This week for Ask An SEO, Vimal of London reached out concerning his business and his choice of a hosting company and its location. Vimal asks:
“I have a question with respect to the server location. My business is 100% UK based and particularly around a 50km radius around London. I recently migrated from GoDaddy to SiteGround. The questions I have are as per follows:
- Given my geographical business focus, does the location of the host make a difference?
- When I select my host in Google to verify my site, it has GoDaddy listed but not SiteGround. So I select “other”. I raise this because it makes me feel that Google has a preference to GoDaddy I do not mind switching back.
My competitors are typically IP Server and Geolocation UK based but I don’t know the specifics. I have read on the internet from Google representatives that Server/host location does make a difference but the article I read is 6-7 years old.”
There are two aspects to consider about the location your hosting company uses to host your website as it relates to your organic rankings.
The first aspect is the effect it has on your site speed.
The closer a site visitor is to the datacenter that hosts your website, the quicker it will load for them.
Being a local business, I always recommend finding a local datacenter in or close by to the city my client works in and targets.
Making sure your website loads quickly for your site visitors and customers provides a much better user experience all around, so it’s win-win.
While it has not been proven that search engines use server location as a ranking factor, there has been some strong evidence to show that the IP address of a website can affect the rankings of the site.
For instance, if it has an IP address assigned that belongs to the wrong country.
Most people just choose a hosting company based on name or recommendation, and for mass hosts, you get placed on a random server with a shared IP address and put little thought into where that server resides or the geolocation of the IP address.
I suspect if you have a .com.uk domain name, but your web server and its IP address are located in the United States, Google, and other search engines would figure that out, and it won’t be an issue.
If you happen to have a .com domain or one without the .uk country code, you might find that your rankings could potentially drop, be held back, or shift to higher rankings in the United States instead of in the UK.
For this reason, I would personally choose to take the extra step to make sure your server and IP address are assigned to your own country.
I’d recommend reaching out to your hosting company and confirm that your site is hosted on one of their UK servers and, if not, request that to be fixed ASAP.
Verifying a Domain Property in Search Console
As for your second question, you are referring to the process that Google goes through to verify a domain property in Google Search Console.
Google does have a list of companies available to connect to in order to verify your site by adding a DNS record.
DNS settings are usually, though not always, managed at your domain’s registrar.
GoDaddy, along with the other companies listed, are some of the more common domain registrars out there, which is why they made the list.
Yes, some people do manage their DNS and domain name registration at their hosting company, but it’s not as common practice.
Google could only integrate so many options so don’t let the fact that your hosting company is not listed here lead you to assume that Google has a preference for any of these companies.
Especially not in a way that translates to your rankings in any way, shape, or form.
Editor’s note: Ask an SEO is a weekly SEO advice column written by some of the industry’s top SEO experts, who have been hand-picked by Search Engine Journal. Got a question about SEO? Fill out our form. You might see your answer in the next #AskanSEO post!