Here’s the deal: hosting affects your SEO. The problem is that most hosts are doing a disservice to your SEO instead of helping you rise through the ranks. That’s right. It’s not poor linking building, improper keyword selection or one of the various Google penalties holding you back. It’s your host. However, there’s a bit of good news in this.
The truth is that about 98-99% of your competition is also using poor hosting. Knowing the best host for your SEO will help you easily beat these competitors. The other good thing is that Google will almost instantly change your rankings. It should take weeks or months like with other SEO changes. Your rankings should go up the moment the spiders crawl your website. Here are a few things that a good host can do for you.
Uptime is a major factor when it comes to SEO. Why? Because a website that’s frequently offline isn’t good, at least according to Google’s standards. Nobody wants to visit a website that goes offline for no reason, and no one wants to waste their time clicking on your link if your website won’t work. Google understands how users feel about this, and they will have no qualms about quickly reducing your rank.
If you are using a host that promises 100% uptime and you aren’t paying a huge amount of money, then the host is lying. No matter how good the host is, you will be down at least every now and then. There’s a ton of reasons why, but they aren’t too important for your end. The fact is that you need to choose a host that offers at least satisfactory uptime.
Some hosts offer 95% uptime. DON’T USE THESE HOSTS! They will kill your SEO. Most guarantee 99% uptime, which isn’t bad. However, you should get at least 99.9% or higher. Never go below 99% unless you want to commit SEO suicide.
Also, make sure to check the host’s uptime to ensure that they are delivering on their guarantee. If the host doesn’t keep up with their guarantee, then choose someone else. It doesn’t matter if the host guarantees 99.999% uptime and they are only doing 99.998%. If they are lying about their uptime, then what else could be wrong?
Did you ever try visiting your website and got annoyed because it took too long? Loading speed is the next thing that Google checks. Here’s some cold facts for you: 40% of people will steer clear of your website if it takes longer than three seconds to load. You’ll also lose about 1% more customers and readers for every additional .10 of a second it takes.
So, get out that stopwatch and start counting. If your website doesn’t completely load in two or three seconds (and your Internet speed is adequate), then you can be sure that Google is taking notice. Their spiders have been programmed to check for this.
Most hosts don’t want to acknowledge their poor site load speeds (usually because they want to squeeze as many people as possible on one server), but you can find this out by calling or emailing the host and asking how long it takes for an average Web page to load.
If it’s more than three seconds, then you need to find someone else. As stated above, make sure that your personal Internet speeds are good, otherwise it will throw off the readings.
Location, location, location. Yes, it matters where the host’s server is. While it would be nice to have a content distribution network with servers peppered throughout the world, that’s not practical for a new or small website.
You just want to make sure that your website will be placed on a server in the same country as your main following. If you are targeting the international market of India, then having a server in India is perfect. If you want to tackle a domestic audience, then that Indian server would be terrible.
Not only would the server produce low loading speeds because the data has to travel a long distance, but Google would give you a small penalty for this. Your server should be in the same country that you are serving.
If you don’t know where your following will be (though your domestic country is usually the best bet), then install Google Analytics and see where your audience is coming from.
When’s the last time you thought about server stability? Most people don’t, but it can really hurt your website if you experience a surge of traffic. A bad server will crash the moment that your website becomes popular.
For example, let’s say that you normally get 100 visitors a day and the server is fine. You implement a new marketing strategy and you expect to get 1,000 customers a day. Many of these people will be able to see your website, but the large number of visitors might be too much for the server.
Some files may not load, loading speeds can decrease or the server might just go offline. Regardless of what happens, poor server stability can really hurt your SEO. Not only does this contribute to the downtime and loading speed problems, but it also shows Google that your website in unpredictable when it comes to performance.
This is another thing that you must ask the host. You should be wary about only relying on the host’s word, but that’s often the only thing that you can go by when it comes to performance.
If you only have a new website, then stability probably won’t be your major concern. At the same time, you should check this ASAP to ensure that you are getting the best service and the best SEO from your host.
Do you want to rise through the ranks and grab SEO gold? You might be doing all the right things when it comes to linking and marketing yourself, but your host can hold you back. If you want to get better rankings, then it’s time to reevaluate your host and ensure that you are getting the best. If not, then don’t be afraid to leave them for someone else that can really help your website or business. There’s no reason to stay with a host that isn’t helping you out.
Photo Credit: Flickr/macinate