Here’s an example network information report from The Reaction Engine as of v3b1:

Test Result Note
Parent Site www.google.com This (sub)domain ‘owns’ the content of the URI, and is the subject of the network tests below
IP 216.239.59.103 IP addresses can identify site owners and connect seemingly unrelated sites
Location US Where a site is located affects its perceived audience, especially if it uses a non-regional domain name (e.g. .com)
Reverse Dns gv-in-f103.1e100.net Reverse DNS usually identifies the ISP or company behind a website
Spam Blocklists Not listed Sites that send email spam are more likely to be spam themselves
Server Software gws Server software may be more (Apache) or less (IIS) configurable to improve performance

Now, you may ask, what’s the significance of this? Can this information really affect search engine performance?

Why the network hosting a site matters

It affects the target audience

If a site has a non-regional TLD (e.g. com as opposed to co.uk), then search engines will use the IP address to determine location and probable target audience. Hosting a .com site in Germany would make search engines think you are aiming at the German market.

It identifies ownership

You might have a different domain name or WHOIS entry, but sites on the same IP range can often be linked together (discounting shared hosting of course). You can lookup IP addresses with a reverse IP tool to see sites on the same address (in this instance http://whois.webhosting.info/64.233.183.104 ). This information can then be used to uncover spam activities on seemingly unconnected sites, and determine whether sites are part of a connected group or not. Both the the IP address and reverse DNS can reveal this information.

It can reveal network activity such as email spam

Now, there doesn’t seem to be much evidence that search engines currently do this, but if an IP address is responsible for email spam, the probability that the site engages in other unethical activity like search engine spamming must be greater. It could be a factor that results in closer examination of a site. Similarly, domain names are only one way of determining the history of a website. Prior activity on the IP address could also be a factor.

Finally, the software used to host a site (commonly Apache or IIS) will affect the approach needed for SEO. Some servers have built in software that makes an SEOs life much easier (like mod_rewrite on Apache).

So, choose your hosting carefully and be sure to check your current network!

Test Result Note
Parent Site www.google.com This (sub)domain ‘owns’ the content of the URI, and is the subject of the network tests below
IP 216.239.59.103 IP addresses can identify site owners and connect seemingly unrelated sites
Location Where a site is located affects its perceived audience, especially if it uses a non-regional domain name (e.g. .com)
Reverse Dns gv-in-f103.1e100.net Reverse DNS usually identifies the ISP or company behind a website
Spam Blocklists Not listed Sites that send email spam are more likely to be spam themselves
Server Software gws Server software may be more (Apache) or less (IIS) configurable to improve performance

4 Responses to “Why does network information such as IP address matter for SEO?”

  1. rayearth2601 Says:

    yeah, thank you for posting posting about IP address and the matter for SEO…

    regards

  2. Evan Says:

    I have never thought about the target audience with the ip address before, makes perfect sense. With your help I am now on the first page of google and yahoo for specific phrases, cheers.

  3. Chotrul SEO and Web Design Says:

    I usually use the SearchStatus Firefox plugin to quickly establish how many other sites are hosted on the same IP address, and The Reaction Engine to find out if the site is in the spam blacklists – potentially caused by email spam – as outlined in your post.

  4. Host Guy Says:

    I’ve been working with Host Gator for more than 2 years. I could not explain the number of instances they have supported us with troubles. Maybe even various i actually do not think truly had anything to do with them. I have a VPS with nearly fifty blogs on it.

Leave a Reply