Google Answers: Can Migrating Website Hosting Location Affect its SEO?

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Thinking of changing your website’s hosting location? Be forewarned, it can have a huge SEO impact that may take a while to recover from. In the recent video of the Ask Googlebot series on YouTube, a question was submitted by one of the viewers, asking if changing the hosting location of a website from one country to another will impact the site’s SEO and search rankings thereof. John Mueller, one of Google’s stalwarts, answers that there will some changes in how Google views and perceives the website in question for a couple of days, maybe weeks, after the migration. But over the period of time, things will start to settle down. Let’s review the video and see what all was discussed on the issue.

Initially, Google will slow down website’s crawling rate.

John says it doesn’t matter if the hosting location was changed within the same country or was migrated to a different host in a different country, Google will still bring down the crawling rate just to be cautious. And it is done to ensure Google won’t accidently cause any problems to the website by crawling it too habitually. And once Google is sure there won’t be troubles, it will the resume crawling the website at its usual rate. Below is the question that was submitted for John’s review and expert advice. “Does migrating a website hosting location affect SEO? E.g. an Australian website (and target audience) migrating its hosting location from Australia to US.” And here’s what John says. “When it comes to moving hosting, you might see our systems initially slowing down crawling a bit. Any time we recognize a hosting change, we want to be sure that we don’t cause any problems. And so we tend to automatically slow down crawling as a precaution. Over time, once our systems can tell that going faster doesn’t cause any issues, we’ll speed up again. This is independent of the kind of hosting change you make. It doesn’t matter if you’re moving to a different provider down the road, or moving to another country.”

Is there a way one can prevent page load time from increasing?

John says one of the ways to not let page load time increase or keep it to a bare minimum is by hosting the website on multiple servers across multiple locations. This is where the role of CDNs (Content Delivery Networks) comes into play. And depending on the hosting platform, the website might already be hosted on different servers, so page load time might not even become an issue, just maybe. John continues. “To be as close as possible to users, some websites even use servers in many different locations. A content delivery network often does this. If you’re using a hosting platform they may already be doing this for you too. This configuration is fine for Google.”

Website’s geotargeting will not be impacted, thankfully.

Website that has migrated to a different hosting platform in a different country will not impact its geotargeting, which means its search results in a particular geographic will not be affected. And that is good news. John concludes, “With regards to SEO, the server’s location is not used for geotargeting. If you want your website to target users in a specific location, you would need to use either the country-code top level domain, or the appropriate setting in Google Search Console.” If you’re considering about migrating your website’s hosting location to a different country, there is going to be some temporary decrease in crawl rate and maybe an increase in website’s load time, with geotargeting remaining virtually unaffected. Now that you have all the information in place, you can safely go ahead with the migration. Or not. Source: Search Engine Journal