5 Reasons Your Hosting Provider Can Influence Your Google Rankings

Published Feb 07, 2014 by Dan Virgillito in SEO
Estimated read time of 3 minutes and 59 seconds3 0
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Most new website owners do not put much thought into their hosting provider. Often, foolish small business owners will use a free host. Other times, people look for the lowest price. Unless a person runs a site for fun, it is not smart to use a cheap or free host. No, in fact, this is an important decision that one must make as it is hard to have a great site with a bad host. One way that it effects websites is by influencing search results negatively or positively. Here are five reasons why a hosting provider can influence a site’s Google rankings.

Slow-loading pages

Now, when on the Internet, people will notice when a page loads slowly. Of course, if the content is simple and mostly text, the end-user will not notice a huge difference in loading times. While this is mostly true, there is one serious problem. Google and the other leading search engines look at page load times when determining SEO results. While it is not the top metric, it is important to understand how competitive SEO is and how hard it is to shoot to the top when using an outdated host. This happens when a client uses a host that has one or two connections to the Internet. Instead, a smart site owner should opt to pay a few dollars more and get a great host. In fact, ideally, when hosting an important e-commerce or money-making site, one should use a dedicated server. While this is a bit costlier, one will see the pages load quickly in all browsers and operating systems. Remember, with smartphone users and people on slow connections, they will appreciate this and return to the site. While this is all true, a smart website owner must understand that a host will only go so far in helping the site speed. In fact, a site owner should look at his or her code and make sure that it is clean and up-to-date. At the same time, the programmer should resize any large images and fix any other issues that cause pages to load slowly. With this simple approach, one will rise in the SEO ranks without much effort.

Downtime

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Google crawls websites all the time. