Learn How Your Hosting Plan Can Help Improve Your Website's Ranking
Read this article to know how your website hosting impacts the search ranking on your website. Know which parameters are responsible for affecting your SERPs and how to remedy them.
Ranking on the first page of Google is the goal for essentially every business in the digital era. That means that you and millions of other businesses are trying to fill ten openings. As such, it's no wonder that there is such a focus on SEO in modern marketing practices.
Having a website is a necessity in this era, and it's easier than ever for businesses to handle website building and management themselves. However, do they risk a negative impact on their SEO by doing so? Read on to learn how your web hosting plan can help improve your website's ranking.
Choosing Your Host
There's a lot of conflicting information about whether or not the host you choose for your website has an impact on your ranking. This is primarily because the answer is confusing to many without knowledge of how these various components work together, such as a small business owner or startup with limited tech savvy.
Can your hosting service impact your SEO? Yes, and also no.
Contrary to the conspiracy theories online, there is no preference given to one hosting service over another based on who owns the business. There are no secret partnerships with Google that allow people who use one host to perform better than another.
However, Google does rank websites based on performance metrics that are directly impacted by the hosting service you use. As with anything in life, some hosts provide a better offering than others. As Google ultimately prioritizes pages that provide a better end-user experience in relation to convenience, quality, and relevance, a lower-quality hosting provider may result in lower website rankings.
Fortunately, you can look at what a hosting service offers before choosing. Most hosting providers will outline what they have to offer in a clear, easy-to-understand format.
What Aspects of Hosting Matter?
To choose the hosting service that will give you the best opportunity for a first-page ranking, you need to understand a bit more about SEO. SEO comprises of three main areas: on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and site performance. Site performance is where hosting makes an impact.
SEO site performance relies on site speed, server location and performance, uptime versus downtime, and SSL.
Site speed is one of the many things Google evaluates when ranking a page, specifically how long it takes the page in question to load. There are a lot of things that can impact loading time, but hosting is a part of the equation.
It's important to remember that you have two seconds to capture your target audience's attention. Beyond that, engagement decreases with each second and becomes basically nonexistent beyond ten seconds. Google not only wants to know if your content is relevant to the search terms used but that the searcher is going to be able to see the data relevant to their query.
One of the hosting-related factors that impact site speed is server sharing. Take time to determine whether this applies to the hosts you're considering. In many cases, page loading speed is tied into the ugly code on the back-end of the website and has little to do with the hosting provider. However, if you know your site is solid but loading time is consistently an issue, take a look at your host and determine if you require more bandwidth or another provider.
Here's where things get a little tricky. Google looks at the location of your site when ranking for queries. It's local SEO that gives you results in your area. For example, if you search "best sushi restaurant" with no location indicated, it's through Google's algorithms that restaurants in your vicinity show up, rather than a great hole-in-the-wall sushi joint 1000 miles away.
So, if your server and IP address are in the USA, and your business is in Canada, your business might rank for someone who isn't in your demographic. However, this isn't the end of the world.
You can combat a conflicting server location by focusing on your on-page local SEO and ensuring that your Google business information is up-to-date. When it comes to data back-up, it's good to have servers that are in various geographic locations in the event of a disaster. That being said, your server location can make it so you have extra work to do to ensure your sushi restaurant shows up when people nearby conduct a search.
Uptime vs. Downtime
Uptime refers to how often your site is up and running. If there are problems with the host's servers, your site will experience downtime. In other words, your audience won't be able to access it and will instead go to your competition. Not only is this problematic for competing in the market, but it also makes Google very unhappy and can result in a penalization on your site.
It's understandable that errors occur with your hosting provider and results in short periods of downtime. However, you want to be sure that this is infrequent. Even as much as 98% uptime is still 14 hours of downtime over the course of a month.
Your SSL certificate is what indicates that your site is secure. Google prefers to know that users are protected, especially in a time when privacy and data protection compliance are such hot-topic issues. Look for a host that can give you an "https" rather than the traditional "http" on your site.
Don't skip out on your research when you're choosing an SSL certificate. There are plenty of online resources that you can trust, one of them including this big review website called DNS: https://www.dnsstuff.com/. You can find different security topics there that will help you improve your SEO strategy and make it more user-friendly.
While SEO is a multifaceted area, starting at the core and building around a strong hosting service can set your page up for ranking success. Consistency is the key, so make sure you figure out a strategy and stick to it for at least 3-6 months to start seeing results.