Q: We have a successful website in Australia, but we are thinking of moving to a US-based host in order to take advantage of lower rates. I’ve heard that this might affect our Google ranks in Australia – is this true?
A: Google (whether Google.com.au or Google.com in Australia) will typically do its best to match the country of origin on a website to the location of the searcher.
There are many ways that Google might try to figure out where a site’s home country is, and these include:
* the domain country (.fr, .au, .uk etc.)
* geotargeting as set in your Google Webmaster Tools account
* hosting server location.
If your target audience is located in Australia, we suggest that you try to match all of the above with your target audience. However, our guess is that as long as the first two bullet points are matched to your home country, the hosting location won’t be an issue.
Read more about this on Google’s blog: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2007/10/better-geographic-choices-for.html