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From my understanding of SEO, websites are optimised for the current location of their IP address.

For example if xxx.xxx.xxx.xx resolves to the UK then you are more likely to get higher rankings in the UK then you are in the USA.

However, my query is when you use a CDN you are storing a cached version of your website across multiple servers at strategic locations across the globe to reduce load time in locations that your trying to target.

Now if you use a CDN and geo-locate the website URL then it only resolves back to the USA (where our IP address resolves too) but it doesn't say it resolves to any other countries. As far as I know you can have multiple IP address resolving to one domain (from different countries).

Do CDN's really help to optimise the location of your website or are they soley meant to optimise load time? Is there a better way to optimise for multiple countries with regards to the resolution of the IP address?

Are VPN's as per this post here relevant to this?

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For example if xxx.xxx.xxx.xx resolves to the UK then you are more likely to get higher rankings in the UK not true... Your only get ranked higher for speed and that's minor contribution... and a QUALITY US server can respond just as quick as some cheap UK servers. –  bybe Jun 11 '14 at 9:48
@bybe Ah it looks like I was under the wrong impression, so the geo location of the ip address doesn't matter? –  Liam Sorsby Jun 11 '14 at 12:53
So another question would be, for google, does the geotargeting option in webmaster tools play a massive role in this? –  Liam Sorsby Jun 11 '14 at 12:59
Actually, the server's IP does have a geotargeting effect, as confirmed by Matt Cutts from Google here youtube.com/watch?v=keIzr3eWK8I, however as John Mueller, another Google employee, stated more recently, it's a relatively minor factor. –  GDav Jun 11 '14 at 13:42
In response to the query about geotargeting in Google Webmaster Tools, it is worth setting if you have a gTLD. In fact, if you don't want Google to geotarget at all (e.g., override the targeting effect of your server's location), you can set the target to "Unlisted". seroundtable.com/archives/022831.html –  GDav Jun 11 '14 at 13:49

2 Answers 2

Your server's location (or that of CDN nodes) can influence geographic targeting, but relative to other factors it's minor. Things like your choice of TLD, using geotargeting in Webmaster Tools (Google and Bing), alternate language markup (supported by Google and Yandex) and various code signals like the lang attribute of the <html> element, or Content-Language HTTP header (doesn't apply to Google) would have more influence.

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Thank you, but the question was leaning more towards the effectiveness of CDN's for geo-location and improving speed in other countries –  Liam Sorsby Jun 11 '14 at 14:11
The point of my answer is that the IP - the CDN's or your own server's - has at best a minor influence. A CDN's purpose is really about load time, which itself is a tiny element of Google's ranking algorithm and nothing at all, so far as I know, to do with geotargeting. –  GDav Jun 11 '14 at 15:16
First sentence is a key. Google is using content to determine location of your website more than anything else. Mentioned languages are great cues for google, another one I can suggest is using hCard microformat for addresses on a website and hooking up your site to Google Maps - both of these make a huge difference to optimization of a website in a region. –  MarcinWolny Jun 11 '14 at 15:36
@MarcinWolny Thats a good Idea however as we host servers and they aren't physical Offices and more data centres I Believe we may just have to put a hCard onto the map of our servers, if that possible. Thank you for the advise! –  Liam Sorsby Jun 11 '14 at 16:22

You have several things going here. First off, you have to look at what was said about SEO over a timeline. Google does things then realizes it was wrong headed. You have to gauge what was said against reality. Sometimes what was true is no longer or really never was. SEO is really not nearly as complicated as people think it is. In this case, Google was working on GEO targeting and load balancing (see link below). What seemed to work was that IP addresses were an indicator for location using GeoIP techniques. But since IP addresses assignments change rapidly and GeoIP targeting has a error rate sometimes as high 10% or 20%, this turned out to be a bad assumption so the whole GEO location to IP address thing was discarded.

Having said that, there is no GEO location tied to an IP address. Yes Google did try this for a period and some effect still exists, but within the perspective of Spam and not Ranking. Here is what I mean. The IP address is evaluated and a score is applied to it in regard to stability which in effect is a good neighborhood and bad neighborhood score. Stability testing and scoring is a concept used in security mechanisms but applies for search too but with different parameters. To say that IP addresses have a GEO location effect for determining site quality that translates into the SERPs- that would be correct.

Let me give you an example.

Networks in China have a very poor reputation. In the past two years or so, .cn sites are being re-homed to better networks and moving their sites to the U.S., U.K., Denmark, and so on. This is because bad neighborhoods have an effect. Some of these sites use the Chinese language and are intended to be used in China. Most are company sites. But here is the point, even sites that have GEO targeting for Beijing for example may be using non-Chinese networks.

Now to your point that IP addresses in the U.K. may rank better. What is true is, sites hosted on U.K. IP addresses can rank better due to one particular metric that Google uses assuming that all other ranking factors are equal. Stability .aka. trust .aka. good neighborhood. So to say the effect is minor, would not be true. IP addresses matter. But it is not true to say that the IP address has a GEO location effect otherwise.

As far as having several IP addresses pointing to a single site, that would be possible but unnecessary unless you are homing servers in particular locations. Take Google as an example.

Here is a link to an answer I gave a while ago that is not fully related to IP addresses but ccTLD's that may be useful to you. Is it worth always geotargeting your site? It is not necessary to answer this question directly, but can broaden your perspective. The two are somewhat related at least historically.

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