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Busting the Myth of SEO Hosting


Brent: Here’s another brilliant post from Cat. To guys who are obsessed with SEO: here’s why you shouldn’t bother with SEO hosting!

So, you think you need a dedicated IP address? Well if you’re running an e-commerce site that may be true. But for the rest of you, what is it that you think you’re getting when you shell out the extra dough for SEO Hosting?

What’s SEO Hosting?

You might have seen “SEO hosting” packages offered through your web hosting company – it offers hosting for multiple websites on separate C-classes. That means each one of your websites has a different IP address from your other sites. They may still be hosted with other people’s sites on that same C-class, but your sites will all have different IP addresses.

If you spring for the dedicated IP SEO hosting, you will get a totally separate IP address for each website. Nobody else will be hosting their websites on the same IP. Of course this costs way more.

For website owners who would like to separate their websites from each other, SEO hosting presents savings over purchasing a separate web hosting account for each one. It also presents significant reduction in time spent managing your hosting, since you’ll be dealing with one account rather than several.

However, SEO hosting does not represent savings or hassle reduction over a simple shared hosting plan.

Why People Think They Need SEO Hosting

So why do people go in for SEO hosting? The key to that lies in the name itself. People are under the impression that if they splurge on a dedicated IP (or at least separate C classes) for each of their sites, it will help those sites rank in the search engines. They believe, misguidedly, that Google likes websites who live in expensive neighborhoods, so to speak.

A bad neighborhood would be a hosting plan where everyone is crowded together, tenement-style, onto a shared (cheaper) hosting plan. Web masters even use the term neighborhood when discussing SEO hosting and SERPS.

The Myth, Debunked

But it’s all a myth, and here’s why. For this we’ll turn to Google’s head of web spam, Matt Cutts. Considered the ultimate authority on what affects SERPS and PageRank, Matt Cutts had this to say in a 2006 blog post:

“… the misconception that having multiple sites hosted on the same IP address will in some way affect the PageRanks of those sites. There is no PageRank difference whatsoever between these two cases (virtual hosting vs. a dedicated IP)”

He then goes on to affirm a 2003 statement made by one of his Google predecessors, Craig Siverstein:

“…Google handles virtually hosted domains and their links just the same as domains on unique IP addresses”

So, Why Does the SEO Hosting Myth Persist?

The reason people still think SEO hosting will help their rankings are because good old-fashioned retail techniques are being applied on them while they shop.

You consider yourself a savvy shopper, right?

  • You’re aware of the “upsell”, where you set out to purchase something you need and wind up purchasing something bigger, better, and more expensive.
  • You’re aware of scare tactics, where you become convinced you need something for fear of x.
  • You’re aware of retailers creating premium level products and then convincing you that you deserve them. This is the luxury goods market.

These common retail techniques occur even in the mundane and seemingly straightforward world of web hosting.

Web host companies are using the myth that shared IP addresses and “bad neighbors” are a danger to your website and its rankings in the SERPS. They treat the dedicated IP as a luxury brand, something that will separate your site from the others, implying that this will cause it to magically rise in the search results.

So beware the upsell, the fear-mongering and the flimsy promises of SEO benefits of SEO hosting. There is no SEO advantage to be gained from SEO hosting!

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3 responses to “Busting the Myth of SEO Hosting”

  1. You missed probably the biggest reason people use SEO hosting. Private blog networks. The aim is to hide the fact it is a private blog network from Google.

    • Avatar anthony says:

      “People are under the impression that if they splurge on a dedicated IP (or at least separate C classes) for each of their sites” most likely means pbn’s if i understood correctly

    • Avatar Brent says:

      Everyone has different opinions on SEO hosting – it is a very debatable topic after all… but based on my (and many others’) experiences, there is no benefit in having your “private” blogs on different servers/IPs.

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