Age-old stories and advice like the one below from Brian Dean would lead us to believe that your server’s IP address will affect your rankings.
I mean, why not? If your server is all about porn, gambling, or Viagra, it would make sense to blacklist the server, right?
But is it a myth?
One would imagine that it wouldn’t be much help if Google blacklisted the server because black hat SEOs might move their server. But it would become a constant game of Hungry Hungry Hippos.
That, and along with the evidence we’ll share below, is why SEO professionals are getting mixed messages here. Below we discuss the truth behind IP addresses as a ranking factor.
The claim: IP address as a ranking factor
When it comes to IP addresses as a ranking factor, things can get murky in the SEO community. And it’s hard to know who or what to believe.
The idea of IP addresses as a ranking factor started with the term “bad neighborhoods”.
Bad neighborhoods are based on the idea that if you’re on shared hosting, your IP address is shared with all those other sites on the same shared server.
Essentially, this could mean that you share a server with 5, 20, 100, 1,000, or even over 20,000 other websites.
If you share a server with 499 other websites that talk about porn, does that impact your ranking?
Should you get a dedicated IP address? Or cloud hosting?
Let’s explore the evidence.
Proof of IP address as a ranking factor
Is the IP address a ranking factor?
Google’s Matt Cutts answered this IP address question back in 2003.
His answer :
“I really wouldn’t care that much.”
But later in May 2011, Kaspar Szymanski, the Google Search Quality strategist, tweeted:
As you can imagine, this has caused confusion in the SEO community. In June 2011, Google published a blog post on protecting users from malware hosted on bulk subdomain services.
Then in July 2011, Google disallows an entire subdomain, .co.ccbecause the host had an unusual number of spammy sites.
Finally, in 2018, Google’s John Mueller called it quits when asked question about IP addresses on Twitter.
Muller’s response was simple and straightforward:
So we can guess that it was a potential ranking factor in the early 2010s. But that is no longer the case.
Does server location matter for SEO?
If your site is hosted in the United States but you transfer it to a server in Brazil, will this have an impact on your SEO?
Muller answered this question on Twitterindicating:
If you move to a server in a different location? Usually no. Otherwise, we get enough geo-targeting information, for example from the TLD and geo-targeting parameters in Search Console.
Do IP addresses affect link building?
Many SEO professionals believe that server location and different class C IP addresses can improve the ranking.
Honestly, if you think about this in relation to your link building strategy, you’re not doing the right link building.
Do you want proof ?
Muller answered this question in a Google Hangout with a simple “no”.
“It’s not something where you have to artificially buy blocks of IP addresses to just mix things up. And especially if you’re on a CDN, you’ll end up on an IP block with other companies as well. Or if you’re on shared hosting, these things happen, it’s not something you have to artificially move.
Is Shared IP, Dedicated IP, or Cloud Hosting Better for SEO?
It doesn’t matter if you have a shared IP, dedicated IP or cloud hosting for SEO.
Mueller answered this question regarding Dedicated IP and SEO on Twitter.
The IP address as a ranking signal: our assessment
Your IP address does not impact your ranking, at least not anymore.
The general consensus is that it’s better to spend your time focusing on your website’s performance and content.
Featured Image: Paulo Bobita