As of date, there are over thousands of businesses in existence that are similar to yours. You can compare your business to a single fan in a crowd. While it is indeed challenging to get yourself noticed, do not be intimidated because there are methods you can work on to stand out. By now, you may already be aware that SEO is your best friend when it comes to achieving online visibility. It’s free, reliable, and always at your side.
It’s not always rainbows, sunshine, and high stats with SEO though. Several factors can affect your ranking on Google. Of course, some of the more important are the keywords, backlinks, content, and your SEO service provider. But another factor you shouldn’t neglect is your web host. Yes, although everything else may be perfect with your SEO strategy, once you fall short with your web host, your efforts can receive significant damage.
What is a web host anyway?
To keep it simple, web hosting or a web hosting service provider is what allows internet users to view your website. Basically, without a server hosting your website, it cannot and will not run on its own. These businesses will have the appropriate technologies to support your websites’ information and make it available for everyone. It isn’t a one-time pass through. You need to regularly update or renew hosting services depending on the duration of your subscription.
How important is web hosting in SEO?
In a word – very. We immediately associate SEO with content production, web design and development, and mobile optimization. In this article, we’re going to shed some light on how web hosting affects SEO:
Uptime and downtime affect SEO
You would want your website to be live and running all the time as much as possible, because a customer may arrive at any time without warning. When it coincides that your website is down, you already missed a potential customer. Frequent inaccessibility will lead Google to flag your website as unreliable. They’re not going to give websites that are down most of the time a high ranking because that’s going to ruin the reputation of their search engine. They want to display the best results as possible.
In choosing a web hosting service provider, it’s important to note how their average uptime. Cliché as it may sound, time IS gold. The lesser your website’s uptime is, the more money you will lose. Whenever you encounter problems with your accessibility, it’s best to contact your provider to receive a remedy or a solution.
Website speed is a ranking factor directly affected by your web hosting provider
Aside from luring your customers’ attention and being accessible, your website must also have a decent loading speed. How fast? Fast enough that your visitor won’t lose patience and interest. The internet can offer them a wide variety of sources for their questions. If you’re lucky enough to get clicked, don’t let the slow loading speed discourage from proceeding further.
A good hosting provider will load the information fast and allow your audience to navigate your website with ease. Customers love not waiting. In turn, your website will receive a good review and will be ranked higher by Google.
A big part of the SEO community believes that loading speed in itself is a ranking factor, so the faster your websites loads, the better ranking signal it is. So make sure you optimize your website properly with caching, image compression, using the latest software etc. You can also contact experts to do that optimization for you.
Your server’s location and your domain name
Similar to local SEO, choosing a local host for a local audience will generate the easiest traffic for your website. Google will assess where your website is located. So if you’ve chosen a server that’s close to your target audience, your website will be displayed more likely in the results compared to when it’s located in another country.
If your website is local and targetting users from a certain country, you should also get a domain from that country (ccTLD). So if your website is based in the UK and your target audience is from the UK, get a .uk or .co.uk domain, and UK-based web hosting. Namecheap is one of the best domain providers, and offers various domain extensions, including .uk ones.
An SSL certificate (HTTPS)
Having an SSL certificate (HTTPS) is a ranking factor and this has been confirmed by Google. Most web hosting providers offer a free SSL certificate, so make sure you implement it. Most hosting providers have set up an automated SSL installation process into their control panel, so you can install a free SSL certificate and configure domain redirection with a couple of clicks.
Aside from HTTPS being a ranking factor, you’ll also get points for user trust. Your visitors will feel a lot safer visiting your site without that warning you get when websites don’t have an SSL. An SSL is a must, especially if you deal with sensitive data from submissions.
Other websites you share an IP with
Although this hasen’t been confirmed by Google, people often say that it can affect your SEO. Basically, when you get shared hosting, you use the same server and same IP address with dozens other websites, sometimes even hundreds. If some or most of those websites do spam, or get penalties, that IP will be associated with “bad SEO”. So if you’re hosted on the same server and IP address with other spammy websites, your legit website will also be affected. To avoid this, you should always go with a better hosting provider, get cloud hosting with a dedicated IP, or just check what kind of websites are hosted on the IP address you’re using with your shared hosting account.
The security of your websites and server
If you don’t properly secure your websites, or if your server isn’t secured enough, you can easily get hacked or attacked and this will greatly affect your rankings. If a hacker breaks into your website, they can easily modify your content to the point where you don’t even notice it. Or if the hosting provider hasn’t secured their server enough, apart from breaking into your website, they can do a DoS attack on the server, making it unresponsive. What that means for you is that your websites will be offline. So make sure you get a hosting provider with built-in server security, and make sure you secure your websites.
Choosing your provider
Not all websites will require the same type of hosting. For example, a popular online store would definitely need at least a (managed) VPS for security and accessibility purposes. On the other hand, a small company website can opt for a shared hosting service. While you may want the provider that has the highest uptime and the fastest loading speed, you should also consider what route would be the most cost-efficient for you. It’s best to do your own research, learn how to choose a hosting provider, or contact experts and let them choose a provider for you.
We have lists/comparisons of the best web hosting providers in certain categories that may fit your requirements:
- WordPress hosting (managed, unmanaged, cloud, and shared)
- Cloud hosting (unmanaged)
- Managed VPS/Cloud hosting
About the Author
This article was submitted to us by a third-party writer. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the views and opinions of ThisHosting.Rocks. If you want to write for ThisHosting.Rocks, go here.
Jessica Madrazo is the Operations Director of Coffeebot, a Philippine-based digital marketing company that offers SEO, social media, lead generation, web design and other general virtual assistant services. She has been in the outsourcing industry for years, and has helped small businesses from different parts of the globe reach their goals.