Google: Server Location Mostly Irrelevant For SEO

Oct 4, 2013 • 8:14 am | comments (23) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization
 

serversOne of the SEO tips given by many professionals is to make sure to host your web site in the country you want it to rank in. The truth is, it isn't that important and may be irrelevant in many cases, Google said.

In a Google Webmaster Help thread, Google's John Mueller said in response to the question of SEO and server location:

For search, specifically for geotargeting, the server's location plays a very small role, in many cases it's irrelevant. If you use a ccTLD or a gTLD together with Webmaster Tools, then we'll mainly use the geotargeting from there, regardless of where your server is located. You definitely don't need to host your website in any specific geographic location -- use what works best for you, and give us that information via a ccTLD or Webmaster Tools.

We did know Google uses ccTLD over location of the server. We also knew that the Google FAQs on the topic say:

Q: Is the server location important for geotargeting?
A: If you can use one of the other means to set geotargeting (ccTLD or Webmaster Tools’ geotargeting tool), you don’t need worry about the server’s location. We do, however, recommend making sure that your website is hosted in a way that will give your users fast access to it (which is often done by choosing hosting near your users).

But overall, it is nice to see such a strong word used by John, as "many cases it's irrelevant."

So if you are not using a ccTLD and you didn't set your geo-details in Webmaster Tools and the language and content on the site don't strongly suggest country bias, then server location is important but you'd have to think, how important...

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

Image credit to BigStockPhoto for global servers

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Comments:

Dany Boon

10/04/2013 12:31 pm

In what cases its irrelevant ? And if we got hosting far from the users we are targeting, will it make any affect in searching due to slow speed ?

Alex

10/04/2013 12:41 pm

of course it's relevant. it ALL adds points to your SEO ! speed, links, location, etc. blah !

Michael W

10/04/2013 01:15 pm

The article is correct - the location or bare IP address by itself (and nothing more) will not make any difference to Google regarding SEO. John did recognize that there are other benefits to location, such as server speed, etc. I was part of the discussion so this article caught my eye. ;)

bernard

10/04/2013 01:28 pm

Google would be foolish not to take server location into account, and yet again I don't believe a word of it. If you are an overseas company trying to sell your products into a geographic locations(s) that aren't the same as your own (and therefore poach more relevant results from local companies), it would be so easy to do so just by setting a location in WMT and buying a domain. However, renting a server in the target country is another matter entirely. If you are a legitimate company targeting your own users, why would you host in another country... what advantage would it give> None whatsoever.. there is no reason for any company to host outside of its own country unless it was doing so for artificial advantage. Therefore, it would be extremely unwise for google to ignore it.

Alex

10/04/2013 02:03 pm

A bunch of offshore companies - poaching local keywords, local business... anything new??

Dudu

10/04/2013 02:08 pm

"why would you host in another country..." Price! I'm from Brazil and I use a dedicated server in USA. The same server in Brazil costs five times more.

JustConsumer

10/04/2013 02:47 pm

You're totally wrong. It's very dependable. Price and speed just a few possible advantages. Then legal aspects, like jurisdiction. Then labor cost. Then developers team location. Physical access to server. Server security. Hundreds of possible advantages.

Stuart David

10/04/2013 03:46 pm

Wow, way off the mark and narrow minded, tons of advantages that help your business hosting elsewhere. US have the best prices in the world, not to mention speeds. Your argument is flawed I'm afraid, not everything is about dishonesty, and even then, its the 'world wide web', people can do business wherever they want, its down to the user to pick services they're comfortable with. Drop that sense of entitlement you have.

Stuart David

10/04/2013 03:49 pm

'World wide web' it owes you nothing, people can come and play where they like, that's the utter beauty and intended purpose, you're no more entitled to the local business than anybody else, if someone offers a better service than you, the web gives the customer that overview and option, as intended.

Fedor

10/04/2013 06:28 pm

LOL I love how you accuse someone about being narrow minded and you assume that the US has the best prices and speed. Speed also doesn't matter much when many people in the US still have shit connections. You should travel more, get perspective, people all over Europe have had access to faster connections and hosting years ahead of north america. The US is one of the most corrupt governments on the planet, there's no security in hosting in the US. In case you haven't noticed the news lately. You seem like a globalization goon, voted for Obama? I question whether you even live in the US talking the way you do. I bet 90% of your work is outsourced to India while complaining about american jobs. What a joke.

Stuart David

10/04/2013 06:36 pm

I don't live in the US no, and I am not American, I have tried many different providers from many different countries, all with vary of costs and vary of speeds, I'm not like you, talk and make generalization and then turn to insulting. All your generalizations are completely incorrect, shows what you know I guess!

Fedor

10/04/2013 06:44 pm

I rest my case.

Nikhil Chandra

10/05/2013 11:48 am

Another potshot. Methinks staff of Google are on a mission to confuse SEOs who somehow manage to manipulate Google's search algo like the cTLD one. But ofcourse that's not true how can it be possible that it does not impact SEO in "most of the cases." Does Google have a separate dept. where some nerds look at some sites and say hey they are high quality let's give them some benefit of geographic location of server boost too. Statements like these (after the recent high quality Vs Useful content) make me wanna laugh. Hey...common Google you can do better than that! Don't say SEOs "You are either with us or against us"...that's Uncle Sam for you :-)

Nikhil Chandra

10/05/2013 11:55 am

Why isn't picture uploading?

Nikhil Chandra

10/05/2013 12:04 pm

How contradictory the statements of Google ar. Why the hell does it mean when it recommends using CDN for content delivery then? I believe server location would definitely matter if I am in USA targeting China Market, I'd go for Chinese server as the data will be served through a local server. If that was not true why does Google recommend using CDN. It is exactly for the reason you'd want to go for a US based server for targeting US populace. Nearer the server faster the page load timing and hence better result when it comes to SEO. And doesn't Google preach that job of SEO is to make web faster :-)

xoxo

10/05/2013 04:11 pm

somebody lie, or john or google faq. not new for them.

Scott

10/05/2013 04:52 pm

Matt Cutts confirmed in 2 different videos that server location does indeed impact rankings. Of course this was back in 2009 so a lot could have changed but certainly worth noting. Can the geographic location of a web server affect SEO? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keIzr3eWK8I What impact does server location have on rankings? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXt23AXlJJU Would be nice to hear an update about this Matt! ;)

mmayer

10/07/2013 02:23 am

Absolute lie, we have a website before and we rank on UK after months of working we give up and purchase hosting as well as domain in UK and bang 50 conversion a day. Google once again trying to divert the real logic of algorithm by trying to be illogical.

SEO In Greece

10/12/2013 05:23 pm

Even if server location is irrelevant to Google ranking the fact that hosting your website near to your target market will make it faster is adequate reason for doing so.

Spook SEO

01/21/2014 04:46 pm

Sounds like BS to me, of course server location has a great effect on SEO because it improves the website's performance, especially for major locations such as US, UK or Australia

Samir Madi

03/11/2014 07:04 pm

Hi, I have a .com domain and was looking at hosting in Australia will that affect SEO? Looking at comments by Google it seems not but no-one can seem to say 100%

Matthew Boyle

04/07/2014 11:22 am

Look at page speed, that is the only thing that counts IMO. Also dont host in a country that is in a civil war. ;)

Samir Madi

04/07/2014 08:12 pm

Haha ok I ended up hosting in Australia. Thanks for the reply.

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