Internet Marketing Ninjas Blog

What country is your site hosted in?

As you may recall, several weeks ago I purchased a handful of old domains and we’ve been uploading some additional content on them.

One of these sites has been getting tons of traffic from Google….but not from google.com, from google.ca.

So in doing a bit of research (www.whois.sc) I found that the site is hosted in Canada….thus it ranks much better in Google.ca, and doesn’t rank for squat in google.com. So I’m going to wait another few weeks, and then move the hosting to somewhere in the US (I want to change things slowly for these newly purchased old domains).

This is an important point, in that I think that few people realize that Where Your Site is Hosted (country) can have a great impact on your rankings. Google has already stated that they tend to give a boost to sites in the country that the domain is hosted in. I’ve consulted with people from all over the world, and one of my questions to them is "What country is your biggest target market", followed by "where is your domain hosted (country)?" for if your domain is hosted in Italy (since that’s where you’re from), and your main market is in the US, then you should move your domain to a host within the US.

Also if you’re getting cheap hosting, and it happens to be hosted in say India, then you’re adpt to rank higher in India, and lower in the US.

***added – some people think that it’s the domain extention that counts…ie, .co.uk, .ca, etc….but it’s NOT…it’s all Where it’s Hosted…NOT the domain extention.

Something to think about.

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7 Responses

  1. This is a very acute issue in the UK, where UK-only searches on Google UK prefer UK IP’s.

    Target market is definitely important – the US is very good for cheap hosting, and I’ll use it for general sites – but for hitting the UK verticals it requires UK hosting.

  2. I’m not sure you are following this correctly – hosting location doesn’t matter for the main google.com rankings – rankings in eg .ca may be better because there is less competition, but moving the hosting won’t affect the rankings in the main index (assuming equally competent hosting before and after the move).
    For example – I had a .com hosted in Canada until recently. I ranked in .ca, local, (which was amusing, as an Australian company) and quite well in google.com and not at all in .au, local.
    I moved the hosting to an Australian host a few months ago. I saw immediate results in .au, almost immediate disappearance from the .ca results and no change in my google.com results.
    For reasons beyond my comprehension, there is no local-search for the US (unless you count the actual Local results)

    YMMV, but my experience is that hosting location does Not affect the main index results for any of the engines.

    (sidenote, brisn: you dont have to get a UK IP address – its enough to get a .uk domain name, and host it anywhere)

  3. Hmm, and when I actually read the entirety of the post I note that you dont think that domain names matter.
    Can I ask where you get this from, Jim?
    My experience in this area is with .au domains, and I have found that I can host .au domains in the States and appear in google.com.au, local, successfully and I can host .coms in AU and appear ditto.
    I havent used uk domain names, but I had assumed and heard that the rules were the same.

  4. Gerald,
    Most of the backlinks are from the US…but again, it’s where the site is hosted…it’s hosted in Canada, so it ranks higher in google.ca.

    Lea, to answer where I get this from…I get this from specifically asking Matt Cutts last year at a conference.

    If you’re hosting the site in the USA, then you get a “boost” in the google.com results….if your site is hosted in the UK, then you get a “boost” in the google.co.uk, if you site is hosted in australia, then you get a boost in google.com.au

    The domain extention (.com, .co.uk, .com.au, .pl, .biz, .cc, .tv, etc does NOT matter….it’s all WHERE its Hosted. Where ever it’s hosted, you’ll get better rankings in that specific google country search.

    Unless anything has changed since I spoke with Matt, this is the case.

  5. Well, thats from the horse’s mouth, isn’t it!
    But, empirically, I have .au domains that I host in the states and they appear in the google.com.au ‘pages from Australia’ results.
    It has to come from the domain name, because nothing else differentiates them from the .com domains on the same hosting which *don’t* appear in google.com.au (pfA) results.
    I can’t reconcile your good (!!) information with my experience, and I have to assume that it maps to eg. .uk domains.
    But note: its not a ‘boost’ that I am referring to, its appearing *at all*. You have to have (to take AU as an example) a .au domain name, and/or Australian hosting to appear *at all* in google.com.au (pages from Australia)
    Is it possible that Matt was telling you that .com.aus hosted in Australia do better than those which aren’t? and thus he mentioned a ‘boost’?
    I’ll be bloody pissed if he was, as hosting is so much more expensive here! (Excuse my language, but thats really going to anger a lot of people! Want good rankings? Pay the ranking tax! ๐Ÿ™ ) That would be absolutely ridiculous. Hosting here makes a site *more* Australian? Preposterous!
    Damn, I really don’t want to pay extra for hosting of something to check this… ๐Ÿ™

  6. Have often wondered about the .com index.

    My perception has always been that google.com is not Google US, but Google Global. It would be interesting if US hosted sites did get a boost simply by being US hosted.

    In my experience, TLD takes precedence over server location, but both can influence regional search.

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