Location of Cloud Hosting
Cloud hosting companies that are located far away from your customers can't provide the same level of speed as a company that's right next door. This is especially true if you're talking about lots of heavy data.
Heavy Data Slowdown Solutions
Some cloud hosting companies will try to counter a slowdown by spreading out servers. For example, a cloud hosting company in Boston may also store the same data in California or in another country. By dispersing data, cloud speeds can be increased.
But, if you can't find a server that uses dispersing techniques, you will want to find one that's close to you. This way, your customers won't get frustrated with slow speeds. How do you test a potential cloud hosting provider?
Take The Test
Before you set up anything in “the cloud,” be sure to test it out for yourself. If you find that a particular service is too slow, don't settle for that service simply based on price or package offerings alone. If the service you choose is fast enough for your tests, you can probably rely on it to work well enough for your company.
Most cloud services offer some kind of free trial offer. Use this free trial time period to test out a provider. You can even test out a few providers, as long as it's not costing your company anything. For SEO purposes, location has a whole different impact.
Cloud Hosting and SEO
It used to be that a server's physical location would directly impact SEO tactics. If a site's server was located in a specific area, that site would be included in location-specific search engine rankings. With the cloud, things are a bit unique.
In the cloud, a site's pages can be hosting anywhere. But, that site's pages are served locally. This means that sites with multiple versions created to single out specific locations (the U.S, France…) will all look the same when it comes to Google.
The problem with this is that the sites will then compete with each other — even though they have the same source site. Eventually, the site with the most ranking will win out. This kind of competition will hurt a site's local rankings.
In 2010, Google introduced ‘Google Caffeine,' which ranks pages according to loading speed. Typically, sites that are cloud hosted tend to load faster if a server is located in the same country (important “if”). As a result, Google places these cloud-loaded sites at the top of the ranking food chain. So, cloud hosting definitely has its advantages and disadvantages when it comes to SEO.
Location Still Matters
Clearly, the location of a company's cloud servers matter. Location is important for SEO reasons, but it's also important when it comes to the patience of your clients. Not sure where a company's servers are located? Ask. If you can't get a straight answer, it's a good idea to look for a different company!