There are a plethora of hosting services popping up over-seas, targeting U.S. customers. Some are as cheap as a $1 a month. We have done our due-diligence on these companies and many of them are legit. So, with fast hosting that is cheap, what could be wrong with it?
Many of these companies are located in places like Hong Kong, Singapore and Brazil. Therefore their servers are also located there. One thing that search engines like Google do is that they associate a server location with the location of targeted traffic. For many web developers with websites overseas this is a pain in the buns.
There are some ways to mitigate this problem and I will discuss them here.
Search Targeting in Google Webmasters Tool
If you have any experience doing web SEO than you are familiar with Google Websmaters Tools. It allows you to manage the indexing of your site in Google, to a point anyway.
If your servers are in a different country than your target audience, you can specify your target audience in Google Websmasters. Here is how:
- In Google Webmasters, you have to switch to the “old version”. You can do so by using the menu on the left. It is the last option down.
- In the old version, click to expand “search traffic” on the left menu.
- Click “international targeting”.
- Choose “Country” from the two tabs.
- Here you can choose the country you are targeting.
It displays a disclaimer that says it may take some time to adjust to the new settings.
Changing Your Servers Locations by Proxy Service
This option is kind of a grey area. If you add a service to your site’s DNS for honest reasons, like security for instance, then you should be fine. If you use a proxy service to deliberately hide something, you may risk your SEO campaign.
When you use a site like cloudflare, it runs traffic through its nameservers and is able to help prevent hacking. This service can be invaluable when suffering a DoS attack. When you do a server location test on your that is using cloudflare, it will now show that your servers are in California, USA. This may help you get that server location change that you wanted. There is no word from Google if they have a way around this and can detect the actual server location.
Another thing you have to worry about when using a site like cloudflare is that they have a set limited number pool of ip addresses. They distribute their traffic through these ip addresses. So, you many end up sharing an ip address with a spammer site and then your SEO efforts could be destroyed.
Your final option is, of course, to buy hosting in the country you are targeting. U.S. hosting is more expensive but you get what you want when you pay more.
Lead Developer at Olympus Web. I started in 2002. I specialize in Search Engine Optimization, content creation and building websites for small businesses.