A study from Google’s Doubleclick in September 2016 confirms that slow loading sites are frustrating users and negatively impacting enterprises like never before. “53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load.”
Time is literally money when it comes to your e-commerce site speed. One potential way to make your website faster involves your server’s physical location near your target market.
Usually the closer the website visitor is to the web server, the fewer networks the data passes through. Say you are targeting United States customers and you have a United Kingdom server and IP address. The data has to travel across the Atlantic Ocean, so latency and download speed will be a bit slower than if you were around the same area as your intended market.
When thinking of server location in terms of speed and proximity, it’s not always about distance, but also hops. Hops in this case refers to the number of routers and exchanges taking place between the user and the hosting provider. Often, the further the distance, the more hops and added latency for faraway users.
In that Doubleclick research paper, they report that “artificial latency added to the newspaper The Telegraph resulted in page views dropping by 11% for a 4s delay and 44% for a 20s delay.” On the flip side, “Ancestory.com recorded a 7% positive rise in conversions after improving the render time of web pages by 68%, reducing page bloat by 46% and reducing load time by 64%.”
To deliver the speediest result for your visitors, the bottom line is to find a host that doesn’t overcrowd their servers. The more sites on a server means more resources those sites use up, which equals a slower page load for your website. Also make sure you are reducing page load time on your end. Tips include image optimization, reducing HTTP requests, PHP and database queries, and removing useless plugins.
Does Server Location Affect Google Ranking?
Former Google Search Quality expert Matt Cutts responds to the question “What impact does server location have on rankings?”
Cutts responds by stating “We do absolutely try to return the most relevant results to each user in each country and server location in terms of IP address is a factor in that.”
With that being said, this video is six years old, so we have to dive a bit deeper. Here’s Google’s most recent position:
Server location (through the IP address of the server) is frequently near your users. However, some websites use distributed content delivery networks (CDNs) or are hosted in a country with better server infrastructure, so we try not to rely on the server location alone.
So while you should choose the IP of your targeted country to your site, this doesn’t hold the same weight as it used to, as Google is adjusting to a more interconnected global market. For more information, read this Google’s webmaster support article on international targeting.
Want to see how fast our network is? Check out the free HostDime speed test to see how fast we are.
HostDime has data centers and servers all over the world as part of our effort to be one of the first global data center providers. Make sure your visitors are receiving the fastest response times to your website possible by hosting it in the target location of your audience. Select one of our many data center locations, choose a file size (128 MB, 512 MB, 1 GB, or 2 GB), and input a location IP to download a test file.
Jared Smith is HostDime’s Content Strategist.