Before investing the question of whether changing nameservers affects search engine rankings, it is helpful to know what it means to change nameservers. Public nameservers are what identifies a certain web hosting server to the other computer that is trying to access content on that server. Nameservers would only be changed if the website was being moved to a different hosting provider. They may initially be moved if the domain name is maintained by one hosting provider but the website will actually be hosted with another. Either way, a change in nameservers means relocation of a website to another host.
Reasons for Changing Nameservers
As mentioned earlier, nameservers may be changed simply because the domain was purchased with one company but the website will be hosted with another company. In other instances, the website owner may be choosing to move to a different hosting provider for reasons like price, speed, downtime, or other issues.
Although it will be invisible to visitors, a change in nameservers will result in a change in the hosting server for the website. The URL that visitors use to access the site may remain exactly the same; however, the website will be hosted on a different computer. This new web hosting server may have different specifications than the previous server.
Changing Nameservers Will Typically Not Affect Your Rankings
The simple act of changing nameservers will not make any changes to the search engine rankings or SEO factors. Changing nameservers can be a fairly quick task. There will be a minimal amount of time required to make the change. It can usually be done within minutes. So, there is no reason for this to change search engine rankings.
Exceptions to This
Yes, the last section just stated that changing nameservers would not affect search engine rankings and that is true. The actual act of changing nameservers will not cause any changes in ranking; however, there may be other factors about the new server that will cause changes in search engine ranking. These changes in ranking will not happen because of the nameserver change; they will happen because of issues related to the new server.
1. Poor Bandwidth
Some web hosting servers may not allow the websites they host to use unlimited amounts of bandwidth. Some many even set the bandwidth limits very low. These servers may deny access to sites that have used their bandwidth limit for the day. If the web host denies access to the site, a search engine bot will not be able to access the site. This may result in lower rankings if a search engine tries to access the website and cannot do so.
2. Bad Neighbors
Be careful when moving to a new web hosting provider. What other types of websites do they host? If they host sites who practice spamming techniques or sites that distribute questionable content,the search engines may penalize any pages that come from the same host.
3. Oversea Location
This may be especially true with Google. The location of the web host will determine which geographical version of the Google search engine will yield the best results. Also, Google uses some factors that help show customers exactly what they need to see. Customers who are in the United States will likely be looking for businesses in the United States. If the website for a US business is hosted on a server in a different country, Google may show that site further down the page because it assumes it is not a US company.
4. Poor Speed
The speed of the web hosting server may affect search engine rankings in more than one way. If a search engine bot tries to access a very slow website, it may either give up before the page loads and penalize the page for being inaccessible, or it may simply penalize the site for taking too long to load.
Visitors who try to access a slow site will usually give up and leave the site quickly. This will increase the bounce rate of a website, which will push that site even further down the Google rankings.
5. Excessive Downtime
Some web hosting providers are more reliable than others. Some servers may have higher incidences of downtime. Anytime a server is down there is a risk that a search engine bot might try to access it during those times. If a bot unsuccessfully tries to access a site it will penalize the site for being inaccessible.
6. Changes to Site Structure
A website is ranked based on its URL and domain name. Some web hosting servers may require slight changes to a domain name. No matter how slight, any changes to the domain name will change the way a page is ranked in the search engines.
7. Database Errors
Some website hosts may not have many problems on their regular pages, but they may have problems with database access. Errors in database connections will cause error messages to display on the page instead of the normal page content. With search engines, content is the key. When search engine bots try to access the site, they will find pages that contain database error messages instead of content that is related to the site keywords.
Hackers exist. Without good website protection methods, hackers can invade websites and commit various acts in the name of the victim domain. Once search engines see that the domain name is being used for undesirable means, it may be hard to get those search engines to remove any penalties that may have been imposed because of the hacked websites.
9. Duplicate Content
Some web hosting servers will automatically create subdomains in the name of the original website. This may result in exact duplicate content being shown on both the regular domain name and the subdomain address. Search engines frown on any duplicate content. There are ways to tell Google which content should be considered as original.
10. Other Errors
Although there are paid services that provide statistics for websites, some web hosting providers will provide these types of services for free. While these services do not directly affect search engine ranking, they can be analyzed to determine best practices for ranking higher in the search engines. By following those best practices, a website might rank higher than it would have without the help of the web statistic analytic reports.
The simple act of changing a nameserver will not cause any change in search engine rankings; however, there are many factors about individual web hosting servers that may cause sites to rank higher on one than they would on the other. Be sure to research to find the best web hosting service that will provide the best search engine rankings.