How a Server's Geolocation Affects Your Business
The experts at AT&T Website Solutions know you want to reach your customers quickly and effectively. Learn how a server's geolocation affects your business.
Servers have an impact on the user experience. Each and every byte of data that's on the Internet has a physical location on a server somewhere in the world. Large tech companies have server farms, where many hundreds or even thousands of terabytes are stored. For business websites, the geographical location does make a difference.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
You've probably already seen a number of articles that talk about SEO strategy. Keyword phrases and search algorithms have been hot topics for as long as search engines have existed. While those strategies are constantly evolving, and algorithms are certainly subject to change, location has always been and will probably always be an important component. One thing that every SEO expert agrees on is that, for optimum results, you need to host your website in the same location as your target audience. If you're a USA-based company and work with customers in the USA, you need to have your website hosted in the USA as well.
Google and other major search engines use the physical location as a signal. The result is that the host location has a massive impact on search results and SEO visibility. Switching from the UK to the USA will see a massive jump in search results in the USA, but you'll see a similar decline in the UK. Your host location and target audience need to be geographically aligned, especially if you're looking to maximize traffic and engagement.
No one enjoys waiting forever for a website to load, but annoyance is perhaps the least of your concerns. Nearly 50 percent of Internet users expect websites to load within 2 seconds. Given modern broadband speeds, that's certainly not a target that's out of reach. But the effect of a slow loading website is drastically worse at 3 seconds or longer. First time visitors may abandon a website if it takes 3 seconds or more for it to load. As you know, first impressions are important. Long load times could send potential customers to a competitor's website, and you may never again have the opportunity to win them over. In fact, 80 percent of them never return to a given website, once they've had a negative experience.
Geolocation directly influences your load times. The closer your host is to your website visitors, the faster the page will load. Even if the result in only half-a-second, it does have demonstrable results. In fact, Google did an experiment and found that a 0.5 second delay in load times showed a 20 percent loss in both traffic and revenue. If Google can't afford that, no company can.
Stay Close to Customers
A 20 percent loss in traffic and revenue is sizable, and it should be avoided if possible. What does that mean for website hosting and your business? Do your best to keep your host server close to your customers, even if that incurs a spike in hosting costs. The short-term savings of using a host that's on the other side of the globe won't make up for the long-term loss of traffic and revenue.
Having a fantastic business website design is a great start, but it doesn't change the importance of location. Speak with the experts at AT&T Website Solutions if you want to learn more.