Back in the old days, Google used the location of the server and ccTLD to figure out if your site should be ranked in a specific localized version of Google. So if you had a .fr and your server was based in France, that was a strong signal you should rank more in Google France over Google.com US. In fact, Matt Cutts said a few years ago that even if you have a ccTLD your IP should be in that country as well.
That being said, over the years with cloud based servers (yes, you can host in specific regions) Google has become to rely more on the ccTLD and Google Search Console setting. John Mueller of Google said on Twitter that “for geotargeting we use mostly the ccTLD or search console setting,” adding “place the server where it works best for you.” Your server can be anywhere, he implied.
For geotargeting we use mostly the ccTLD or search console setting, so place the server where it works best for you.
— John â.o(â§â-½â¦)o.â (@JohnMu) July 7, 2017
We have covered the topic dozens and dozens of times over the past decade or so, so it is interesting to see how the answer slightly changes over those years.
Forum discussion at Twitter.