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I also host in Canada but target US search terms. However, it turns out that the IP addresses I have from my datacenter are actually US :), they're assigning them I guess from their US company. So, cool.
But now I think about it, maybe this explains why my Canadian clients do so well on google.com, but a bit less well on google.ca. Hmmmmm.....
Sites hosted on US servers are not given a boost in Google.com and there is no Google.us so if you are targeting US keywords it does not matter where a site is hosted - the results are the same when searching on Google.com
What you're implying (that location of your host doesn't matter) is in direct contradiction to what the google tech told me.
However I don't think it matters much. But that I don't really know how much, mostly speculating.
I read the title of the post. And that's the exact case I asked the Google tech, because it's my exact situation (or I thought it was when I assumed my toronto data center had a Canadian IP). And he disagreed with you.
I'm a belgian user and use google.be. Google.be shows more results from be, nl, de (the neighbouring countries) than when I search with google.com. So being not located in on of these neighbouring countries hurts when I search with google.be. Hosting in the US hurts when I search with google.be.
Apply the same for canada: searching with google.ca -> being hosted in the US probably hurts when people search with google.ca. Not when they seach with google.com.
We moved to a dedicated server in the USA, about a week ago. I expect our rank on the US site to improve.
Regardless, MSN does geotarget by ISP location, so its always best to host from the country you are most interested in getting sales from.
I should know in about 6 weeks, if changing the ISP to the USA made a difference, and I post my findings.
I have sites hosted in the US that target Canadian keywords and rank at the top of MSN (both .com and .ca) and vice versa. I see no difference in MSN or Google
There is Im sure a trend towards promotional of
" regional sites " . Where its hosted is definatley a part of it, but not all. Perhaps most of your IBLīs are from Canadian IP s which has a greater positive effect on your rank than the slight negative being hosted out of town might have?
It could also be of course that you have no "regional competition "? Where are the sites that you compete with in .ca hosted / what is their tld?
I would not have many backlinks from .ca sites either - most are from US based sites using .com