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Does server location affect SEO?

Does server location affect SEO?
  • 26 May 2021

For small businesses, good SEO is essential for ensuring websites are visible in search engine results. However, a range of factors can affect SEO. For example, regular updates to search engine algorithms mean that websites have to keep up with the latest developments if they want to remain visible against their competitors. For any website to thrive, it also needs to have a decent hosting provider. And finally, everyone knows that the choice of web host affects the speed a website loads at. But does server location affect SEO?

How does server location affect SEO?

The location of the physical server hosting your website will affect its SEO capabilty and this is something you need to consider when you're choosing your host. Don't choose a server location based on price alone. If you do, your SEO will suffer in the long term.

It doesn't matter what your domain name is or what extension you use; the physical location of your website server will affect the SEO of your website. Unfortunately, many businesses overlook server location as a factor when they're planning their website and SEO strategy. Server location is one of several off-page factors that will impact SEO and could potentially derail an otherwise strong SEO campaign.

How does location affect search results?

Page load speeds are a key factor in determining SEO scores; anything you can do to ensure your page loads as fast as possible will keep your SEO score up. Choosing a solid hosting company with a decent infrastructure will go a very long way to maximising your website's speed and security. If the host offers servers in multiple locations, you should choose the location that makes the most sense for your business.

When Google is assigning websites an SEO score and ranking them in search results, one of the things it considers is location relevance. This is broken down into several components, each of which will contribute to a website's relevance to users in Google's eyes. If you want to know does server location affect SEO, understanding exactly how Google determines a website's relevance to users in specific locations is essential.

For example, one of the key signals Google looks for in determining a page's location relevance is whether a location is mentioned in its title. For example, a website advertising services in the UK is more relevant to users based in the UK. Businesses can take advantage of this to make pages on their website more visible outside of the areas they operate in and target surrounding locations as well.

Similarly, if the website lists an address in the footer or even just on the main contact page, Google will consider what locations the website is most relevant to. Google will usually apply this to the entire website unless specific pages seem to target other locations.

Finally, if a business has a Google Business Listing associated with the website, Google will link them both to the same address. This is a real boon for businesses targeting the local market and means both the listing and website are more likely to appear to users searching in your local area.

Why does server location affect SEO?

Clearly, Google isn't relying on any one piece of data to determine where a website is located or its relevance to users. Instead, Google incorporates multiple data points into its decision making to try and ensure that it returns the most relevant results for each user, regardless of the country they're located in.

But while the location of a server is just one of the factors Google will consider in determining its relevance, it is still something that businesses need to consider when choosing hosting packages. Server location used to count for a lot more than it does now. The architecture of the internet has changed a lot in recent years, and a website's IP address isn't as clear cut a method for determining where its owners are based as it used to be.

One important way in which server location will factor into a website's SEO score is through its effect on page loading times. The further away a server is located from a user, the longer it will take to load for them. In most cases, the difference between loading a website from a server in the same country and loading the same site from a neighbouring nation will be imperceptible to the average user. But it will be noticed by Google's algorithms and will be a consideration when assigning an SEO score.

How do you keep your SEO score high?

Page load speeds are a key factor in determining SEO scores; anything you can do to ensure your page loads as fast as possible will keep your SEO score up. Choosing a solid hosting company with a decent infrastructure will go a very long way to maximising your website's speed and security. If the host offers servers in multiple locations, you should choose the location that makes the most sense for your business.

You can further improve your local relevance for users based on the areas you want to target by optimising your keywords. For example, Clickingmad is based in Shropshire, making this our main base of operations. The keyword 'website design in Shropshire' is more likely to make our website appear to users in the West Midlands than it would without the location information.

While server location certainly matters, it isn't as important as the quality of your hosting provider. This is where many small businesses go wrong and end up letting themselves down. You want to work with a web hosting company that can guarantee you an uptime of as close to 100% as possible, ensures excellent speeds, and keeps your site secure from any threats.

Your website also needs to be well optimised, professionally designed and built to maintain a high SEO score. Google considers a website's usability and the user experience when calculating SEO. A professionally designed website will score better and is worth paying for, especially considering the long-term benefits.

If you're looking for professional website development in Shropshire or you want to improve your local relevance through SEO in the West Midlands, Clickingmad can help. Contact us today to find out more about the services we offer and how we can ensure your business has a solid online presence.

 

Common Hosting questions

Google has a great tool that is free to use and gives you many scoring factors about your website.

Use this tool to check your website speed: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

Anything below 50/100 would be considered slow and may affect your Google organic rankings.

This article deals with server location from an SEO perspective. However but there are many factors that contribute to a slow website;

  • Images not being optimised
  • Images not being resized properly
  • Server response times
  • CSS not being optimised
  • Extra loads from other functionality - that may not be needed in the first place

If you use the Google tool, you can see these listed.

WordPress is often built with just the visual appeal in mind. Whilst that is of course important, inexperienced website designers will not know how to remove redundant code and functionality that can help to speed up a WordPress website.

We are often asked to help with fixing Wordpress websites and in particular, to speed them up. This is technical work so you need to know what you are doing so you do not break your website. 

Ask your currrent website provider to help you. And if they cannot, contact us!

 
 

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