Search Engine Optimization (SEO) requires tons of hard work for months at a stretch. And, the devil in the case of SEO is really in the details. Many people who have just started applying the principles of digital marketing wonder whether the selection of hosting has a role to play in this process. Well, it does indeed play an important role. Here in this post, we will shed light on the five main hosting factors that can have an adverse impact on the SEO of your website. Read on.
5 Most Common Hosting Factors that affect Your Website SEO
1. Page Load Time
People don’t like websites that take more than a few seconds to load. In fact, most people want web pages to load on their web browsers almost instantaneously. So, when people expect a page to load in a split second, regardless of how hard your code, database, and web server work to render multiple files at one go, even a few seconds of waiting time could feel like an eon.
High page load time is loathed across the web. Search engines perceive it as ‘bad user experience,’ and rightly so. While high page load time will almost certainly translate into ‘missed opportunities,’ it also has a negative impact on your website’s SEO. After all, page load speed has been a ranking factor for quite some time now.
So, you must choose a hosting service provider that guarantees a speedy experience. You can consult an experienced SEO expert for advice if necessary. If you are expecting your website to receive thousands of concurrent visitors in the near future, consider switching to a VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting plan from a shared one, besides of course implementing other strategies to improve site load speed.
It is also a good idea to choose a hosting service provider that has data centers located close to your audience. For instance, if your audience primarily includes people living in the United States, you may want to avoid hosting companies having data centers located in Asia.
Perhaps, the only thing worse than a website taking almost forever to load is one that does not load at all! A website going down temporarily won’t probably affect your website’s search engine rankings. But, if your website experiences downtime too often or is unavailable for weeks at a stretch, chances are that search engines will perceive it as unreliable.
When your web pages frequently return 4xx errors (e.g. 404, 410, etc.), Google may start dropping your web pages (that you worked really hard to get ranked) from its index.
So, when selecting a web hosting provider, make sure they guarantee 99.99% uptime. Keep in mind that even a 99% uptime guarantee could mean that your website could be down for hundreds of hours each year.
No one likes to think about having to deal with a disaster. But, disasters come around at some point in time anyway. There is a potent possibility that you might lose your website’s data. It could be a malicious code snippet, a natural disaster or anything else. The end result is always the same – a catastrophe for website owners.
Lost data could easily translate into lost rankings on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) if you don’t have a backup in place.
So, make sure to choose a hosting provider that offers data backup services. At times, say for a WordPress website, you can also use third-party backup services. But, if you choose the right host that cares about having the right redundancies in place, you never need to pay for a third-party service.
4. Database Connection Failures
When a shared server is overloaded with traffic, visitors might see ‘internal server error,’ ‘error establishing database connection,’ and other such messages on their screens. Sure, it won’t hurt your website’s SEO as much as being completely offline, but it can certainly increase your website’s bounce rate.
You can serve cached versions of web pages to your audience to minimize the no. of concurrent database requests. But, you’d still need to choose the right hosting provider or upgrade your hosting plan. After all, database connection failures happen when your web server simply doesn’t have enough processing power and bandwidth to handle incoming traffic.
5. Sharing a Server That Hosts Spam Websites
It is not a very common hosting factor that can have a negative impact on the SEO of your website. But, it is still important.
When you opt for a shared hosting plan, your website is hosted on a server that’s shared amongst hundreds of other websites. In case some of these websites (and their email addresses) have been penalized for spam, chances are that your website’s search engine rankings too would suffer.
It might happen because all websites hosted on that shared server will have the same IP address. To check who else is using the same IP address as you, use the reverse IP domain check tool.
When you just launch a new website and get started with on-page SEO and link building strategies, chances are that none of these hosting factors are at play. You may not notice high page load time, downtime, and other issues until your website begins to get some traffic. So, with the wrong hosting service provider or the wrong hosting plan, the problem normally begins when your website first starts generating traffic.
Yes, it would be highly unfortunate if issues or limitations at your hosting provider’s end have an adverse impact on your website’s SEO. So, make sure you choose the right hosting provider and the right hosting plan.
It is also advisable to consider the quality of tech support they provide. What if something goes wrong? Will you have a real person trying to resolve a problem if your website is inaccessible at some point in time? Do keep in mind having a reliable web hosting service provider will NOT guarantee SEO success. But, not having the right hosting provider or the right plan can sure drag you down.