For years there has been a conversation around the benefits of having a dedicated IP address to improve search engine optimization potential. This blog will seek to answer the question, “Should you have a dedicated IP address to improve Google search engine optimization?” Deep breath everyone, this is a contentious topic for many. If you want more answers or help check out our SEO Services!
Why Having a Dedicated IP is Safer
When you have many websites on one IP address, you run a risk. Why? Well, if that IP address is seen as being spamming by Google it is not only one website that suffers, but all of the sites that live on that IP have the potential to be put in jeopardy to some extent.
One Internet consultant says, “For the average site, my experience is that it really doesn’t matter if it’s shared or not. It only becomes an issue if you begin to push the spam envelope, at which point I would suggest you have other problems other than your IP…”
Having multiple sites on one IP address is kind of like having many eggs in one basket. If that basket breaks, so do your eggs or individual websites. That being said, is this reason enough to actively demand dedicated IP addresses for all of your websites? Daniel Scocco of DailyBlogTips.com seems to think so.
“There are cases where a shared IP could hurt your site though. Suppose one of the websites sharing your IP gets flagged for adult or spam content, or suffers some other strong penalty that extends to the whole IP address. Your website would inevitably suffer the consequences as well.
This is a rare situation, but it could happen.
If your website is growing fast or making a good amount of money, therefore, I think it could be a good idea to grab a dedicated IP. Just in case, as they say. I have booked one for Daily Blog Tips already.”
What is odd is that most developers are very adamant about not worrying about a dedicated IP. They all seem to scream it doesn’t matter. However, most people agree with the idea that if one domain is flagged as spam it could hurt the others. They also seem to agree that being on the same IP gives them a connection, very much like brothers are part of the same gene pool.
Does Having a Dedicated IP Actually Help Rankings?
This is where it gets tricky. If you read most literature on this online you will find some very hostile debates. It actually gets a little uncomfortable…
So does it help rankings? Let’s read a bit from a post on Search Engine Journal.
One reader refers to the 2006 post on the Matt Cutts blog that references 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–thanks for giving me the chance to dispel a myth!”
Based on this statement it would appear they have the same ranking potential. There is of course the chance that they could be misconfigured though, which could hurt you. What does he mean by a misconfigured IP address?
Sean Ruiz, our Director of Engineering had this to say, “The only thing I can think of in regards to misconfiguring the virtual hosts is that sometimes people map the wrong hostnames (domain and subdomains) to the wrong websites – so sometimes some other person’s website might appear on your domain.”
Anyway, let’s move on.
Does it Matter if the Sites Have Similar Content?
One thing people often worry about when running many websites from the same IP is that it could be seen as a link network. What is a link network? It is a group of websites that all link to each other to increase ranking potential. This is usually only an issue when there are a lot of sites all linking to each other in an attempt to manipulate Google rankings. NOTE: Not all sites that link to each other are link networks. In many cases it is perfectly fine to link sites up, but just like everything in life and in SEO, it should be done in moderation.
Many SEO professionals feel that when all of these sites are on the same IP address it gives Google another reason to associate the sites together, thus, it appears that they are not individual websites but instead a group of sites. If they share the same template, have similar structures and content this can be an issue. I have seen it myself in a few cases. Let me give you an example.
Say you sell skateboard products. You decide it would be a good idea to create a micro site for each skateboard item. You create the following domains:
You get the idea.
The concept is that if these sites have their own IP address they stand more alone. But if they share an IP address and have other similar qualities Google catches on a little easier. Furthermore, if they all link to each other and are on the same IP, the interlinking weight is slightly discounted.
Let’s read some comments on this topic from a thread on Warriorforum below.
Warriorforum comment 1
“You can have one million sites all from the same IP and Google doesn’t see that as any type of spam. Now if you tried linking them together then it may raise flags but not always.”
Warriorforum comment 2
It might be a good idea not to use the same template for all 100 sites though. Just a thought.
Warriorforum comment 3
What WILL get you Google slapped while on a shared hosting account, is heavily cross-linking your websites together.
It’s not a problem as long as:
1. The sites aren’t duplicates
2. The sites aren’t spam sites with poor content
Backlinking all of your sites to a central money site won’t provide as much benefit (unclear to what extent) from a link juice perspective however.
Warriorforum comment 4
Agreed. The only time you have something to worry about is when you start linking them together. Now if you are or were doing something spammy with one domain then that also may reflect on the other sites on the same IP etc.
Summary on the Static IP Debate
At this point we have gone over a tone of info on whether a dedicated IP helps search engine optimization or not. To sum up, Google says it doesn’t matter unless there are some spammy things occurring on the network of websites on that IP. Also, as long as nothing is misconfigured it’s not an issue. Hosting companies usually charge a couple extra bucks for a dedicated IP a month. Go Daddy for example charges an extra $5.99 a month. Personally, I would rather pay the 6 bucks and I feel any other serious website should as well. If it’s just a couple blogs or basic corporate site, sure use a shared IP. But if you want to make a serious online push get your own IP.
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