There are, at any given moment, around 200 things that Google looks at when they crawl your website to assess it for its position in the their organic results. Those 200 indicators are well documented and they’re not hard to find. Where’s why fast hosting is essential for good SEO.
What is less known is the way those factors interact with each other to decide your website’s final ranking. But with all SEO, it’s important to tweak each little bit of your website to get everything humming properly. Think of it like you’re tuning an engine.
With that in mind, there are three key areas affecting the quality of that engine which relate directly to the hosting you choose for your business website.
Google likes websites to load fast. Faster loading websites generally mean a better user experience, and a better user experience means Google feels confident recommending your website to other browsers of the internet. And subsequently up you bump in the rankings.
There are a number of factors that affect hosting – the most notable is if your website is sitting on a shared host. Whilst that’s not necessarily a bad thing, if you’re fighting for space and bandwidth with other big websites, or your site is constantly busy, it’s worth forking out for an upgrade to get your own space.
Nothing’s worse than having a nice flashy vehicle for your business if it’s not working. Hosting is really just a big server sitting in a room somewhere and if that server crashes frequently, that’s not going to look good to both your website visitors or to Google.
Uptime for your website is vital for good rankings so make sure you hunt out hosting that’s reliable and has guarantees about downtime issues – either a guarantee to limit them or compensate you if they keep happening.
It’s also a good idea to make sure that your hosting company has 24-hour 7-day-a-week support. No-one wants their site to go down on a Saturday morning and not reappear until after someone has had their coffee on a Monday.
I’ve also found that online chat support is another bonus; it’s good to be able to ask someone a quick question in a chat box without having to wait on hold or lodge a ticket through a slow ticketing system.
Location, location, location
The closer the hosting platform is to the person browsing the site, the better. That might sound both obvious and also a little strange. After all, we’re living in a fibre optic world so what does it matter if the user is in Brisbane and the hosting is in Sydney? Is it like wi-fi where you should get closer to the router to get a better signal?
Being a city or two about isn’t a major issue, but it’s much more of a concern if the hosting is in New York and the user is in Brisbane. Whilst it might be hard to see the difference, this is where the delay between the user clicking something and the site loading can produce that ‘bad user experience’ issue that we discussed above. And bad user experience means you don’t get that good, juicy SEO value you need.
In short, if you’re going to investing in building yourself a new website, you need to invest in quality website hosting. It’s like putting cheap tyres on a quality car. This hosting shouldn’t cost you the earth either, but like most things in the digital space, you get what you pay for. Cheap (or even free) hosting isn’t going to benefit your rankings. Upgrading your spend per month can easily pay dividends in the long run.
Simon Dell is a digital marketing consultant based in Brisbane. He’s been advising SMEs & large national and international brands on marketing, digital, content and branding for almost ten years. He can be found at SimonDell.com or at Twitter at @iamsimondell.