Not long ago, there was a common belief that server location mattered a lot in terms of download speed and latency. In other words, the closer the website visitor is to the web server, the fewer networks the data passes through. That still holds true, of course, but as server equipment and infrastructure gets better, there’s less reason to be concerned that for instance, your UK-based website is hosted on a U.S. server.
But how about your website’s SEO? You might think that, when it comes to this, it doesn’t matter so much where the server that’s hosting your website is physically located. You would be, to some extent, wrong.
understand the inner workings of search engine rankings
In fact, server location can potentially affect your SEO and therefore you must consider this aspect carefully before deciding on a hosting provider. Many believe that location has only have a minimal effect on a site’s SEO rankings, but they fail to see the bigger picture and understand the inner workings of search engine rankings.
Google has always strived to organize search results based on relevance – one of these being the location of where the search originated. Essentially, the results produced by a search in a certain country prioritize websites located in that country.
If your business is targeting a particular country, it’s usually recommended for the servers hosting your website to be located in that country as well. For instance, if you’re a French businessman/woman who sells a certain product designed exclusively for an American audience, then you should enlist the services of a hosting provider with data centers located in the U.S.
This can be less of a hassle if you decide to utilize some geo-targeting tools instead. Namely, Google Webmaster Tools can help you set a target country for your website, which will render, as they claim, your server location totally irrelevant. When you set a geographic target, for instance U.S., your website may begin to rank higher in the Google search results delivered to people living there.
Sure enough, several factors also matter in deciding the rank of your website but setting the U.S. as your target country will inform Google that your website’s content is relevant for that particular country. By so doing, you will have a clear advantage over websites what don’t have such a setting.