Shared IP Address and SEO – Can It Harm Your Visibility? An Example of Bad IP Neighborhood Issues and the Effects of Solving Them
SEO isn’t all black and white. Sometimes elements and activities that shouldn’t theoretically decrease your website visibility can hinder your growth. This is what can happen if you share your IP address with poor quality pages with prohibited or restricted content. If your SEO process doesn’t bring the expected results, you should verify your website’s environment and make sure it’s not toxic. If it’s the case, identify the problems and find ways to solve them. How to do it? When should you invest in a dedicated IP and what results can it bring? Keep reading to find out!
Table of contents:
- Does a Shared IP Affect SEO? When Your IP Neighborhood Should Be Verified
- Shared IP and SEO – How to Verify What Domains Use the Same IP
- Shared IP and SEO – How to Verify the Quality of Neighboring Domains
- Shared IP vs Dedicated IP for SEO
- Shared IP Address and SEO – Did Transition to Dedicated IP Help?
- The Takeaway
What you will learn:
- How to check if you share your IP address with other domains and what domains they are
- When these domains can have a negative impact on your website’s visibility
- What are the pros and cons of a dedicated IP
- What effects I’ve achieved when changing my client’s IP address from a shared to a dedicated IP neighborhood.
When buying domain hosting, many people choose a shared IP address. This is mainly because such a solution is much cheaper (I’ll discuss all pros and cons later in this article). In most cases, shared hosting is more than enough and shouldn’t cause any problems. Even if the IP neighborhood includes one website with adult, restricted, spammy, or prohibited content.
However, the situation gets much more complex when there are more poor-quality domains and your valuable website is an exception there.
In this case, a bad IP neighborhood can hinder SEO activities and prevent your website visibility growth. Even Google mentions it. According to its experts, it’s not the greatest priority, however, sharing an IP with spammy websites with restricted content isn’t a dream situation.
Keep reading my entry to find out how to check if you share your IP with other websites, what kind of websites they are, and how changing your IP address from a shared to a dedicated one can boost your visibility.
Does a Shared IP Affect SEO? When Your IP Neighborhood Should Be Verified
As I have already mentioned, sharing IP addresses and hosting with other websites usually shouldn’t be problematic. For this reason, taking a closer look at your IP neighborhood isn’t a priority, and you don’t have to do it every month, or right after buying the domain.
However, it’s worth checking if you don’t share an IP address with a spammy website when you see that the conducted SEO activities don’t bring the expected results.
Of course, you shouldn’t assume that the lack of satisfactory SEO results means that your website has a bad IP neighborhood, which hinders visibility growth. But since checking it doesn’t take long, it’s worth doing.
After all, it may turn out that you have similar problems to one of my clients.
Shared IP and SEO – How to Verify What Domains Use the Same IP
I have great news for you! There are free tools that allow you to check and verify what websites share the IP address with your site.
The process involves two main steps. First, you have to determine the number of pages you share the domain with. Then, it’s time to verify these pages.
Step 1. Check How Many Pages Share IP
I’ll start with determining the number of pages. To do it, you can use the intuitive, free tool Whois.
When you enter the URL of your domain, you should receive information about the IP, including the number of domains that share it:
Please note that a bigger number doesn’t have to indicate problems.
As I have mentioned, in many cases if these are normal domains, they won’t deteriorate your visibility. In fact, if these are high-quality pages, they can support your SEO process.
Just take a look at Delante.
But, let’s talk about the other scenario when SEO activities don’t bring the expected results, and the tool shows you that you share the IP address with numerous pages.
In this case, you should verify these websites.
Step 2. Find What Domains You Share IP With
How to do it?
Don’t worry! There is another free tool that comes in handy. Check out Reverse IP Lookup.
This time, instead of entering your website URL, provide your IP address. This is everything you need to do to obtain a list of domains you share your IP with.
Not sure how to proceed?
I’ll demonstrate this using an old IP address of my client who had such a problem:
Sometimes, you’ll be able to tell right away that the list contains poor quality, spammy pages with prohibited content.
However, to get your facts right, you should verify each of them in detail.
Shared IP and SEO – How to Verify the Quality of Neighboring Domains
If the domains you share the IP address with are suspicious, you have to check them.
Although it’s worth verifying these domains manually (sometimes spammy pages with prohibited content don’t look like that at first glance), it’s possible to examine all the websites collectively, using tools like Screaming Frog.
It’s a great tool for checking basic parameters. To do it, select the list option in Screaming Frog:
Then, click upload and select enter manually:
Paste the addresses collected in the previous stage of the process:
Already at this point, you can check a few parameters that will allow you to briefly evaluate your website’s IP neighborhood.
