How hosting can affect SEO Efforts
There are many things that can effect SEO efforts, choosing a company to host your website doesn’t have to be a challenging task. While Google uses a large number of signals to ensure quality and diversity in results, there are some other lesser known web hosting factors that also effects rankings.
Here they are worth considering –
All major search engines including Google use the physical location of the server as a signal. And with domains which have a generic TLD (e.g. .com .net, .gov) this signal becomes all the more important. But again, changing your web hosting company is something that may be inevitable, and that most webmasters may come across at some point in time.
Let’s take an example. Your company is located in Canada however the data-centre and servers might be located in the US. Even though your company’s business or products may have absolutely no connection to ‘USA’ except the hosting, you may still achieve high rankings for highly competitive keywords on Google US.
Here’s what Google’s Matt Cutt says-
The location is an important ranking factor, deciding on which company to choose for hosting or transferring to a new web host should have some thought . Here are some questions to ask to allow you to properly choose your website’s host –
- Look for a hosting company that has all the necessary features that are required to display your website properly.
- Check for the operating system of the server and the supported web technology. It should be compatible to the technical specifications of your website.
- Check the available bandwidth of the hosting pack and its services and limitations.
- Make sure the hosting provider offers good technical support and is known for its quality services.
- Select the location of the server carefully. The best choice is to have the server in same country that you operate in.
- Test your website upon uploading on the new host.
Along with server location, the server uptime is another important consideration. Although this typically isn’t something that happens consistently, it does happen with some web hosting companies. If search engines, specifically Google crawls over to your website and finds it offline, search engines view this as a less reliable source and can affect website presence and rankings. Make sure the server has at least 99.9% uptime.
While most web hosts are pretty reliable these days, it is good to do thorough research and read reviews before making a decision.
Site speed is a well-known ranking signal, ensuring your web pages load as fast as possible is a strong signal to search engines. No more than two seconds of load time otherwise you will see significant changes in rankings. Having a fast website provides a better user experience and can lead to more conversions.
Depending on the size of your website, you may need to invest in more bandwidth. Some things to consider for your website would be:
- How much traffic will be directed to my site?
- Multi media- how much content, images and videos will be on my site?
- Does my site have ads on it?
- Fonts and widgets can also affect the page size.
Web visitors expect fast websites rich in content.
You can perform speed check for your site pages here:
Please note, a slow loading speed may not necessarily be your web host. The code and configuration of your site could also, instead be causing a slowdown.
Again, look up various Q & A forums and review sites to find how reputable the web server is. For sites drawn up in WordPress you could consider hosting on WP Engine or Web Synthesis which are optimized for performance and speed on the WP platform.
There are several things to consider when choosing a web site hosting company. Do they have their own data centre or are they reselling from another provider? Depending on the size of your site and web visitors, do you require dedicated servers?