Google has said that changing the location where your website is hosted can affect its performance in search results.

Google also acknowledges that changing your hosting provider to one in a new location can have a significant impact on SEO and search rankings.

In the most recent installment of the Ask Googlebot series on YouTube, I discussed this topic.

This is the question I asked Google’s search advocate John Mueller.

Is it possible to move a website hosting location that affects SEO? Example: An Australian website (and its intended audience) migrates from Australia to our hosting facility.

Mueller said that Google will initially change the way it treats a site after a hosting change.

Is that something that affects search rankings? In the next section, he will give the full reply.

What happens to Google if it is changed to another host?

It is Google’s intention to slow down crawling (at least at first).

Mueller says that the biggest change that you will notice after changing hosts for your website is a slowdown in crawling.

This is done to ensure that Google doesn’t have problems crawling the site too often.

That crawling activity will resume once Google figures out that it won’t have any problems.

Mueller adds that it will happen regardless of what kind of host you change. It doesn’t matter if you are moving to a new hosting provider in the same location or to a new location. Google will be cautious about how much it crawls the site.

When it comes to moving hosting, you might find that our systems start slowing down and crawling a bit. Every time we recognize a change in our hosting provider, we want to make sure that we haven’t caused any problems. So I naturally slow my crawling down as a precaution.

Over time, once our systems learn that going faster does not cause any issues, we can speed up again. So it is independent of what kind of hosting change you make. It doesn’t matter if you are moving to another country or if you are moving to another provider down the road.

Therefore, website loading times may be affected.

When you move website hosting to a new location, it can affect how quickly your site loads for users.

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If the majority of your visitors are located far from where the site is hosted, then that could result in a noticeably slower user experience.

If that happens, it may affect the speeds and page experience ranking factors.

Mueller continued:

One practical effect that you may notice is that larger geographical moves can affect how quickly websites load for users. There are reasons that physics and computer networking work, so it can take longer to reach a server that is far away. Depending on how strongly your website is visible, that may influence the speed and the page experience ranking factors for a website.

Possible solution: you can have your website hosted in multiple countries.

To avoid having to worry about your website loading time being affected, you could consider hosting your website on servers in multiple locations.

Content delivery networks (CDNs) often do that, and depending on the hosting platform you use, there may be multiple servers on your site already.

Mueller explains this to us:

Some websites are able to use servers located in several different locations in order to be as close to the users as possible. Very often, delivery networks that distribute content do this. Likewise, if you are using a hosting platform, that platform may already be doing this for you. So this configuration is fine for Google.

Location of the website server that is not used for geotargeting.

Your website host does not have a location for geotargeting.

So the results of your search in that particular geographic area will not be affected by changing website hosts.

Mueller concludes his reply:

When it comes to SEO, the server’s location is not used for geotargeting. If you want your website to target users who are based in a specific country, then you must use a country-code top level domain, or use the appropriate settings in Google search console.

What this means is that changing the location of your website host will have a temporary effect on crawling, and has the potential to adversely affect loading times.

It will not be a good thing for SEO to use geotargeting.