I was told that the hosting company I use to host my site can have an affect on my search engine rankings and performace, is this true?
J Todd, Reflex Systems Ltd, Cannock, Staffs
There are a few points to mention here. The first one, as reported previously in the question about attracting traffic from different countries, is that the search engine algorithms for ranking seem to give preference to locally hosted sites. For example, all other things being equal, a search for, say, ‘Norwegian Ffiord cruises’ carried out in the UK will give a higher ranking for sites hosted in the UK compared with sites hosted in the USA. (again, stressing the ‘all other things being equal’ – which they seldom are). So if your target market is the UK, getting your site hosted in the UK is a good idea.
Another point worth mentioning regarding hosting and search engines is that in some occassions (although rarely) the security around the server your site is hosted on prevents the search engine spiders accessing your site. More specifically it has been reported that certain firewall settings will prevent sites using the robots.txt file getting spidered. You will of course know if this is a problem from your webstats and it would be worth checking with your hosting company if you cannot find other reasons your site does not get spidered.
There’s more information on how this works at:-http://software.sonicwall.com/applications/ips/index.asp?ev=sig&sigid=1600
Something else worth being aware of is that certain hosting companies will give multiple sites hosted by them on the same server the same IP address ( to save money ). If one of the sites on the same server as you is blacklisted by Google say – then this will have an impact on you also. This is only likely to be an issue where you have been given free space. so its worth checking.