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Does Location of Host Servers Affect Site Rankings?

Since cloud computing has made it possible for everyone to access data at anytime from anywhere on the globe, location of data centers does not seem to be as important as it used to be earlier as far as data availability goes. Cloud computing has unleashed a new trend of increased collaborations made possible because of cloud hosting technologies. At the same time, the importance of having hosting data centers close to businesses cannot be totally disregarded. Localized web hosting continues to be relevant to site SEO and extremely vital for user experience.

When you want to sign up with a web hosting company you are faced with innumerable choices. You will find that the same product is being offered by hundreds of vendors. So, you have to make the right decision at the first attempt.

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Why is server location important for site rankings?

When choosing a web host, one of the factors that you should therefore consider is location of its servers and whether this is going to have any impact on your site’s rankings in search engines. The truth is that it may or may not affect the site’s SEO.

Since Google considers page loading speed as one of the key factors when ranking websites, it makes sense to choose hosting locations closer to your users to improve data speed. So, a good idea would be to host the site in a country which has most of your clients.

It is a well known fact that when page loading speed is slow, visitors abandon a site and move elsewhere. Nearly 53% of mobile users have been seen to abandon a website when it needs more than 3 seconds for loading. So, when you have servers at a distance from your user base, you will face slow loading speed.

Another reason to ensure that hosting servers are located closer to your users is when you are targeting the users in a specific country. It then makes perfect sense to place servers in that country. For other sites which target visitors from different locations all around the world, content delivery networks are needed.

As far as search engines are concerned, according to a former Google Search Quality Search expert, the company makes every effort to give the most relevant result for every user in every country. In this, the server locations in terms of IP addresses are obviously a deciding factor. When server locations cannot be near users, the company uses CDNs for faster content delivery to end-users. Alternately, they can also be hosted in countries which have superior infrastructure. So, locations of servers may not be the only determinant factor for site rankings.

In other word, while you should try to get a hosting server location preferably in a country where your target audience is, this is no longer an essentiality. This is because Google keeps making changes to accommodate a wider global audience. When your site gets hosted in UK for instance but its content targets users in Spain, you must set “Spain” in the webmaster tools. So, you do not have to set up your server in Spain but you can set international targets through webmaster tools. When your site targets a global audience with users from every part of the world, you can simply take the help of CDNs.

What is the effect of localized hosting on speed?

The location of servers will affect your site speed because the close your users are to the site’s data center, the faster is the content delivery. The time taken by servers to get and process any request is called latency. When the server location is in a different country than the user base, latency will be higher and this will impact page loading speed adversely. So, even a second of delay in page loading will cause 7% reduction in conversion rates. Almost 40% of viewers will leave a site if it fails to load within 3 seconds. According to Amazon, a slowing down of web page speed for just one second can translate into a loss of $1.6 billion every year.

For geo-targeting therefore, the server’s location has little role to play. If you use a gLTD or ccTLD along with webmaster tools, geo-targeting is possible regardless of server locations. So, to sum up, server locations will typically not affect the SEO rankings of sites directly. But, choosing a web host with servers near your users will obviously offer them a much faster access to the content. Since response time is one of the key factors for SEO, one can safely conclude that localized hosting will directly benefit SEO.

Physical locations of servers directly influence website speed. Loading speeds of any site will always affect search engine results. When you choose localized web hosting, you get to enjoy hassle-free payments that can be made in your own currency. So, each time an Indian user opens a website that has servers in India, he is going to experience much less lag or lower latency.

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