Is IP Address a Google Ranking Factor?

Does your web server’s IP address affect your ranking in search results? According to some sources on the Internet, your IP address is a ranking signal used by Google.

But is it possible that your IP address can help or hurt your search rankings? Read on to find out if IP address is a Google ranking factor.

Disclaimer: IP address as a ranking factor

Internet articles from well-known marketing sites claim that Google has over 200 “known” ranking factors.

These lists often include claims about flagged IP addresses that affect rankings or higher value links because they come from separate Class C IP addresses.

Screenshot from HubSpot.com, June 2022IP address from hubspot

Fortunately, these lists have sparked multiple conversations with Google employees about the effectiveness of IP addresses as a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm.

[Ebook:] The Complete Guide to Google Ranking Factors

Evidence against IP address as a ranking factor

In 2010, Matt Cutts, former head of Google’s webspam team, was asked whether a client’s website’s ranking would be affected by spam on the same server.

His response:

“That wouldn’t be at the top of my list of things to worry about. So I get it, and Google understands that shared web hosting happens. You can’t really control that IP address or who else is on that class-c subnet.”

Ultimately, Google decided that if they took action on an IP address or a Class C subnet, spammers would just move on to another IP address. Therefore, this is not the most efficient way to solve the problem.

Cutts did note a specific exception where one IP address had 26,000 spam sites and one non-spam site, requiring more scrutiny, but reiterated that this was an outlier.

exist year 2011a tweet from Kaspar Szymanski, another former member of Google’s webspam team, pointed out that Google has the power to take action when free hosts are being spammed in large numbers.

In 2016, during Google Webmaster Central office hours, Google search advocate John Mueller was asked if it was a problem to have all of a group’s sites on the same block of IP addresses.

He replied:

“No, that’s perfectly fine. So this is not where you need to artificially buy blocks of IP addresses to shuffle your cards.

Especially if you’re on a CDN, then you may end up in IP address blocks used by other companies. Or, if you’re using shared hosting, these things happen. It’s not something you need to artificially move. “

March 2018, Mueller was asked whether IP changes with different geographic locations would affect SEO. He responded:

“What if you move to a server in a different location? Usually not. We get enough geolocation information through other means, for example, from the TLD and geolocation settings in Search Console.”

months afterMueller responded with a tweet asking whether Google still considered bad communities a ranking signal, and whether dedicated IPs were required.

“Shared IP addresses are great for search! Many hosting/CDN environments use them.”

in october 2018, Mueller was asked whether IP address location has an effect on website ranking. His answer was simple, “No.”

A few tweets later, in the same Twitter thread, another user commented that IP addresses are important for backlinks. Mueller again responded with a simple “no.”

in june 2019, Mueller received an issue regarding Google Search Console displaying a website’s IP address instead of the domain name. His answer:

“In general, it’s not a good idea to have your IP address indexed. IP addresses are usually ephemeral.”

He advises users to ensure that IP addresses are redirected to their domain.

months afterwhen asked if the link from the IP address was wrong, Mueller tweeted:

“Links from IP addresses are absolutely fine. Most of the time, this means the server is not set up properly (we canonicalize to IP addresses instead of hostnames, which is easy to fix with redirects and rel=canonical), but that’s just a technical detail. That doesn’t mean they’re bad.”

At early stages 2020When asked how to get links from different IP addresses, Mueller said the bad part is users making their own backlinks — not IP addresses.

Then, in June, Mueller was asked what would happen if a website on an IP address bought a link. Will action be taken at the IP level?

“Shared hosting and CDNs on a single IP are very common. Having a few bad sites on an IP doesn’t make everything bad on that IP.”

exist Septemberwhen discussing bad communities affecting search rankings, Mueller said:

“I don’t know of any ranking algorithm that would consider IPs like this. Look at bloggers. There are good sites that do a good job (ignoring page limits, etc.) and there are bad sites that are hosted there. It’s all the same infrastructure, same IP address.”

exist NovemberGary Illyes, Director of Sunshine and Happiness at Google, shared a fun fact.

“Fun fact: Changing the underlying infrastructure of a website, such as server, IP, etc., can change the speed and frequency at which Googlebot crawls from that website. That’s because it actually detects some changes, which prompt it to relearn that it can crawl speed and frequency.”

While this is interesting information, it seems to affect crawling rather than rankings. Sure, crawling is necessary for ranking, but crawling is not a ranking factor.

exist 2021, a Twitter user asked if IP normalization would have a positive effect on SEO. Mueller replied:

“Unless people are linking to your site’s IP address (which is unexpected), it won’t have any impact on SEO.”

Later in DecemberAsked whether IP addresses rather than hostnames seem out of the ordinary when Google evaluates link quality, Meuller said, “IP addresses are fine. There are a lot of them on the Internet.”

If you’re worried about your IP address or your hosting company, the consensus seems to be: don’t worry.

Get more Google ranking factors insights.

Our conclusion: IP address is no longer a ranking factor

Is IP Address a Google Ranking Factor?

Is IP Address a Google Ranking Factor?

Perhaps in the past, Google has tried IP-level action against spam.

But it definitely found that to be invalid, because we didn’t see a Google representative confirm that IP addresses, shared hosting, and bad neighbors were part of the algorithm.

Therefore, we can now conclude that IP address is not a ranking factor.


Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Magazine

Ranking Factors: Fact or Fiction? Let's bust some myths! [Ebook]Ranking Factors: Fact or Fiction? Let's bust some myths! [Ebook]

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