The first element you should pay attention to is the response code. Thanks to this, you’ll be able to check how many of the analyzed pages actually work, and how many of them are empty or generate errors.
This will help you save a lot of time you’d otherwise spend verifying the domains manually – after all, there is no reason to enter pages generating 404 errors. They don’t contain any content.
In the same view, you can also check if these pages are indexed. This information can be found two columns away. In the case of regular, valuable pages, there shouldn’t be any issues with indexation.
If you notice any problems at this point, you can assume that there may be some empty, junk, or spammy pages.
Inlinks and outlinks (screenshot below) are elements you should analyze next. This will allow you to check if the site has any internal and external links. Such elements are standard when talking about regular, quality websites.
All these pieces of information will allow you to quickly and easily evaluate your IP neighborhood. Moreover, sometimes when looking at the titles themselves, you’ll be able to tell if you’re dealing with pages with prohibited or restricted content.
Note that data from Screaming Frog can be exported to Excel. This way, you can use it during subsequent analysis.
Having such an accurate picture of the environment of your site, you can still manually check individual domains by visiting them and verifying their content or destinations where the pages showing redirect codes in Screaming Frog actually redirect users.
In the case of my client, apart from empty pages with 404 errors visible in Screaming Frog, I found numerous spammy pages, as well as websites with adult and prohibited content.
This made me think that such a poor quality IP neighborhood has a negative impact on my client’s website visibility that should be increasing as the result of performed activities.
Therefore, we decided to move the site to a dedicated IP address and server.
Shared IP vs Dedicated IP for SEO
If performed SEO activities don’t meet your expectations, and your website visibility remains the same or even decreases, you should check your IP neighborhood. If it turns out it might be the cause of the problem, you should consider changing the server and choosing a dedicated IP address.
The process itself is simple and completed by the hosting company. You just need to purchase a dedicated server and have your website transferred.
My client decided to follow this path, which translated into incredible website visibility growth. However, before I move on to discussing the effects, let’s talk about the pros and cons of dedicated IP address SEO.
Dedicated IP Address SEO – Downsides
So, the main disadvantage of a dedicated IP address is that it’s a much more expensive solution.
That’s why in most cases it’s not a necessity and the change isn’t done as a priority.
Because usually sharing IPs and servers with other pages shouldn’t affect your website and allows you to save lots of money.
The problems described in today’s article should be categorized as an exception to the rule. This means that you should change your IP neighborhood only if your website has similar problems.
Dedicated IP Address SEO – Benefits
Let’s move on to the advantages. A dedicated IP address gives you full control over your website. This means your page visibility won’t decrease as a result of a spammy, gambling, or prohibited environment.
Moreover, in some cases, a dedicated server can boost your website speed. How is it possible? The cheapest, shared hostings are frequently cluttered and therefore work slower. As you probably know, website loading time is one of the most important Google ranking factors.
Not SEO-wise however, as you don’t risk that someone else using the same address will be flagged as spam, making it difficult or even impossible for you to send marketing emails (they’d be marked as spam because of your IP address, even if they’re high quality).
Shared IP Address and SEO – Did Transition to Dedicated IP Help?
In the case of my client, changing the toxic IP environment and neighborhood to a dedicated server resulted in increased website visibility, traffic, and better positions in the search results.
What’s more, important metrics began to increase right after we moved the domain.
Of course, the effects weren’t caused only by changing the IP address. They were as a result of all the performed activities. However, it needs to be noted that these activities didn’t work so well before changing the IP address.
All the charts below show the results and improvements. The vertical line marks the moment of changing the server and IP address:
It’s worth remembering that in the vast majority of cases, a shared IP and server shouldn’t be problematic and you can safely use this type of hosting.
However, if you’ve been investing in SEO activities for some time, and they don’t bring the expected results, or you even notice a decrease in your website visibility or traffic, it’s worth examining your page’s environment.
In a situation when your website’s neighborhood is of poor quality, choosing a dedicated IP and server can quickly translate into growth and improved results of your page.
My client decided to move the website to a dedicated server and IP address. However, if you can’t afford it, you can always select another shared hosting, first making sure that it doesn’t contain poor quality, spammy pages with prohibited content.
Of course, a good IP address isn’t enough to rank high on Google and boost your website traffic. In order for this to happen, you need a comprehensive SEO strategy and a whole range of SEO activities.
Not sure where to start? Contact us! We’ll be more than happy to prepare an offer tailored to your requirements!