In the world of Search Engine Optimization, Location is important. Search engines like to bring relevant results to a user, not only in the area of keywords and sites that give the user exactly what they are looking for, but also in the correct language as well. It doesn’t do a lot of good for a Russian-speaking individual to continually get websites returned in a search query that are written in Egyptian or in Chinese. So a search engine has to have some way to be able to return the results the user is looking for in the right language, and a search engine’s goal is also to try and get the user as close to home as possible in the realm of their search results.
Many people wonder why their websites don’t rank well in some search engines, especially if they are trying to get ranked in a search engine based in another country. Perhaps they may not even know they are in another country? You say that is impossible: how could one not know what country they are in? It might surprise that individual to find that their website might in fact be hosted in a completely different country, perhaps even on another continent!
Consider that many search engines, including Google, will determine country not only based on the domain name (like .co.uk or .com.au), but also the country of a website’s physical location based upon IP address. Search engines are programmed with information that tells them which IP addresses belong to which particular country, as well as which domain suffixes are assigned to which countries.
Let’s say, for instance, that you are wishing to rank highly in Google based in the United States. It would not do well, then, for you to have your website hosted in Japan or Australia. You might have to switch your web host to one whose servers reside in the United States.
There is a tool we like to use called the Website to Country Tool. What this tool does is it allows you to view which country your website is hosted. Not only will this tell you what country your site is hosted in, but it can also help you determine a possible reason why your website may not be ranking as highly as you might like in a particular search engine.
It might be disheartening to learn that your website has been hosted in another country, but it is better to understand why your site might not be ranking as highly as you’d like it to be, especially when there is something you can definitely do about it.