Moving to a New Web Host: Part 2 – Does it Affect SEO?

This article is Part 2 in the series of “Moving to a New Web Host”. As mentioned in Part 1 – Choosing the Right Web Host, I helped a client move their website from Canada to the United States as most of their users were from the US. Let’s look at the challenges and results of this cross-border move. Note that throughout this article, I use the term SEO loosely to describe either search engine optimization or search engine listings.

Concerns of Moving to a New Web Host
It’s always a worry to webmasters and websites owners when we move to a new web host. The uneasiness is compounded when the move is to a web host located in another country. How will this affect current search engine listings? Will current listings in local directories disappear? Will this move affect future SEO efforts? These are all valid questions and ones that I, at one time or another, have asked myself.

Will Moving to a New Web Host Affect SEO?
After doing extensive research on the internet and speaking with various experts in the industry, including senior network engineers from ISP’s and web hosts, no one can truly assure you with 100% certainty that moving web hosts will not have an impact on search engine listings. But, the consensus is that moving to a new web host, even if it is to another country like the case with my client, should not have an adverse effect in most search engine listings. Search engines see your website as an IP address mapped to a domain name. Given migration from the old to new web host was done correctly, there should be minimal disruption (if any at all) to current search engine rankings / listings when you move to a new web host & IP address.

The one scenario where it may affect search engine results is that your website is moved to an IP address that has previously been or is still banned by search engines. Use tools located at to check if IP’s are located in SPAM databases.

Are Local Directory Listings Affected After Moving to a New Web Host?
Local directories might see that your website is now located in another region or country and may decide to drop your listing. On the other hand, they may not if the directory is smart enough to know that your business (as opposed to your website) is still physically located at your old geographical location.

Will Future SEO Efforts be Affected After Moving to a New Web Host?
All indication from my research and client experiences seem to indicate that future SEO efforts will not be adversely affected after moving to a new web host. Remember that more and more search engines are trying to serve relevant & geotargeted content to their users. User location is going to dictate search results more than the location of the server hosting your website.

Moving to a Web Host where Most of Your Users are Located
In this client’s case where most of their users are from the US, there will definitely be a decrease in website load times resulting in a better user experience. So if you are looking to improve website load times, consider moving to a new web host where most of your users are located. Feel confident in knowing that moving to a new web host, even if it is located in another country, will not adversely affect SEO or search engine listings.

Ian Lee
Work from home dad, marketer and photographer. Fallen in love with basketball all over again as I coach my daughter's team.

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