30 Jun, 2010

Hosting – is a dedicated IP address important?

Posted by: drobs In: Google search engine|Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Is having a dedicated IP address crucial for achieving great search engine rankings and if an IP address is shared among many sites, is the Google PageRank for diminished for each site?

This is very common question in the SEO world, which is repeated asked on SEO forums, despite the search engines addressing these concerns.

A statement by Google’s Craig Silverstein in 2003:

Actually, Google handles virtually hosted domains and their links just the same as domains on unique IP addresses. If your ISP does virtual hosting correctly, you’ll never see a difference between the two cases. We do see a small percentage of ISPs every month that misconfigure their virtual hosting, which might account for this persistent misperception.

General opinion is that the Google statement from 2003 is still true now. Links to virtually hosted domains are treated the same as links to domains on dedicated IP addresses.

That said, if you have loads of sites (sometimes 1,000) on the same IP address which all link to each other and to bad linking neighborhoods, the PageRank between those links which are being passed along could be diluted. In addition, if some of those sites are also practicing questionable SEO methods having them all grouped together could set off some kind of warning to Google that may affect rankings.

On the flipside, such linking would not be natural, so if the sites were all hosted on separate IP addresses, it is likely that Google would still be able to identify the group of sites trading links back and forth, even if their hosting records or domain registrar records shows obvious connection between the sites.

What are your opinions or views on hosting sites on dedicated vs shared IP addresses?

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