April 10, 2009 at 9:51 pm

your are right because i am suffered form this problem but now i am used this way to increase our site quality.

game-girl April 13, 2009 at 12:38 am

Very useful information .I did think about it earlier.

game-girls last blog post..Незваные скачать фильм онлайн

Web Hosting Company April 13, 2009 at 2:56 am

Very useful tips for me.Before I am reading your post I have not any knowledge about “What is web hosting location”? Good tips and resources. Thank you.

Chaitanya Sagar, Excel Expert April 14, 2009 at 5:35 am

One other consideration unrelated to performance is Search Engine Optimisation, some SEO people believe that hosting sites on servers in other geographic locations can have some affect on placement in results. I’m not sure how accurate this is but it may be something to look into if strong SEO placement is important to you.

ZK@Web Marketing Blog April 14, 2009 at 11:05 am

Hi Chaitanya,

Web Hosting impacts your search results, your web site will rank high if you host in the country you wish to target alongwith a local domain extension. (.co.uk for UK serches, .com for US searches ) its a very important criteria but not the only criteria other criteria being onsite page optimisation and link building.

ZKs last blog post..Tim Berners Lee : The inventor of the World Wide Web on enabling the future of the NEW WEB

Host April 15, 2009 at 2:41 am

Hi..
Thanks for such nice information about hosting and its importance in SE.

Jonathan@small business web design suffolk April 15, 2009 at 5:23 pm

I agree with you when it comes to .coms but I’m uk based and host my uk client sites through mosso cloud in the US. As long as there is a country TLD, which in my case is .co.uk there are no problems ranking in the UK search engines.

Google knows and understands many country web sites use US hosting and I think as long as you’re using the correct country TLD then all is fine.

Obviously if you’re tweaking the hell out of your site for SEO then there’s probably a case, but most small business websites won’t need these extreme measures

On the other hand, I could be wrong…

Web Hosting Reviews April 16, 2009 at 8:22 am

Great article but I would like to add something else. Location isn’t the only important factor, uptime is very important too. If a site is down while being spidered by a search engine bot, that site looses rankings…

ZK@Web Marketing Blog April 16, 2009 at 8:45 am

Thats a very important point you ve mentioned. Site uptime is very critical to a websites existence and revenues, althought most of the web hosting firms assure you of 99% uptime for your site, thats still works out to be 4 days of downtime for your website in a year. Thats not good for your web business or your websites search rankings.

ZKs last blog post..Affiliate Theme – 15 % off coupon code

Cocacolya April 18, 2009 at 10:22 am

hosting in russia is cheap enough..

Cocacolyas last blog post..На Взлёт!

ken@cheap website hosting April 23, 2009 at 10:28 pm

This is one tip most people do not realize. Location of server helps seo just like domain does also. One thing everyone should know is the longer you register the domain name the better. Do not buy domain name for a year or 2 some search engines think your not serious. They favor domain names that are registered for more than 2 years and the longer they have been registered helps also.

ZK@Web Marketing Blog April 24, 2009 at 9:58 am

Great point, the age of the domain is a very vital factor in ranking your website or blog.

Web Developers last blog post..How to save your data if world comes to an end in 2012?

caitlin@uk web hosting May 19, 2009 at 6:14 am

Great post!

A lot of people don’t realize how important it is to host with a company with servers located in the country they’re targeting. I think the assumption is that the internet makes all of this irrelevant (i.e., the internet is everywhere, so it shouldn’t matter), but it’s simply not true. Hopefully, more people will write about this, and people new to web design and hosting will understand how the location of a hosting company’s servers can impact them (and their sales!).

Kurtis@ottawa web design May 25, 2009 at 5:28 pm

I wouldn’t discount the importance of .com to non-US markets. Many sites from the Uk and Canada use .com and only resort to the country specific domains if the .coms aren’t available.

Kurtis@ottawa web design May 25, 2009 at 5:30 pm

I wouldn’t discount the importance of .coms for non US markets. Most people in the UK and Canada will try to register a .com first and only use the regional specific domains if the .coms arent available.

