SEO Impact of moving a site's hosting platform from one country to another?

Discussion in 'Search Engine Optimization' started by Fergal, Nov 10, 2010.

  1. Fergal

    Fergal
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    I own a dot com site, that is hosted on a server located in the US. The site has good search engine rankings in Google.com and receives good traffic from the US.

    If I move the site to a server located in Ireland, will the move negatively impact the Google.com search engine rankings and the traffic coming from the US?

    Thanks!
     
  2. PaulPinnacle

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    Changing the country of hosting can have an impact on rankings (that and changing domain names are the two areas where 'moving' can cause issues).

    Is the site 100% targeted to the US market? Or is it an international site where the US just make up a significant portion of traffic?

    In a perfect world, to avoid risks, it'd be preferable to remain with a US based IP (perhaps the Irish host would offer this?). You can still rank fine with a non US based host (focus on building up your link profile in the relevant location, include relevant geolocation targeted content, perhaps target specific subdomains/subdirectories to the region, etc. are all options), but it could certainly cause some fluctuations and something to be avoided if possible.


    (Need to read between the lines a little on this one, but I think his use of the country 'caveat' makes it clear it is a factor)

    [video=youtube;w41dsE87CfY]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w41dsE87CfY[/video]
     
  3. Fergal

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    Thanks Paul, that's very helpful. I do enjoy Matt Cutts' videos, they are very informative and he gets the message across in a very clear and concise way.
     
  4. DARTN

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    I have done this in the past already. But I did not see any decrease in the traffic trend, the only important thing is that the links should not be changed. If the links are changed then all the organic traffic will drop and bounce rate will increase for the traffic coming from the rest of the sources.

    My very first web server was in India and then i transferred to the server in Canada and then again to a server located in Texas, US, none of it affected the traffic until i changed the website. First it was custom made in ASP but then i installed wordpress and my traffic dropped to 0. It was my worst mistake and i learned a lot of things from it.
     
  5. Fergal

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    Thanks for sharing that experience with us DARTN. It's comforting to hear that the server location can be changed without negatively impacting on SEO.
     
  6. PaulPinnacle

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    Just to be clear, while it might not have impacted in this case, it can (and has) on others.

    There is very little information given by DARTN in respect of the site in question.

    If it has a ccTLD, the hosting location isn't really relevant (the only issue there is that a local host may [assuming they're of a similar quality] give faster page loads to local users), so would have a negligible impact. If the site has a gTLD but has been geotargeted via webmaster tools, again, the impacts of the hosting IP are non existent. In a case where the site has a gTLD and doesn't have any geotargeting set, the IP of the hosting is the main signal the search engines will rely on to identify which geolocation the site is aimed at and thus where a site receives a boost in searches from that geolocation.

    Depending on your niche/the various other factors, these changes may not be enough to impact on your SERPs and hence your traffic (which could explain DARTN's findings, if none of the other factors above were at play). In other cases, it might be enough to drop you from #1 to #3 (or worse) and have a dramatic impact on traffic.

    As an aside, most high quality hosting companies do provide IP subnets in various countries to accommodate users with just this type of need. As an FYI for Fergal, I happened to be speaking to a few developers from a very well known Irish host (you know the one) at a conference on Saturday who confirmed that they offer US IP's on request (despite it not being easily identifiable on the site) should it ever be needed.
     
  7. Fergal

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    Thanks for clarifying all that Paul, that's very useful SEO info for anyone considering moving host.
     

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