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Hosting server location for website SEO
Thousand of web-hosting companies out there providing the same services at similar prices. If, you want to get it right the first time. It is a very tricky job to choose a web-host suited to your needs. While your options more often, the location of your host server becomes a point of debate. Whether to go for localized web-hosts or overseas ones.
In the world of cloud computing, online collaboration from anywhere and at any time on the earth can do. Though server location seems to be somewhat insignificant and localized. But, web hosting is relevant to SEO and user experience, the choice is always a tricky one.
Here, look at how the hosting server can affect your website’s SEO. But before we do that, let us first see how it affects the speed of a website and its ramifications.
Impact of Server Location on Website Speed
Whenever a user loads or opens a website, it passes from the data center or host server. Farther to the user via a passage of interconnected networks also known as the internet. The data transfer through the fastest and most efficient path to reach the destination. A lot of networks use fiber-optic cables to transfer data at the speed of light (approximately 3 x 10^8 m/s). The user only experiences a delay of 10 milliseconds for every 1000 km distance traveled by the data. This is very negligible for a delay in user experience.
Yet, while speaking of server location and website speed! Getting the most speed is always to host the server close to your visitors as possible. If your websites target users from only one country it is most advisable to host the server in that country. When your websites are targeting visitors from all around the world it differs. In such a case the websites need to use Content Delivery Network (CDN) to operate.
The study shows that the average user is not patient enough to wait for slow-loading websites. Servers take a certain amount of time to receive and process a request from a visitor known as its latency. This latency increases for servers on a different country or continent from the user.
Another research shows that slow loading websites are not good for business. Amazon claims that a page slowdown by even 1 second can cost them up to $1.6 billion in sales each year. Yet another study shows that 53% of mobile users abandon a website if it takes more than three seconds to render. Also, Google knows to consider loading speeds while ranking search results. Thus a loading time of more than a few seconds can prompt Google to lower your page rankings in the SERPs.
How Search Engines see Server Locations
Choosing the same location server targeting audience is not as important. Because search engines like Google, Bing, etc. are now allowing to set a target country in tools. If the website using a country TLD cannot choose a target country as the TLD itself does that job.
Yet, for websites using TLDs like .com or.org, etc. the owner needs to set a target country in the webmaster tools. If not done so, the search engines will carry on selection based on other criteria such as server IP address. And any information about location available in the web-content backlinks to the page. Also, any other SEO relevant information.
Thus, say your server locates in the States and your website means for users in Portugal. Then you will need to set ‘Portugal’ in Google webmaster tools as your target country. Or, in any other search engine webmaster tool. It is not necessary to host your server in Portugal, but if you are using a .pt domain this won’t be necessary at all.
Yet, if your visitors locate all over the world, the server does not matter in that case. Make sure that your web host can provide your website with some sort of CDN to spread your content.
Impact of Localized Web-hosting on SEO
According to Google, the server’s location plays role in geo-targeting. This is because geo-targeting is at the TLD itself, either a country-code TLD (.uk, .es, etc.). Or a generic TLD (.com, .org, etc.) along with Webmaster tools. Thus, we see that the host server location does not matter much.
They do recommend setting up the server at a location that will give faster access for the users. We have already discussed that server latency and response time plays a crucial role in SEO. Localized hosting is most preferred for its direct effects on SEO.
Page load speed also plays an important role in SEO ranking for Google as well as the other search engines. This is because of the faster load time of a website guarantees a better user experience. Thus, localized hosting and IP geolocation are important for a website. To improve its rankings in SERPs as well as SEO.
We have seen how server location can affect your SEO, page ranking and page load speed. We have also seen how using Webmaster Tools can ease your server location troubles. Still, it is advisable to host your server at such a location so that it gives your visitors ease of use.