In the business of organic optimization I often get asked what are the most important factors in search engine optimization, and does my host really affect my rankings? I hope that this article clears up some of the noise you might read on the web. My answer is simple and here it is..
Nobody has the patience for a slow website thus Google doesn’t like slow websites…
In Organic optimization we always think of the visitor first then rankings.
How does your host affect your SEO?
This subject of much debate is near and dear to my daily frustrations with organic optimization and also with web design. Often I am not part of the process of choosing a hosting company for my clients and explaining why a good hosting company is so critical not only for visitors but for website performance in search results is a challenge all in itself.
You are who you are hosted by… what type of hosting and who you choose to host your website does have an effect on where your website ranks in search engines. Choosing the right web hosting company doesn’t guarantee rankings boost or page one position, but it does mean you avoid the serious consequences, and they are significant. Therefore, you need to choose carefully and not base your decision on price or reviews.
So how do you choose a host?
Searching different hosting companies is confusing at best, the web is full of affiliate sites who profit from referring clients. You probably have seen many of these review sites that compare or rate different hosting companies and usually the one they are marketing for is 5 star rated or #1. I’m going to give you the best advice I know about any web reviews and I’m sure I’m going to get a lot of blow back for exposing this truth but NEVER EVER TRUST A GOOD REVIEW.
My first job in SEO was writing creative and informative positive reviews for an unnamed company 8 hours a day in every aspect of the web from local listings to product reviews to blogs. I am not particularly proud of that experience but what it has taught me a great WEB HOSTING deal about what and what not to do.
Fact.. negative or bad reviews are 99.9% truthful and by real people, no right-minded company out there would spend time writing bad reviews about a product or service they sell. Yet I will add some negative reviews are by competitors or disgruntled customers and yet most hosting companies don’t see this as negative or an opportunity to improve customer care and their products. Its far more profitable to sign up the masses and deal with them later.
So in short don’t base your decision on reviews alone… trust the statistical data and ask around, find a reputable forum and ask. A great place to get answers for technical questions is Quora for just about anything.
So lets get down to business and tell you how to choose a good host…
*Customer Care if a tech issue or financial problem arises you want to make sure that you aren’t waiting on hold for 30 minutes. If you want to test a hosting company why not give them a call. Test them and select tech support see how long it takes for them to get on the line. Alternatively a host with live chat can really be helpful the biggest issue I have come across is wait times exceeding 30 minutes it happens but not too often.
*Go local if your business is in the US go with a hosting companies whose servers are in the US this will give you and your visitors greatest speed. Search engines check where your host is located to better find where you are based for better search results.
*Reputation your hosting plan can affect your SEO. Its been long suspected the reputation of your host and the type of sites they generally host can and will affect your SEO. The issue is part technical and part history. If you choose a host that’s simply cheap and hosts nefarious sites chances are even if your site is reputable being mixed in with the dark side of the web wont be of benefit to you.
*Get technical you don’t have to be Bill Gates to know how to ask the right questions. This is extremely important so here is few questions to ask.
What type of hosting are you offering? is it shared hosting?
Shared hosting is when your website is hosted on a communal server or computer and you are limited by bandwidth uploading and downloading rate. Bandwidth is kinda like a straw and a milkshake, if you have a small straw and a thick shake its tough to get the shake through the straw, increase the straw width and its far easier. This is always the affordable plan and works just fine for websites that are not heavy and not built with WordPress, do not contain a lot of media, pictures, videos or expect to have a high traffic rate. Where shared hosting goes wrong is a term called “Throttling”.
Throttling defined by wiki is the intentional slowing of internet service by an internet service provider. It is a reactive measure employed in communication networks in an clear attempt to regulate network traffic and lower bandwidth congestion. Simply its the traffic police! avoid any host that uses this method in their shared hosting plan. If your website is built on WordPress the weight of the plugins will cause your site to slow down to snail speed worse if your website uses a great deal of memory and you have high traffic expectations it’s a terrible business practice and your site, your visitors and your rankings will suffer avoid any host who does this implicitly.