The location of your website hosting, and their infrastructure (can) have a bigger impact on your SERP rankings.
Building a website may be a challenging task for novice digital practitioners as they get hard time deciding on prioritizing the web hosting, website design and content to attract the readers’ attention.
A fast, reliable, and secure hosting means increases traffic to the site. In the same way, slow and unreliable hosting can harm the usability and de-rank your website.
How does web hosting work?
When you visit a website, the search request will be sent from your device to the web server where a website is hosted via the internet.
A web server is the service that ensures the website is shown in the search results. A server stores all the data on the website and displays it in the search results of all the devices having an internet connection. The website hosting defines the speed of the page loading.
The server responds to the request and search for the relevant data to show on the user’s computer. User use the internet to connect with the web server and bring you the required information.
It depends on the server’s response rate and how fast it brings the required results. The server type should be selected following the traffic user have on their site.
Why Web Hosting is Important for SEO?
Good Web Hosting is important for SEO because of the following reasons.
1. Improved Website Speed
Website speed is one of the many ranking factors used by Google and other search engine. Search engines tend to penalize websites with below average speed.
Website page speed depends upon hosting servers as well as how “On Page SEO” and technical SEO is carried out on a website.
Why?, because search engines care about user experience and slower websites have higher bounce rate which leads to bad user experience. Bounce rate is estimated for those users who leave a website without any interaction on the website. If your website have a higher bounce rate, then you should definitely work on website speed.
All internet users agree that they require high speed for their search results to show and guide them accordingly. At most, a website should load in less than 2 seconds. It is hard for a slow website to come in the top search results because neither users nor Google can benefit from such websites.
You can improve your website speed by choosing an SEO friendly hosting which provides additional image and content optimization on server side. You can also speed off a website by using free tools e.g. GTMetrix and Pingdom.
2. High Uptime and Lower Downtime
High Uptime of a website is directly related to improved Search Engine Optimization (SEO) because of two reasons.
First, if a website is down, then a website visitor cannot access it and hence higher bounce rate for your website.
Google is an answering machine, and it crawls over the websites, organizes the web contents, and then shows the best results to the user. If a website is experiencing a downtime, then a Search Engine will not be able to access and index your websites. This means your website ranking will drop significantly if a website is experiencing lots of downtime.
If it frequently remains down, Google will lose trust in such a website and will not send users to your website. This may be temporary at the start, but if it continues to load slowly or experience higher downtimes frequently, it will permanently damage the ranking of your website.
3. Enhanced Security
A secure website has a positive impact on SEO. Ideally, a website hosting will achieve enhanced security for better SEO performance if it can fulfill some of the following points.
- A Good Web Hosting Keeps automated backups to rescue in an event of server crash.
- Most Website Hosting can also install latest bug fixes on Servers, Content Management Systems, Themes and Plugins to avoid security breaches.
- Most Web Hosting services offer out of Box support for Secure Socket Layer (SSL) Certificates for encrypted and secure website browsing.
- A Good Website also ensures that all its infrastructure and client logins are enforced with smart password protection so that unauthorized access to the system can be prevented.
- A good website hosting service provide secure protocols for file transfer. Most web hostings offer Secure File Transfer Protocol (sFTP) and GIT access to transfer website code and data.
- A good website hosting keep records of all the successful and unsuccessful login attempts. It also maintains a record of user admin rights for future audits as and when required.
- Good and professional website hosting companies conduct regular maintenance both for software and hardware. They keep updating their hardware to the latest market standards with software patches for security fixes and bugs.
Google imposes security standards like HTTPS and penalties for inappropriate content. While choosing to host for your website, go for those who provide proper and timely maintenance and tell you about the outdated parts of the website and essential updates.
4. Server Location
The location of the hosting is crucial in SEO. When a search engine shows results, it takes several location-oriented signals, such as
- What is the user’s location?
- What is user language?
- What is the site of the business?
- And where is the website hosted?
The latter is essential because it decides how far the data has to be transmitted, which ultimately affecting the speed of a website.
It is advised to use local hosting for your website. For example, if your business is in the USA, your website should be hosted in a USA data center.
