I think it is a fairly big factor starting about 8 months ago -- we had a site that ranked well for keyword keyword city province and it tanked right after we moved it to a server in Texas.
Other clients targetting keyword outside North America Country, hosting in the US rank on MSN and Y but nowhere on G. I have noticed competiting sites that used to rank well no longer rank as well but still rank for a few keywords where they are hosted outside the country the keywords target.
I would be very interested in a solution.
I'm not sure it is a big factor actually.
We host in Texas - but Google says we are a UK site.
Our news reporting focus though is global.
If you are not using a country-specific domain name, for searches that are country-specific, the host's location will be used.
I argued some time ago that a meta tag is required to identify geolocation but, so far as I am aware, search engines/W3C haven't bothered to choose one...... crazy.
Thank you all for your inputs. I think a switch back to Canadian host at this time will be interesting as we are getting more traffic from US (not interested) - need to get those canadian visitors back. I'll keep you updated.
I have tested this, it matters for MSN, not really for G. I compared top 10 results by IP/Location/Domain, and could not find a big difference.
|If you are not using a country-specific domain name, for searches that are country-specific, the host's location will be used. |
Kaled... can you elaborate a little? If www.example.net (not country specific domain), which is a site about Swedish tourism (country specific searches), is hosted in the UK, then "the host's location will be used"
What exactly does that mean and what are the implications for search results in Google?
Well if neither the TLD (.uk etc) or the phsyical server location identify the site as Sweedish, then Google might be able to work it out from the page contents, but you're not giving them the big clues, if you see what I mean.
Searching google for "pages from the uk" tends to return .uks and .coms located in the UK - because that's what google can work out without a problem.
There is a trend to having sites located in the target country. For example if you are a large company that has operations in the US and in Canada, you will want a mirror site in Canada.
Most of the search engines will use a combination of factors but one of the important ones is the IP address allocation by country. When IP addresses were first handed out certain blocks were identified with certain countries. This got a bit muddied by people selling their allocations to people in other countries but by and large it is still a pretty good indicator of where a page may be coming from.
The Canadian situation is a bit interesting in that if a company is using Canadian identified IP's they will get a boost in the Canadian version of Google and so far I have seen no evidence that it costs them any rank in the US results. Best of both worlds maybe!
>I have seen no evidence that it costs them any rank in the US results.
What US results? None exist as far as I know except the hardly used Google Uncle Sam search.
Google.ca - Canadian results
Google.com - World results but weighted towards the US
I think that server location *is* important, at least when not using a ccTLD such as '.uk', and have mirrors in the US and UK (and shortly, AU, for the Asia-Pac area).
Google should totally add geolocation into sitemaps. I'd sign up for that in shot if they did.
|then Google might be able to work it out from the page contents, but you're not giving them the big clues, if you see what I mean. |
If I use titles that accurately indicate the page topic, meta tags that properly describe the page content and use well constructed content with the appropriate key words and anchor text..... then Google knows darn well what the page is all about.
Having the site hosted in the topic country doesn't seem to add anything to what Google already knows about the site pages.
Any definitive data on this? Are there any other reasons why a UK topic site should be hosted in the UK, a Swedish topic site hosted in Sweden etc etc.
I have switched back to Canadian host, I have seen some progress in canadian visitors coming back from search engines. It's too early to tell. Today for example - it's 50/50.
One reason the SEs may do this, other than topic, is so that the SE user gets good performance from the site they visit, which is more likely for a "close" site.
If your a UK site and have a .co.uk it does not matter. (Same goes for CA I guess).
If you are UK site and have .com then you will not show up in the "pages from the uk" radial box option on Google unless you host in the UK (not just a UK company many of them have servers in USA for much, much, much, much cheaper bandwith!)
I had a client running a .com domain based in the UK that featured well in google.co.uk for generic terms for consumer widgets in a competitive market.
To save money they changed hosts and, although they thought they were dealing with a UK host, they ended up on a German server. Their positions tanked in the UK Google.
They them moved back to a UK server and their positions returned almost overnight.
Thats enough to make me believe that the physical location of the server matters.