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How important is local IP/hosting for country specific SEO?

Assuming that for a multi-national company who wants to present multiple languages/sites there are 3 options.

  1. Use different sub domains (i.e. cairo.craigslist.org)
  2. Use different sub folders (i.e. apple.com/de)
  3. Use different country specific TLDs (ebay.co.uk)
With option 3, how important is it to use localized hosting and IPs? I noticed ebay hosts from San Jose, but they're ebay and SEO isn't their main focus (I Think).

3 Replies

Peter Johnston
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Peter Johnston Advisor
Businesses are composed of pixels, bytes & atoms. All 3 change constantly. I make that change +ve.
This fits in with the responsive v adaptive debate.
How important are people in a particular country to you?

Unimportant enough for you to just assume they're the same as the customers you focus on - so you'll give them the same site? Or important enough that you'll look into their specific needs and wants and create a site specially for them?

You probably know the answer. If you want to sell to someone the more relevant it is to them, the better they will respond. That better response has a value, probably way above the cost of a site.

The best answer is to have a specific site for each country and even each market you sell to. Or personalise the site with content specific to the area by using a lookup.

This becomes more important with mobile - your site should be using the GPS, maps, orientation, the intelligent layer which knows what is around them, what the competitor activity is in that area etc. It can even use the camera, microphone, accelerometer etc. to create something specific to them. And it should know their purchase history, social profile and influence too. The days of creating sites which are just media to an undifferentiated audience have gone.

Anything else is a fudge - a lazy person's way of doing something which pleases their boss, rather than trying to please the customer (which is harder).

If it is any help Craigslist fails totally in the UK as it is US centric, Apple succeeds massively in spite of being just a US site with double the price for the UK and ebay is truly relevant to UK people.
Myles Anderson
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Myles Anderson Entrepreneur
Founder / Director at BrightLocal
It's a good question and I don't think there is 1 right answer for all situations.

Large retail & consumer orientated sites often opt for a domestic domain vs. a folder geared towards a specific country- e.g. Ebay, Amazon, Tripadvisor, Yelp.

These types of sites have different & unique products & audiences in each country so they need more separation & control of their country presence. I've never worked for large multi-national retailer but i do wonder if the likes of Ebay, Amazon, Tripadvisor were starting out today would they make the same decision again?

For businesses/brands that don't have any regional variation (i.e. Apple who sells same products in all territories) they can make a single domain approach work more easily. So the choice you make should be based on your business structure rather than SEO reasons.

In terms of hosting location affecting SEO: site speed is already a ranking factor and some believe it will get more important as Google pushes websites to make user experience better & better. If you have a Uk site for a UK audience then hosting in the US can slow down responsiveness which may negatively impact SEO performance. The downside of hosting in multiple countries is the tech overhead for maintaining and managing in different countries.
Karl Schulmeisters
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Karl Schulmeisters Entrepreneur
CTO ClearRoadmap

It really depends on your app. There are "data safe harbor" provisions in places like the EU that preclude you from physicallyholding certain types of data about EU citizens in a location outside the EU borders.

There are datasets in the USA that the US government requires you not hold outside the USA.

And there may also be authentication and Content Delivery (CDN) reasons to have local front end presence.


So there Is simply no single answer for this

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