If your company operates worldwide, then your website should be hosted in Content Delivery Network (CDN), which has data centers around the globe to serve the data locally. Thus, the hosting is fast no matter where the user is present.
If you compromise on the speed and prefer to buy economical hosting, e.g. in the USA, then the data will have to travel more and affect your website’s speed. This can have major effect on site SEO ranking.
What is the Impact of Page Load Time on SEO?
Google and other search engines measure page speed of a web page according to following categories. They are measured in Google Patented Lighthouse technology, which is integrated into Google Chrome Browsers.
These values are calculated for Desktop and Mobile versions separately.
- First Contentful Paint (FCP) is the time taken by a website to show the first piece of content to a user. Ideally, it should be less than, 1800ms.
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is referred to the point in time when the page’s main content has been likely loaded. This time should be less than, 2500ms.
- DOMContent Loaded (DCL) is the time taken by a webpage to load all HTML/CSS/JS code to load on client side.
- Time to Interactive is the required by a web page to be fully interactive. Ideally, this value is less than 3.8 seconds.
- Total Blocking Time is total time between First Contentful Paint (FCP) and Time to Interactive. Ideally, this values is less than 200 ms.
Light House Results and Their Impact on SEO [Image Credits: Faisal Shahzad (SEO Wings)]
Is Share Web Hosting Good for SEO?
It depends. Share hosting can have two impacts on your SEO strategy. 1. How resources are being shared between other websites hosting on the same server?. Is your website getting slow, then you will notice a negative impact on your SEO strategy. 2. What types of other websites are hosting on the same server. If those websites are having negative SEO e.g. spammers or hosting forbidden malware content then your website SEO will get an impact.
If possible, avoid shared hosting as our experience shows that it directly impacts your website performance and user experience.
How your website’s uptime affects SEO?
It positively impacts a website as Google will be quickly able to crawl your website (without 500 internal server error) and a website visitor will be able to view their desired content.
How to choose a reliable website hosting services provider?
There is no one-fit all formula for choosing a reliable website hosting service provider. However, you ask following questions to check if a given hosting company fulfill your needs.
- What are your Website’s Needs?
- Do you need static hosting or dynamics? Do you need a specific and managed content management system, e.g. WordPress?
- What is the Subscription Period?. Make sure you do not get locked into an expensive contract.
- Are their Web Server Reliable and What are their Uptimes?. Ideally, you should try to find a company offering 99.95% uptime.
- What are the Refund Policies? If you are just trying out different hosting companies, then make sure you look into their refund policies. Some companies offer generous trial periods (without credit card information) and others will offer you complete refund.
- Does the Hosting Company offer Upgrade Options?. If you are expecting rapid growth of your website/web apps, then you should definitely make sure that your company have upgrade options and better packages. They should be able to handle your visitor load.
- Make sure that primary features of your selected hosting meet your need. You can also look for add on products and services as per your need.
- Some hostings do not offer e-commerce Site Functionalities, so make sure to check it if you need one.
- How easy is the Sign-Up? Do you need help from Customer Service Department?
- What is the Renewal Price? Will it become expensive over the period of time?
- Do they offer Control Panel or cPanel to manage your hosting needs?
- Are there any Account Limitations imposed by your selected package?
- Is Hosting Company Environmental Friendly?
- Do they offer Email Hosting services as well?. You might need this if you are a small business and not all companies offer this?
- A good hosting company has built-in Website Backup Options? Make sure that your hosting package include a backup option (usually without any additional cost)
- How good is Customer Service?. You will see customer service feedback on Google or similar platform.
Search engines want to have high usability for its users and show them reliable results in a blink of eye. Users don’t wait for a slow website, and they instantly go back to search results if a website takes more time to load.
While hosting your website, two key factors should be kept in mind; it should be secure and located in the same region where your target audience is located. Poor hosting will drastically impact your website’s SEO ranking.
Hosting alone cannot boost the ranking. You also need to follow a proper and structured on-page SEO process to make a website well ranked.
Hi, I am Faisal. I am working in the field of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Data Sciences since 2002. I love to hack workflows to make life easy for people around me and myself. This blog contains my random thoughts and notes on Digital Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, Static WordPress Hosting with Netlify and CloudFlare Pages, Python, Data Science and open-source projects.