When we talk about doing truly professional SEO work, one thing is certain – the amount of different ranking factors we have to worry about seem nigh limitless. Whether it is robots.txt files, sitemaps, content, or link building; there’s always work to be done. And, that’s not even mentioning the newer stuff, like featured snippets or voice searches. Among all that noise, however – it’s easy to forget that web hosting is important for SEO as well; which is what we’ll talk about here today!
As we evaluate whether a particular host is SEO-friendly, the first metric we need to look at is an uptime guarantee. A website’s uptime is the percentage of a certain period in which the site is accessible and online. The higher this percentage is, the smaller are the chances of visitors coming across your website only to realize that it is down. This is something that could seriously hurt your rankings; so be mindful of that, and remember that better web hosting companies offer higher uptime guarantees.
Of course, as you’re undoubtedly aware, good hosting isn’t always easy to come by at an agreeable price. But, in most cases, be aware of the fact that you simply haven’t looked hard enough; there are web hosting options that are not only inexpensive, but entirely free! You’ll find some great choices here, so take a look. You definitely want to choose carefully as not all the free options you encounter elsewhere online are as trustworthy.
Notably, you want to find hosts that offer you an uptime guarantee of 99.9%. Also, definitely beware of hosts that claim they can provide you with a 100% uptime guarantee. These aren’t serious companies at best, and fraudulent at worst; seeing as no one can give you a guarantee that nothing will ever go wrong, under any circumstances.
While stuff like content marketing tactics is important to the success of an SEO campaign, we’re here to show you that the issue of web hosting could be even more crucial. Apart from the uptime guarantee you get, you should also take care to choose a host whose servers are in the right location.
The location of the servers may sometimes dictate the availability of your website to the users; thus increasing or diminishing your other SEO efforts. So, if you’re using any type of hosting that isn’t cloud-based (dedicated servers, VPS, or shared hosting plans), your website should ideally be situated on an actual, physical server, in a data center that’s found somewhere around the world.
If you’re choosing your hosting based on the physical location of the servers, you will want them as close to the largest portion of your target audience as possible. The math here is pretty simple – the longer the distance between the users and the server, the longer your website will take to load on their computers.
Specifically, in SEO terms, server location may seem suspicious to certain search engines. For instance, if your company operates somewhere but your servers are halfway over the globe, this could be considered a sign of nefarious dealings.
Multitude of Options
We all like our services to come with as many additional features as possible – and web hosting is no different in this regard. With that in mind, here are a couple of hosting features that are particularly SEO-friendly:
- Automatic backups: In the scenario where something goes wrong with your website, what you need is a solid backup service provided by your host so that you can get things back up and running as soon as possible.
- SSL: For ages now, HTTPS has been a solid ranking factor in major search engines. In case your website isn’t secure and in accordance with SSL, you should definitely take care of that as soon as possible. With that in mind, be certain that your hosting provider supports SSL, though most do so nowadays.
- Affordable package migration: We all want our websites to grow, but rapid growth entails the need for a new hosting package; one that reflects the increased traffic and can handle it with ease. If you need to switch to a dedicated server, you want your hosting provider to give you the option of doing so cheaply.
The Internet is a big place – and there are plenty of hosting providers out there. Even if you stick to all of the factors we’ve shown you above and take them into account, you could still end up with a couple of very similar hosting providers. In that situation, how should you pick the best, both in terms of SEO and in general?
Regardless of the hosting provider’s marketing claims, you need to be sure that they are true. The best way to do that is to peruse through their online reviews. However, this is where things get a bit complicated, as web hosting reviews need to be taken with a grain of salt more than the reviews for other services.
Think about it – if someone messes up your coffee order, you aren’t likely to care enough to write a scathing review on Yelp. But if you’re a website owner whose website has even the slightest downtime; you’re likely to get very mad – even if you are the one who chose the wrong hosting plan for your traffic.
Having said that; there is still a ton of useful information to be found in online reviews. Take a look at hosting plans like the ones we’ve linked to above, or others that are found on trustworthy top lists online.