If you are looking at exporting, or perhaps you have a business that wants to target a specific country, region or city, then Local SEO is important but the question of whether the geographic location of your website or web host’s server will effect your SEO frequently crops up.
Whilst the short and simple answer to this question is that no your server location doesn’t have a significant effect on your SEO (all other things being equal), there are some reasons why this is the case.
Firstly, Google’s Webmaster Tools allows you (or your SEO / web team) to target your website at a specific country. As internet infrastructure is better in some countries than others, Google sees this as normal practice of doing business on the web in that some people will prefer to have their site load faster out of country than they would have it load slower in country, and as such Google allows for this practice.
Remember Google is trying to find you the best and most relevant website for your given search term and if there is a website better fitting your search but its servers are out of country, it considers the on page data and geographic relevant data more than it does server location.
Putting this in to some further context there are other on-page signals that Google will use to determine where you are targeting your website such as your phone number (and its country and local area code) plus your business addresses on the contact pages, and what language your website is in, etc.
If your server is in the UK, but your site is a .COM or .US or .INC and you have a US phone number and a US business address to target US customers, and your site is in English plus you have geo targeted it in Google’s Webmaster Tools then all things being equal your site should not fair any worse in any way for the exact same site with the above parameters than if it has its server in the US.
These parameters or SEO signals are commonly referred to as Local Ranking Signals.
Local Ranking Signals Checklist
- NAP – do you have local Name, Address and Phone details for your site in the location you are targeting?
- In Country Links. Your website will have a greater link authority if there is a spread of link profiles but you will need to ensure that the greatest number of inbound links is in the same county you are targeting.
- Webmaster Tools – If subdomains or subdirectories are used instead of ccTLDs , or you have a generic ccTLD (country code top level domain) then your search engine’s Webmaster Tools (Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools, Yandex Webmaster Tools) will have an option to geolocate them to target their specific country.
- Know Your Audience. Localise your content and make sure your content is relevant and specific to the target location but also that the correct grammar and syntax are used. Be aware that your product may have different words or meanings in another country or culture so do your homework, For example, ‘pants’ in the UK are underwear whereas in the US pants are what we call trousers.
Edible is a Liverpool based Content Marketing and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) business working with a broad base of clients from sectors such as business to business and business to consumer retail and services, hospitality, manufacturing, research and also financial and professional services.
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