Do you use a hosting company? Ever wondered where that server actually was located? If you institution is in Canada and your main target market is in Canada, then your local search results will be impacted positively if the server that hosts your website is in Canada.
Mattias Geniar has a blog post and says this about physical server location and SEO:
“Search engines (Yahoo!, Google, MSN, …) will use the IP address of your website’s hosting to determine the physical location. This helps search engines in bringing better “localized” search results. Because, after all, when you’re searching for a bakery on the search engine in your country (ie; www.google.co.uk if you’re from the UK, www.google.nl somewhere in your area. What good is a bakery in Germany, when you’re from France? (no matter how good those muffins are!)”
I came across a tool, that accurately displays on a Google Map the physical location of any server. All you need to do is provide the URL. The Server Location Lookup tool is a feature of a web company called 81 Solutions. I have tried this with several URLs that I know that actual server location of, and the results were correct.
Just because company has a TLD from a specific country (i.e. .ca), it doesn’t mean their servers on in that same country. Take for example, netfirms.ca. One would assume that there servers are in Canada because of their TLD, but using the Server Location Lookup Tool, you can see that the servers are located in Atlanta, Georgia.
So before you sign-up for a 3rd party hosting provider, check the location of their servers using this tool. It can make a difference in your local SEO!