How the Web Host Server Location affects Your Website SEO
What are the factors to consider before choosing a web host for your website; would you be more concerned about the location of server and does it affect your website’s ranking on search engines?
If you’ve ever asked any, or all of the above questions, then this post is for you as it got the answers. While there are several thousands of web hosts, all providing similar product and services at almost same prices, your choice is one important factor that can make or mar your online business.
Your website is essentially your business’ storefront. And the tool needed to get customers, sort of directing traffic at a crowded junction down to your store is SEO (Search Engine Optimization). The big question remains, does web server location affect website SEO?
So, it is highly recommended to weigh the available options before finally settling for a web hosting service, that you might not get to regret it.
But before we delve right into the main topic, it is pertinent that we take a quick look at what is a web server and then, how a server location can affect website SEO.
What is a Web Server?
A web server is simply a combination of software, or hardware that is dedicated to running the resources that can deliver requests made by World Wide Web client. Mainly, the resources run by a web server contain one or more websites, and it processes the incoming network requests over HTTP and several other protocols.
And the primary function is the storing, processing and delivering web pages to clients. While the communication between client and server uses the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), with pages delivered mostly HTML documents, including scripts, style sheets, and images in addition to text content.
The most common client, been a user agent, comprising the web browser or web crawler, which initiates communication by requesting for a specific resource using the HTTP, and web server will respond with the content of the resource or if unable to access the content, it returns an error message.
About The Web Server Location
The Server location is the geographical area where the data center is hosted. And the location can be anywhere, but hosting on US or UK located server is good if your audience are in those regions, otherwise it increases the distance between the server location and that of your customers.
If the server location is a long distance from the user, it increases the time required to fetch data whenever a user requests for it.
For instance, if your audience reside in the UK and but your web host have their server in the US, it means that getting response from the server to your website will take a longer time, than say, it is hosted in the UK.
What this means is that if your site target users from just one country, it is most recommended to have your web host server in the country. But that is a different story if your website is targeting visitors from all over the world.
What Web Server Location means for your Website
If someone visits your website it passes from the server location down to the visitors location. So it is important to make sure your web host have servers in your main targeted regions, as the closer to the users, the fastest and more efficient to reach the destination.
According to Google, the average web users does not wait for slow-loading websites to finish loading, they simply abandon the site altogether.
The servers will always take a certain amount of time to process a request it receives from a visitor and this time is known as its latency. It increases more when the servers are located on a different location from the web user.
Nowadays, it is wise to choose same location of web server as your target audience, and it is very important as it used to rank your site; with major search engines like Google and Bing, now allowing website owners to set target country in their respective webmaster tools. If you need assistant you can employ the help of SEO Consultant to solve your website ranking problems.
Also, if the site is using country TLD (like co.uk, which is for the United Kingdom), it can’t change to another target country as the TLD is already set to a country, the UK.
How Web Server Location affects SEO
As we’ve said before, the server location is taken into consideration by the major search engines. If a server is located in the United States and your site is meant for users in the United Kingdom, then you’ll most necessarily need to set ‘United Kingdom’ in Google webmaster tools as target country.
That will negatively affect your site ranking because the latency will increase, but let’s assume your host server is located in the UK, just as you target audience, then the search engines will generally assume that your site will respond faster, as such will rank it higher in that region.
So, it is very necessary to have your host web server in the UK, if you are using a co.uk domain as your target country it’s automatically set as United Kingdom by the search engines.
It is obviously your choice of web host provider, the server locations and type of hosting you choose which determines your page load time. We recommend having your site server set up at a location that will afford your users faster access to your site. As the server latency & response time plays crucial role in your site’s Search Engine ranking.
And since geographical-targeting is now at TLD itself, it’s either you go for country-level TLD (like co.uk, .uk, etc.) or generic TLD (.com, .net, or .org, etc.), if you want to rank for these locations as it’s automatically set on the Webmaster tools.
Besides location, other factors too like the quality of data centre, and some technical aspects of the web hosting, with software and plugins on your website, also affect the site loading speed which may eventually impact the SEO.