The Impact of Cloud Computing on SEO
What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing has been developing in the last few years and it promises to be the new business model for many companies. With cloud computing there is no need to own the physical infrastructure. Hardware and software capacities are rented through a provider. Users can rent virtual computers on which they can run their own applications, allowing access/share data through the cloud (Internet) at any given moment. Most importantly cloud computing allows sites hosted in the cloud to be accessed rapidly and in the user’s local language, as WebPages are served through a cluster of servers closer to the user’s IP location.
Is Hosting location important for SEO?
Hosting location and country Top Level Domain (TLD) have always been important factors for SEO to target search results specific to a country. While TLD indicated the site’s origin (e.g. .com.au for Australia) to search engines (SEs), hosting has been significantly important to identify the geo-location of a website as SEs have been looking at the IP address of the site to detect the server location. If a site was hosted on a server that was physically located in a country, then that site would have been included in the country-specific searches even if this had a generic TLD domain name. SEO recommendation for a site targeting Australia would have been to choose a hosting provider coming from Australia rather than the US. Hosting location would have especially affected sites using generic TLDs such as .org, .info, .biz, etc. Google also allows webmasters to set the geo-location within Webmaster Tools to help them target a specific market.
Cloud computing is changing the hosting location factor
Cloud computing is going to change the hosting location factor. The reason behind this is that sites can be hosted anywhere in the cloud, however, the web pages are served locally. So sites hosted in the cloud that have different versions (US, UK, AU etc) initially created to target specific countries, will all look like local sites to Google and therefore will start competing against each other. The site that has the highest authority will eventually outranks the others – e.g. if the US version of a site has the strongest authority, this would eventually outrank the AU version within the Australian market.
As cloud computing becomes more popular, Search Engines would change their algorithms to take this into account. This is going to revolutionise the way that sites operate across different countries and in different languages.
Google Caffeine and Cloud Computing
In June 2010 Google released the new Caffeine update, providing a new search indexing system allowing Google to index web pages on an enormous scale. Page speed became a factor in SEO and it started playing an important role in the rankings of websites in search results (especially for sites aiming to rank in a competitive space). One of the key strengths of cloud computing is the faster delivery of web pages, significantly improving the page loading time. Cloud computing allows the distribution of resources more efficiently and effectively and can have a huge impact on a site’s loading time.
Google and Cloud Computing
Google has been promoting cloud computing for quite some time. Matt Cutts on his Blog “Why cloud services rock” mentioned how “hosted services and storing data in the cloud [on someone else’s servers] can be better than doing it yourself”. Matt Cutts, in his video on “Big Changes to search in the next few years”, also commented that “As more people get comfortable with online computing, more of them will choose to store their data from onsite hardrives and store it in the “cloud”. As a result searching in the cloud for relevant information will become increasingly important”.