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What impact does website’s server location have on rankings?

A question that comes up frequently is “What impact does website’s server location have on rankings?”

To clarify, website’s server location refers to the physical geographic location of the server where your website files are saved. For example, if your website is hosted with GoDaddy, then the server is likely located in Arizona, USA, hence your website files are physically stored there.

When it comes to search engine optimization, especially for location based businesses, how does the location of the website server affect the rankings of the website for that location? For example, does a Toronto-based website that serves customers in Toronto perform better then an Arizona-based website server that serves customers in Toronto?

Although Google keeps changing how it ranks websites, Matt Cutts from Google, answered this question several times over the past few years:

From our experience, having a website hosted in the same country and even in the same city where your business is operating, has a positive impact on the rankings of the website. In particular, because a server that is closer to your business customers’ location, will load faster and thus create a better user experience. According to Google, ‘Page Speed’ is a ranking factor for several years now.

There are many ‘cheap’ hosting providers and their offers often sound very appealing. However, its worth investing $10-$20/month extra for a reliable, local hosting service. This is a minimal investment that can have an impact on internet marketing results.

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