Your website’s online presence is largely dependent on web hosting, and the quality of web hosting is essential to its ongoing availability. SEO and website speed are important factors that determine a site’s success. However, the physical location of the hosting servers is one factor that frequently goes overlooked but has a big impact on performance. A website’s search engine rankings and loading speed may be impacted by the server location.
We’ll look at how server location affects SEO and website performance in this article. We’ll look at the variables that affect user experience and website speed and go into more detail about how server location affects local visibility and search engine rankings.
Why Does the Location of the Server Matter?
A server is a specialized computer used to store data and provide services to users and computer programs. The server receives requests from users for data and responds to them.
For a physical server to function properly, hardware and software resources must be available.
Server’s hardware component:
- Connectivity Adapters
- Hard Drives
- Power Supply Units
Server’s software component:
- Operating System (Linux, Windows, macOS, Unix, Ubuntu, etc.)
- Server Application
How Do SEO and Website Performance Affect Server Location?
The physical location of the servers that house the data for your website is referred to as the “server location.” The performance of your website is directly impacted by these servers’ proximity to your users. To put it simply, latency increases with server distance from users, which causes slower page loads and lower user engagement.
Additionally, the server response time is influenced by the location of your hosting servers. Faster response times and a more seamless browsing experience are achieved by using servers located closer to your target audience. Choosing the best hosting location for a website with a global user base is essential to ensuring minimal latency for users all over the world.
When you use your browser to access a website’s content, Google uses Time to First Byte (TTFB), which is a variable that can take anywhere from a few milliseconds to several minutes for the website to respond. The time it takes a web server to react to your request and send the first byte of data to your browser is known as TTFB. The geographical location of the server has a big impact on speed and, in turn, the website’s TTFB.
Let’s compare the delay in data transfer between two different geographical locations to see how distance can affect speed. The next two pictures show how many “hops” (i.e., locations our data has to travel through) and how long it takes a user to travel between these two points in order to access Harvard University’s main website. Tracing the requested route from the western region of Asia and another in America reveals that the main servers for Harvard University are located in Boston, Massachusetts, in the northeastern United States. This demonstrates how location and speed interact: the closer a user is to this location, the fewer data hops their request will need to make.
Latency and Website Speed
The amount of time that data needs to travel back and forth is largely dependent on the geographical distance between the server and website visitors. Longer distances typically result in higher latency and slower website loading times. By reducing latency, having a server near your target audience improves user experience, speeds up page loads, and may even boost search engine rankings.
Content delivery and server location are closely related. Websites that cater to a global audience must use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) or strategically place servers across different regions. This method makes it easier for users to receive content from the closest server, reducing latency, improving website performance, and ensuring quicker loading times regardless of the visitor’s location.
SEO rankings are affected by server location
Lowering bounce rates is directly impacted by improving page speed. Bounce rates, also called single-page sessions, are the percentage of visitors who land on a page of a website but leave right away without making any more requests.
The bounce rate of websites with slow loading times will go up. For instance, a 32% increase in the bounce rate can result from a page load time increase from 1 to 3 seconds.
Additionally, a faster page greatly improves the user experience as a whole. Longer dwell times are observed on websites that load quickly (the time users spend on a web page).
Additionally, websites that load more quickly are easier for search engine crawlers to access; crawling is how search engines find updated content, such as new webpages, websites, or updates to already-existing content. In order to guarantee accurate indexing and ranking, website crawlers and bots should routinely visit your website.
There is a relationship among SEO rankings, server location, and site speed. Target regions can be chosen by search engines, allowing for geo-targeting and the use of region-specific keywords. Your website’s loading speed can be significantly improved with a server hosting location that is well-suited.
How do you choose the ideal site for your hosting (server)?
- Identify Your Target Audience:Determine the main geographical areas that your target audience resides in. For instance, locate your server in a data center in a major European city like Frankfurt or Amsterdam if the majority of the visitors to your website are from Europe.
- Leverage Content Delivery Networks (CDNs):By using CDNs, you can distribute the content of your website to multiple servers located all over the world. Using a CDN, for example, can help deliver content from servers located in the US, Asia, and Europe to your global e-commerce site, ensuring faster loading times for users in each region.
