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Physical location of server

Does it affect PR and ranking?

     
6:06 pm on Nov 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I'm currently running my sites on a server physically located in the US (Ie, IP range is US). As the server is quite expensive, I'm thinking of moving to a cheaper area, like Russia (very cheap servers there).

Question is, does the physical location of a server affect rankings in G?

9:41 pm on Nov 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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The answer is definitely YES. If your audience is in the US keep your server location within the US. If you will move your server to Russia you can say goodbye to all your US visitors as your website will not show in Google.com
9:47 pm on Nov 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Not true - you will continue to show in google.com and ALSO in the Russian version of Google.

However, there may be other factors to consider - language (for support), up time, response time for US visitors, etc.

9:49 pm on Nov 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Just for clarification, I noticed in the description (second line) of this thread that you mentioned PR. No, PR itself is not affected by any factor other than links.
8:57 am on Nov 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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"Not true - you will continue to show in google.com and ALSO in the Russian version of Google"

Google ranks site according to the visitor location and the server location. (its in their help files) So hosting a site in Russia will not do any good if your visitors are coming from the US. You might show up in Google.com but very deep in serps. The only way for a Russian hosted site to do very good in google.com serps is if it is a authority site in its field and even that will not guarantee first spots.

Webwalla, if you want to contradict me come with an proof saying "not true" and misleading other members is not a good practice.

1:16 pm on Nov 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Changing the location of the server will hurt you.

The location of the server is one more factor in your rank in addition to better performance for your USA clients (if your are looking for the user friendly reason).

7:35 pm on Nov 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Google ranks site according to the visitor location and the server location. (its in their help files)

News to me. Please show me where

come with an proof

Do a search for "government" - see all those foreign sites? Do a search for "britain". See the 1st site, hosted in the UK? Do a search for Spain. See the 1st site, hosted in Spain? The examples are too numerous to mention.

9:42 pm on Nov 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Webwalla,

I am too lazy to find it...sorry.

But I found a replay from Vanessa Fox when someone asked why his site after moving to a US hosted server do not show on Google UK.
In her answer you can see that Google do determine rank according to your server location (as one factor out of many)

"the move to a US-based server potentially why your site is
no longer in the UK listings."
&
"For .com domains, we rely on the location of the IP address. My best
suggestions (although either may be difficult) would be to either
switch the server back to a UK-based IP or move your site to a .co.uk
domain (and redirect the .com to it). "

9:53 pm on Nov 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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asher02 - she is referring to the server location for UK sites, when searching in the local UK Google. She is saying that if no .uk tld is available (.com sites) then they have to rely on the server location to determine if the site is a UK one or not. Obviously, here the server location has an effect because UK-based sites are given a bias in the UK Google.

But in google.com there is no such bias, and UK located sites (and sites elsewhere) compete on equal terms with sites located in the US.

12:17 am on Nov 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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asher02: you are completely wrong, my server is based in Europe, I make sites for google.com and get tons of traffic.
4:22 pm on Nov 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I have a .co.uk domain hosted in the UK and the little map of the globe on the Analytics Executive Overview looks like someone took aim at the Earth with a shotgun from the Moon.
5:56 pm on Nov 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thez

Absolutely Yes! Make sure your server is in the USA if that is where your customers are!

I will give you a real live experience that I had.

I had a server located in Germany.....after a few months I was listed number one (#1) for a very comeptitive keyword on Google Germany index. However nowhere to be found on Google USA index.

I realized then that Google does take this into account. I changed to a server to the US, then suddenly I was no where to be found for my main keyword on Google Germany and started to rank better on Google US.

In conclusion, if you want to rank well for customer in the US take everything into account such as servers, ip address, domains etc....into account.

6:59 pm on Nov 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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JoeHouse: I don't believe the ranking problem appeared because your server was located in Germany.
8:18 pm on Nov 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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SEOPTI

I know it sounds crazy but that is what happened. Why would Google Germany have me number 1 and Google US no where. With everything else being equal the only difference was the server location.

Within weeks of changing server location to a US server rankings changed almost immediately. Not only on Google but all the only major search engines as well.

So Yes it does make a difference! It's another one of Google factors that is considered as to where you rank and what country you are looking to rank in!

8:36 pm on Nov 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It surprises me that Google are trying to bias results towards people's geographic location. When I search Google, I'm generally looking for good information rather than a local directory.

We are a small New Zealand company with good sales in the US. It would be even better if the people over there could find us!

