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How important is it to be hosted in the country you're targeting?

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by Ghoast, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. Ghoast

    Ghoast Power Member

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    Just wanted to hear your experience with hosting sites in different countries.

    If you're targeting US searches then does it help a lot to be hosted in the US?

    Is there a huge gain, minimal gain or is it negligible?
     
  2. crazy4cs

    crazy4cs Junior Member

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    It's quite surprising that you asked this.

    This was a subject of mine today for the whole day long. I spent nearly close to 6 hours researching and putting things together. Coming to conclusion on such topics where there are conspiracies everywhere is definitely a nasty job, I agree.

    However, as far as my understanding goes, and from what I learnt from today's experience and research of mine, I have concluded some things or stuff that you may find helpful.

    So while I was researching today, I found THREE (3) factors that Google may or can use to determine how useful a particular site maybe for that region:

    1. The TLD or ccTLD of the domain. Examples are .us, .co.uk, .in, etc of ccTLD (i.e. Country Code Top Level Domain) or TLDs like .com, .org, .net, etc.

    Now, these are useful for a search engine to gather more information about a particular site. Especially if you have a ccTLD, a search engine (Google for sure, as they say in their webmaster policies too) target or set or give your domain more preference for that geographical location automatically.

    2. Now here comes the second case.

    If you do not have a ccTLD and top level domain (TLD) instead, and are targeting a particular country where most of your traffic originates from, you can do so by going to Webmaster Tools (Google) and set your preferred country or location for that domain.

    3. Here comes a problem and twist because of #2.

    We just discussed above, but honestly, how many of here would do that? Especially for the "fast" sites that are solely created to make money and not for making it branded? So if latter is the case, I guess you would not use Google Webmaster tools for such site as well.

    So what can one do now? Or let me rephrase it properly...what a SEARCH ENGINE would do or how it would figure out where to target your site?

    We are not giving search engines any information because of the above 2-3 reasons by which it can analyse that "oh okay, this site is suitable for this country because of so and so reasons".

    Now, here comes a part where I strongly believe your SERVER LOCATION plays an important role. Search engines because of all above reasons is not likely to have all the data they need and so I personally believe and I think it also makes common sense that in this case - they will use the server IP or server location of your site to make the best assumption or guesses.

    So I believe that is where you should try to get a server in the region you are targeting or nearby to it if you are not providing search engines already with the needed information or via Google Webmaster tools.

    I was confused too and the reason of writing such a detailed post and spending a mad over 6 hours today was the sole reason that I was kind of frustrated too. I have a server in Europe, I had a site 1 which was in around 4th page on USA server (primary traffic was from US) and as soon as I moved to Europe, it tanked and got over 15+ pages - I could not figure out back then.

    And the latest site - Some close to 2 months old. Everything was proper, on Europe server too. Major visits for that keywords is from USA. For over 2 months and despite of good onpage and off-page SEO, I am still not able to rank past 5th page. And I saw a new guy on the block, which is less than a month old securing the #3 spot and I was like...MAN, come on!

    And that's where I began all this research. I found on 1st page, all the top guys above the fold, i.e. 1-5th position guys - all had hosting in USA for this niche. And the last guy which stays like 11-12 since couple of days has a ccTLD and hosts in Europe and is even older than me slightly but still couldn't secure the top spot.

    So that definitely got me going to think something was cooking up. And I can see many making the same theories.

    So ideally, if you are using Google Webmaster tools to set a target country, or either have a ccTLD, I wouldn't worry much. But if you are skipping both of them, search engines, I believe will have very little data to rely on and in that case I believe - their best bet would be to go with the server location of your domain.

    Hope that helps!
     
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  3. rodvan

    rodvan Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Definetely.
    Also the local domains for each country.
    Also register your Google/Bing/Alexa Webmaster tools as your targeted country.
    Good luck.
     
  4. innozemec

    innozemec Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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  5. alessbj

    alessbj Junior Member

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    Would it be the same thing to pay for a CDN than manually host the website in different countries and ccTLD?
     
  6. tony_d

    tony_d Elite Member

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    I've wondered, and tested, the same thing in months gone by... I've concluded there is not a measurable difference.
     
  7. crazy4cs

    crazy4cs Junior Member

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    CDN is good and can give user a good experience (I use it too!) but if majority of your traffic comes from a particular region, I would personally try to get a server to nearby location and then use CDN on it so it gives a pleasant experience to your nearby users and even users from different far away countries. So it's a pretty much win-win situation.
     
  8. ThopHayt

    ThopHayt Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Many reasons, short answer is yes though. And pick a good reputable host.