If you have studied or read anything about SEO and how to use it to gain a better ranking on search engines, especially Google, you will no doubt know that there are literally hundreds of factors that influence where a website will rank for any particular search term. What will not normally be at the top of that list of factors is your website’s hosting service, and whilst it may not normally be considered as one of the major SEO influencers, it most certainly does play a role.
When we say play a role, more specifically we mean that the web hosting service you choose plays a role, and therefore it is important that you choose wisely. Carry out research on the hosting company, check its reviews, and if necessary contact them to ascertain if the hosting service you are considering is likely to help or hinder your SEO efforts. It will help in 3 main ways, which we have outlined below.
Where Your Hosting Company’s Servers Are Located
In truth, many website owners do not even know where the servers their hosting company uses are located, and it is likely that many do not even care, but they should. The reason they should care, especially if they wish to improve the search engine ranking of their website, is that the location of servers can affect the performance of the website, and particularly with respect to the experience of a visitor landing on that website.
This is especially the case if you are a local business, and your customer base lives in a particular geographical area. For example, if someone in Perth, WA searches for ‘pet groomers’ on Google, Google will prioritize within its search results car mechanic websites it knows are local, over websites that are not.
One way they identify a local website is via the IP address of its hosting server and if your hosting company has servers located in that area, or even in Australia, they will show up more often on search results than a website that is hosted on servers located in the USA, the UK, or Canada for example, even if the other pet grooming business is a local one.
Percentage Of Time Your Website Is Live
If we were to tell you that your website is live 99% of the time, you might think that is good, but when you next consider that 99% uptime means that over the period of one year your website was not live for close on 90 hours, which is the equivalent of over 3 and a half days, it does not sound so positive.
This is why using a host that guarantees at least 99.99% uptime is imperative because any less than that can damage your search engine rankings. Firstly, if someone clicks through from google and your website is down, that is a huge red flag that Google sees. Google does not want to send more visitors to a website that has unreliable uptime and will lower that website’s rankings accordingly.
Fast Website Loading Speeds
With ever-increasing broadband speeds at home and via mobile networks, internet users are used to websites and apps loading almost instantaneously. This expectation means that if your hosting service cannot provide load speeds that are quick enough, your website’s search engine ranking is going to suffer.
It will suffer for a couple of reasons. First, if it does not load quickly when someone clicks through from Google, their most likely course of action is to click away immediately. This is recorded by Google as a ‘bounce’ and the higher your bounce rate, the more your rankings are going to suffer.
In addition, if someone at least stays on your website past the first few seconds, but then finds other pages within the website are slow to open, they will soon leave. Although not classed as a bounce, the fact they have only stayed on your website for seconds rather than minutes is another black mark that Google sees as justification for downgrading your website’s ranking.