Back in April we talked about the practice of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) in a post entitled "SEO and why you need it". At the moment the most popular and important search service on the Internet is Google. This won't always be so; something shinier always comes along. (Remember Altavista? Lycos? No? Just me then... --Simon) But right now Google is #1. Google's search engine is based on an link analysis algorithm known as PageRank. Google occasionally tweaks the PageRank algorithm to place greater or lesser emphasis on particular variables in order to improve its service. One of the things that Google has done recently is to include the geographical location of a website's server as an influential PageRank factor.
If your eyes are glazing over right about now, the short version of this story is: where your website is hosted affects your Google ranking.
In other words, if you are in Australia and you search for cars using Google, the search engine will tend to place car websites that are hosted in Australia at the top of the search results. In other words, if you are an Australian business with a website hosted offshore, that's hurting you.
You may have chosen that web hosting company in the USA or Hong Kong because of a great deal or because you knew someone who already had an account at that hosting provider and at the time it may have been a wonderful idea. But it's not any more.
If you are in this situation, talk to your website administrator first. If you don't have a website administrator, or if the website administrator you have doesn't know what on earth you're talking about, give us a call on 08 7127 0435 or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.