As evidenced from Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool, they consider the speed of delivery of your page content.
One of the factors determining speed of delivery relates to how quickly your server can respond to requests. A typical response time may be around the 100-200 milliseconds. According to Google, you should aim for below 200ms.
There are times when server response time may be greater than desired, and there could be many influencing factors.
Some of the things you should consider investigating if your server is slow is looking at what other websites are also being hosted on the same server;
- How many of those website are quite large and may be draining resources;
- How much resource your own site might be taking and whether or not that is reflecting on server speed;
- What available resources there are on your server and if they are sufficient for the task;
- Whether or not traffic flows during peak times may be causing a lag.
Don’t forget, if you send out mass emails to clients offering mind-blowingly awesome special offers, expect a sudden drain on resources at the peak time when those emails are being opened.
Also check if anyone else on your shared server may be doing the same thing.
Technically, a website can be hosted anywhere in the world and it (generally) doesn’t really matter in terms of SEO what that exact location is, but if your hosting service is not central to the geographic location that you want to service, then your website visitors may experience lags in downloading your content to their browsers.
I always recommend locating your server as close as possible to your target market so that delivery distance doesn’t have a negative effect.
You might also find that if your server was located in the USA but your target market was in New Zealand, expect some server delays when the USA domestic market is most active, for example at between 8am and 5pm US time, and again between 8pm and 10pm US time. These are the probable times of greatest domestic load on the internet in the USA, and may cause a lag when trying to serve content to New Zealand.
Google will take some issue with seeing sites with slow server response times and this will negatively affect rank.
Most sites that are slow are slow because of issues with their content.