Windows Web Hosting May 27, 2009 at 12:35 am

nice post totally agree with u thanks for the sharing

Brian Kurtz@Airsoft Sniper Rifle May 29, 2009 at 8:01 pm

Wow, this is real eye-opener. Just goes to show that you learn something new every day.

On one of the forums that I hang out at there area a few guys from India that area trying to get US traffic. They are complaining that they are not getting good results regardless of the fact that they are using the same techniques as others in the group.

Lisa@Gochi Juice June 1, 2009 at 12:21 pm

I really didn’t know that web servers have such significance on SEO work. This is such a great information. Thank you very much for sharing.

business hosting June 4, 2009 at 1:13 am

This is good information on web hosting, well written and useful. thanks for sharing.

Mark@Homes Rental in Florida June 13, 2009 at 7:03 am

There are many issues which could affect a website’s rankings on search engines which could be out of the site owners control. Among them Changing a Site’s IP Address can be very damaging. To solve this problem, the ideal situation would be to have the site exist in both the old and new location for a period of 1 week. This would provide sufficient time for the main root servers and their subordinates to update and refresh their information.

Christy@Free ad web service June 17, 2009 at 1:15 am

From what I heard depending on who is hosting your site. It can either be black listed, if the IP is bad. It can also be indexed really well in the country where it’s hosted in.

Is any of this true?

Henry July 6, 2009 at 3:04 am

I never knew if hosting location is very important to increase trafic. But now I understand, thank you, you have explained in a very good way.

Brian@How to Choose a Shared Hosting Company July 11, 2009 at 12:28 am

It is important for any website owner to rely upon a reputable and efficient web host. Whether you require the more expensive dedicated hosting or the more affordable shared hosting or reseller hosting, you should look into the reliability of the web host first. Web hosting reviews permit you to look into the specific services of these web hosts, so you will know what you are getting in exchange for your money. Your web host is responsible for the accessibility of your website on the Internet. Servers are maintained by the web hosting provider, to manage all the clients’ websites. If the host is not able to maintain these servers well, or if they continue to experience downtimes, the websites will be down as well. If your site visitors are unable to access your site 24/7, they can easily turn to your competition for there needs. This means loss of sales and profits on your part.

taislim July 12, 2009 at 12:16 am

People invest money on searching for the perfect web host. SO, one should make sure that the web host is efficient, reputable, and has a good track record. This article provides good information to people who are newbies to this kind of thing.

Ruri@Free article submission August 11, 2009 at 10:34 am

I get your point. Yeah this is make sense if we put our site in one country, then search engine will assume that will market for that country.
.-= Ruri@Free article submission´s last blog ..Convenience and Comfort of Online Stock Trading =-.

Southampton dental implants August 12, 2009 at 8:14 am

Location of the server is very crucial in order to increase traffic. This has been further stressed out through this article. This will help those that are still a novice in web hosting.

website hosting August 26, 2009 at 2:31 pm

If you can get your site in the Top 10 of Google then it can be as good as have your shop in every city in the world

floor tape August 27, 2009 at 3:42 pm

LOL – i really have learned a lot from all this information keep up the great work.

Hertfordshire SEO September 30, 2009 at 7:58 am

Now that webmaster toolkit has improved I don’t think server location is so important, but it does still make sense do have your site hosted in the same country as your target market as Google has been known to change it’s mind!

dentistbrighton October 23, 2009 at 9:48 am

thanks for the post..

very much informative..

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Dentists in Brighton

Dentist in Birmingham November 3, 2009 at 10:27 am

web is a lovely place for marketing.. it just easy and quick way to make or break a business..

oes tsetnoc December 10, 2009 at 10:42 pm

brilliant post to get target in a target country

Tech & IT News India June 17, 2010 at 1:21 am

Thank you for this useful information. I am a newbie to seo and marketing. Good share..

Kavita September 6, 2010 at 7:52 am

Thanks for the information. I am glad my blog is hosted on godaddy. Hope to get google page rank for my blog soon.

Jasmine November 15, 2010 at 12:03 am

I agree with this. However, if you are in India and you get a web hosting company in India, then you will have a couple of obvious advantages namely;

1. You can more easily get in touch with the support, for example support over the phone.

2. You can access your web hosting account much faster due to the server location, mostly within the country itself.

Cheers!

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