We have a .com website and a .co.nz domain, which has a 301 redirect to the .com. Our IP addres is New Zealand, but our website is hosted by an American company, whose server I think is in Hong Kong. The website has been going for five years and is quite well established, so it would be risky to change anything now.

Here are the results I get today:

Search term Google.co.nz Google.com
widget 9 432
large widget 3 11

Adding the keyword "large" makes quite a difference, but is a secondary issue. I just mention it to show that we can rank in
Google.com.

9:45 pm on Nov 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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If you are located outside US use a proxy to check your rankings on google.com, You will see that there is no difference.

[edited by: SEOPTI at 9:45 pm (utc) on Nov. 9, 2006]

10:47 pm on Nov 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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This should be easy to prove.

Everyone take the 10 ten listings in your focus and check and see if any of them have an IP in a different country.

11:32 pm on Nov 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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What about ranking for a range of countries. Take a Spanish language site. If it is hosted in Spain, will it still rank for Mexico or Argentina, or any other Spanish speaking country?
12:28 am on Nov 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

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However, there may be other factors to consider - language (for support), up time, response time for US visitors, etc.

Response time is something one should definitely consider, even if moving a server to another provider in the same country. Poor connectivity can lead to poor response time for users and crawlers (the latter of which can affect rankings).

2:42 am on Nov 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

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In addition to possible loss of visibility in Google, I'd expect that lots of sites in the US are blocked from access to broad ranges of IP addresses in Europe / Russia.

Does anyone have any statistics of how many users / sites in the US are blocking access to broad IP block ranges in countries such as Russia?

If I remember correctly, V#*$!xxn was blocking most if not all of Europe and their customers could not even exchange email. Might this translate also into the average ISP doing blocking?

11:42 pm on Nov 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Does anyone have any statistics of how many users / sites in the US are blocking access to broad IP block ranges in countries such as Russia?

You might try the anti-spam groups. However, this is primarily email blocking. In the AdWords, AdSense and spidering forums, I've seen mention of blocking of large IP ranges from places like Russia, India, and China, because they are (or are rumored to be) havens for botnets and other fraud-generating malware. A risk to broad-based IP blocking is that not only does one shut out legitimate users from those places, IP addresses change hands, even moving to other countries which may have less fraud and/or more legit users.

7:36 am on Nov 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thez,

I have been bitten by that "location of the server" thing too...

I have a real example of the issue.

I have a site that is made for users in Turkey and i am hosting my website in US. (I didn't know that it would effect my rankings before i started my site.)

I rank 1st on google.com on my most competitive 2-3 keywords.

I rank 4th - 6th on google.com.tr on those same keywords.

I guess that explains the effect...

(I figured the reason after reading these posts by the way)

11:26 pm on Nov 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Server location and .tld affect rankings without a doubt! If you want to rank properly in ,for example, Germany you should have a .de domain or be hosted in Germany. It is much easier to rank well this way.
11:27 am on Nov 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Take a Spanish language site. If it is hosted in Spain, will it still rank for Mexico or Argentina, or any other Spanish speaking country?

Yes, but only if the searcher uses the first 2 options available on those sites (translated to English: pages from the "Web" & "pages in Spanish").

The third option specifies that only pages from the local country should be returned, and so of course here a page hosted in Spain shouldn't appear.

7:18 am on Nov 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Depending on the query there can be huge differences in the Serps:

Take a search for "computer" in Google.fr and compare it with Google.com

Location, language and Google.tld all can mix up things.

I think Google tweaked up the Geotargetting this March or so and recently another tweak.

Search.msn overdid this geotargetting in my opinion, now it seems Google is following.

There are plenty of purely informational queries where geolocation should play no role, yet Google.ch will show a different set than Google.de.

I thought the "pages from the UK" radio button option was meant for that.

10:43 am on Nov 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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So to sum this up, I'm better off having the server in the US.

Just an idea: If I had various domains from various countries, hosted the domains in servers located in these countries and just put a redirect from these to my .com domain, would this increase rankings in G for these countries?

9:33 am on Nov 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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We host our site in Canada, but our site is about Spain. We rank well in Google.com and in other local Googles, but I suspect we might rank a little better in the UK if we were hosted there. Also the response time might be better for UK clients that way. We could also consider hosting in Spain. But at the end of the day, we like our hosting company, their reliability and responsiveness. Losing that would probably hurt us more than we might gain.

BUT the main point is that we DO rank well in local searches too, because we have strong content related to the topic, and our topic is an international one. If we were just focused on the UK I would be happier being hosted in the UK