Most of the guides, articles, ebooks and lessons focus on getting good backlinks and having solid on-page optimization. That’s a good way to improve your rankings, but what you may not know is that your host can also affect your rankings for the better or worse. If you are targeting a competitive term, then you need all the help that you can get. Here’s what a good host can do for your SEO.
A good host should have at least 99.9% uptime, but more is always better. Uptime refers to how long the servers are up and your website is functioning. For example, a 99.9% uptime guarantee means that you will experience about 0.01% of downtime a month, or 43 minutes at most.
The search engines understand that websites go down every now and then, but having too much downtime can hurt you because your website will seem unresponsive to the search engine spiders. Since search engines don’t want to position unresponsive websites near the top, they will often send you down a few places. Having a good uptime guarantee ensures that this doesn’t happen.
Most hosts talk about bandwidth, memory and uptime. They rarely mention loading speeds, especially if you are looking into shared hosting. This refers to how fast the servers are and how long it will take for your website to load. While there are many factors to consider when calculating loading speeds (such as the files on your website, the user’s computer and Internet connection and the environment’s effect on transmission speeds), your host’s servers place an important role in this calculation.
Faster websites give the user a better experience. If you have read anything about what Google was saying during the initial Panda and Penguin updates, then you know that search engines are obsessed with maintaining a good user experience. This means that faster loading speeds translate to better rankings.
Chances are that you are using or will easily find a host in your own country, but this might not be the case if you are targeting an international market. For example, you might be using a USA host, but your website is meant for UK readers. There’s nothing wrong with this because the website should load without any problems, but this can hurt your SEO.
First of all, data transmission speeds will be slower since the data has to travel a farther distance. This means that your loading speeds will be affected. Search engines also prefer to rank websites that are hosted by domestic hosts. This means that using a host in your target country can boost your SEO.
Google has taking a guilty by association stance with many things, and hosts are included. If you are using a host that is known for unethical behavior, then your website might suffer. It’s always best to use a reputable server not just for SEO, but because this ensures a better experience for you as a Webmaster. Always check around for reviews, but be careful that the reviews are coming for an ethical source. Huge affiliate commissions can often taint the quality of the review due to a bias. In my opinion, SiteGround is currently leading the pack, and you can choose your server location there.
Many things affect SEO, but most people forget about choosing the right host. If you are targeting a competitive keyword or if you just can’t get any higher in the search engines, then it might be because of your host. Be sure to choose a good host to avoid any of these problems.