How Does Google Treat Shared Hosting Accounts?

Having an online presence is a must for both businesses and individuals. What website owners may not know is that Google treats sites on shared hosting differently based on geographical location and other factors. This and other considerations are outlined below.

Numerous Sites on a Single Server

Many people host multiple sites on one server with the same host. Google does not penalize for this, as it is a common situation, according to Where the trouble begins is when a site is linked to many other sites on the same server, which may lead Google to classify the site as a linkfarm, even if this is not the case. The simple rule of thumb is to not have too many links on a single site, and the devaluation can be avoided.

On a side note, if a site is on a crowded server, the owner would be better off looking for a higher-quality hosting solution.

Private Registrations

When registering a domain, some individuals choose to keep the information associated with it private. While there may be good reasons for this, it can be detrimental to the Google ranking of the site. It may be helpful to have a physical address, along with other contact information, to help make the site appear more legitimate. Keeping all such information hidden from view can give a shady impression not only to Google, but visitors as well.

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Alternative stealth tactics for domain registration can be using the names of family pets, children or other relatives. Any information is better than none.


Location can be tricky business for site owners who are based in countries outside of the United States or Europe, but wish to target their content to those places. Google determines location through domain registration and the server the site is hosted on. This is fine for global search and marketing locally, but may not work well for a specific audience.

One solution to this issue is the use of a mail forwarding service, which can help a site be more associated with its targeted traffic. Webmasters can take it a step further by hosting the site on a server in the targeted country. This will be more expensive initially, but may pay off with desired results later on.

Keeping the above points in mind can help those who run business sites obtain the best possible rank when using a shared hosting solution.

Comments: 1

  • Melisa, I wonder about the prudence of using the names of our children, other relatives or pets for domain name registration.

    Certainly the two former options, children or other relatives, could take the focus off of our own names and identities, but doesn’t it then put those other people’s names into the same unwanted spotlight we are trying to avoid? The latter option, pets, doesn’t sit well with me given the obvious trends Google is setting with regard to original/quality content, authorship tags and other measures that have the underlying quality of “truth.” The penalties for behavior they are deeming as unethical are becoming heavier and heavier.

    Sure, it may be unlikely that Google will even penalize us for using good ol’ Rover’s name, but then how legitimate does that name look when Google or a prospective customer queries our WHOIS information as one of their measurements of our business-worthiness?

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