Load Balancing – SEO

Question: Can using a load balancing system be detrimental to your SEO efforts?

I have recently noticed a lot of daily fluctuations in the SERPs for a reasonably competitive keyword that my client is targeting. One day it’ll go down 18 spots, then jump by 9, then again by 10, then down by 12, it’s all over the shop. Weirder still, we’ve not been changing much recently either, they just keep bouncing up and down. Then I spotted flagfox was showing a Dutch IP, which for a UK focussed site, isn’t great news.

I brought this up with the technical lead during our weekly call, and he mentioned that it could have been due to the load balancing system provided by Akamai. Dubbed as a “site accelerator” service, Akamai clients maintain one copy of their site on an “origin server” which then pushes the data out onto the rest of the Akamai server network. When a user wants to access a site hosted by Akamai, their global load balancing system defines and decides on the optimal server within the network to send the user too. All well and good if all the servers are hosted within the same country… not so all well and good when a UK facing site is hosted in the UK when the first Google DC hits in, in .NL the next time, .DE the time after that and .CO.CK the time after that (that’s the Cook Islands’ TLD, I swear).