Does Your Web Host Location Matter for Google & SEO?

For many, your online website is the storefront for your business. In these always-online times, businesses have come to rely more on the internet to bring in new customers and grow. 

In order to bring customers to your website however, your website needs to be found by people easily. You’ll already know through personal experience that search engines are how people find websites nowadays. The key to getting your website seen by more people, and getting higher in the search results, is Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO.

There are many factors that Google considers when determining a website’s position in the search rankings – far too many to list here! Some of them are obvious, for example how quickly a website loads will impact the search rankings. Some factors however, are not as obvious.

One of these factors that’s often overlooked is your server location, or where your hosting provider houses their servers. In this blog post, we’re going to take a look at how your web host’s location affects your website’s SEO performance.

What is server location?

Server location is the geographical location of the data centre where your website is hosted. There are thousands of data centres across the world, and usually your hosting provider will utilise a data centre in one location to hold a number of servers. The location of this data centre isn’t related to where you yourself are located – it can be anywhere in the world.

Let’s take our own data centre as an example. Our data centre is located in Maidenhead, United Kingdom. We’ve chosen this location as it’s geographically close to where our customers are typically based – meaning it’s quicker to access our services for UK customers, than if our data centre was based abroad.

But that doesn’t mean that you have to use a data centre based near you. In fact, many hosting providers operate in the US while their customer base is located in the UK. You can utilise a data centre located anywhere, and this is very common for areas that may not have the capabilities to maintain a good data centre.

Using a data centre that’s located very far away from you can cause you some significant problems however. Let’s take a look at exactly what problems you may be faced with, in this type of situation.

Does server location have an impact on my website’s speed?

Every time you access your website, the data is being transferred from the server in the data centre, across the internet, finally reaching your device. Now it’s easy to forget about this whole process, as we’re all used to accessing everything instantly. But when considering website speed, it’s important to take into account the geographical location of the data centre being used.

In short, the answer to the question is yes – your server’s location does indeed have an impact on your website’s speed. When you take into account the process of loading a web page, it becomes easy to see why this is the case.

Let’s put this into an example for the sake of clarity. Say your website is being hosted on a server in the USA, but you’re accessing the website from the United Kingdom. You’ll almost always find that the website will take slightly longer to load, compared to a website on a server in the UK. In short, the further away you are geographically from the data centre, the longer your device will take to fetch the website data.

Being closer to the data centre means that the data from the server can be fetched more quickly, as it doesn’t have a far distance to travel over the internet. The inverse can be said for situations when you’re located far away from the data centre. – Read more

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