SEO requires a lot of hard work and effort, and not only does the content of your website matter, but also where it is hosted. Writing the longest article on a topic or stuffing it with keywords isn't enough these days. At the end of the day, search engines reward sites that provide valuable information effectively. Which means the website need to be accessible and load fast. In this article I am taking a deeper dive into 5 of the ways a good or bad web host can impact SEO results.
As you probably already know, one important factor that determines your website's SEO performance is speed. The faster your website loads, the more likely it will rank higher in the search results. If your site loads slow a lot of the time, you better believe Google will take notice and react accordingly. Your site's stability and loading times can depend heavily upon the quality of your web host's servers. In many ways you will get what you pay for, cheaper hosts often have slower servers as they stuff multiple website into a shared hosting environment. As we well know, slow loading times cause visitors to bounce. That will for sure hurt your SEO in the long-run.
Even the best web host servers simply cannot guarantee 100% uptime. Things happen. That being said, top tier web hosts will usually be able to keep a 99.999% uptime. That equates to only about 5 minutes of downtime in a calendar year. The uptime/downtime of your web host depends on the resources used for its servers. The higher the server specs, the more expensive your subscription will be for that web host. If your website is down a lot, you better believe the search engines will take notice and react accordingly. So, if you notice you're having regular downtime issues, it probably is the right time to upgrade and swap hosting providers. To keep a closer eye on your website's uptime, I'd recommend setting up a monitoring system like Uptime Robot. It'll send you notifications when your site goes down and when it comes back up.
Popular amongst many small business owners is shared hosting, often due to it's affordability. There is a chance your site's search visibility will drop off if other sites on your shared server are spammy or low-quality. Another issues has do to with Google crawling. Specifically, Google has certain limits on indexing and they're based on IP addresses. So, if a shared hosting IP is already eating up too much Google crawler time (either because there are a ton of sites, or the other sites on the IP are exceptionally large), your site may take longer to index or be updated in the SERPs. There are also some speed impacts related to shared hosting. I.e., if another website on your shared IP is attracting a lot of traffic, the server will usually dedicate a larger portion of its resources to that site. This could slow down your own site, which isn't good for business. A dedicated hosting provider will always be your best option.
Trust is everything, as a business owner you probably already know this, but it cannot be repeated enough. In order to build trust with your audience, you'll want them to feel safe and secure when they browse (or checkout) on your website. After all, your website is in many ways "the bridge" that connects your audience with your brand. One critical way of establishing trust on your site is through an SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate. SSL certificates encrypt the exchange of data that takes place between a user's web browser and your server. It stands to reason that Google would care about this as well. At it's core, Google wants to continually improve the internet experience for users worldwide. So as early as 2014, Google acknowledged that SSL certificates were indeed a ranking signal in their algorithm. Some hosting companies even offer free SSL certification and you'll be able to activate the certificate on your domain within a few minutes. Other web hosts will require you to purchase the SSL certificate from a third-party, but will help out with the setup afterwards. Unless you're confident tweaking your control panel, it may be best to pick a web host that offers more robust SSL setup support and options.
Nobody wants to think about this, but it's a fact of life. Sometimes, we face disaster. There will always be a possibility that you'll lose the data on your site. Whether it be from a malicious attack or a natural disaster that wipes out a server farm's physical location, the end result will be the same. Catastrophe for site owners. Lost data. Lost rankings. Starting from scratch? It could easily kill a small business on the spot. To protect yourself from the worst consequences of these unfortunate scenarios, it's critical to have backups of your site. Many hosting providers offer backup services out of the box. They'll update on a regular basis and have all of the right redundancies in place. This is the perfect solution for many site owners. No third party subscription or service necessary. Just choose the right host. If you have backups in place and disaster strikes, it will in many ways be a simple affair to restore from a backup saved by your hosting company. After a small hiccup, business can resume as usual.
One good thing about web hosting in general, is that it's quite fast and easy to switch hosts. Before blindly changing your web host though, do some research. Check out reviews, look at features and pricing. There are so many hosting companies to choose from and option they offer, so ti simplify it we recommend you focus on the 5 factors we discussed above.