- Assess Data Center Quality:Look for reliable data centers with excellent connectivity and a strong infrastructure. Modern data centers can offer network redundancy and consistent performance for your server.
- Conduct Server Response Time Tests:Before choosing the location, you can use tools like Pingdom or GTMetrix to perform server response time tests from different regions.
- Consider Scalability and Redundancy:Select a hosting company that offers redundancy and scalable solutions.
How Server Location Is Interpreted by Search Engines
Certain standards have been set by search engines such as Google for ranking websites. The website’s relevancy, usability, the quality of information sources, location, and user settings are just a few of the many variables that their search algorithms take into account.
Search engines, like Google and Bing, have embraced geo-targeting as part of a more global strategy. Webmaster tools are used by companies with foreign servers to identify a target nation.
Search engines will take into account additional elements like the server’s IP address, backlinks, and content for ranking purposes if you still need to specify a target country.
Notably, Google now gives server location less weight than ccTLDs (country code top-level domains). Relevance is given priority in Google search results. Thus, if your website targets a particular area, you will probably rank higher.
However, the location of the server is still important for site performance and response times, which have a big impact on user experience.
Geo-Targeting and its Importance
A paid advertising strategy called geo-targeting, also known as local pay-per-click (PPC), focuses on a specific audience within a predetermined geographic area. In essence, it is providing users with content according to their actual location.
With the help of this advertising strategy, marketers can reach specific individuals in a given geographic area with tailored content and ads. Geo-targeting is preferred by businesses that depend heavily on in-person customer visits.
Geo-targeting is based on the notion that companies can increase sales by effectively reaching the right customer at the right time with the most relevant message if they have historical or current location data.
The location of a consumer must be taken into account when displaying advertisements or promotions. This frequently results in pointless clicks and impressions, which drain a large amount of the marketing budget. Thus, geo-targeting offers an economical way to allocate marketing budget more effectively.
What Role Does DNS Service Play in SEO?
A Domain Name System (DNS) can affect SEO results in a number of ways. While some of these factors are obvious, others might be easier to understand. Let’s examine each of them separately.
Site loading speed
The DNS procedure happens before a website loads in a user’s browser. As was already mentioned, DNS resolution can add to the overall visitor experience, but it can also take a while. User experience can be greatly impacted by the difference between using a reputable DNS provider with an average global delay of about 20 milliseconds and relying solely on the domain registrar, which could result in delays of 200 to 500 milliseconds.
DNS outages can negatively affect the search engine optimization of your website. Search bots report problems when they are unable to access your website. This causes the indexing of new pages to be delayed and adversely impacts the overall availability of your website, which may cause a drop in search engine ranking.
You can set up name servers by using the multiple points of presence (PoPs) that a DNS provider can provide. Because it shortens the path between the visitors and the name servers, this method dramatically increases the speed for visitors. PoPs with thirty or more are far more superior than those with just a few, resulting in higher availability and performance.
To prevent noticeable disruptions for users and search engine bots, it is imperative to follow the correct procedures when executing a DNS migration. If the TTL values of the previous DNS records are excessively high, issues could occur. Under such circumstances, these DNS records might stay for a long time in the DNS caches of recursive name servers. These caches will keep pointing to the old address until they are updated, which could cause outages.
Measure Network Latency
One popular tool for measuring latency that can be used on many different operating systems is Ping. It determines the round-trip time (RTT) between your computer and an IP address or domain that you designate as the precise destination. RTT measures the total delay in getting a reply from a server, PC, router, or website. It is calculated as the time it takes for the ping packet to travel to its destination and then return with the response.
Traceroute finds intermediate routers between a source and a destination by utilizing the Time to Live (TTL) value in IP packets. By doing this, it determines the latency at each network path hop and assigns an IP address to each one. This method provides a deeper comprehension of the origin of network latency problems.
The performance and SEO of a website are greatly influenced by the server location. Improved user experience and quicker loading times are the results of hosting a server close to the intended audience. Furthermore, network traffic routes are impacted by server location decisions, which can also have a big impact on website speed and connectivity. Important considerations for SEO server location optimization include DNS resolution times, availability, multiple locations, and appropriate DNS migration. This guarantees fewer interruptions and improved site functionality.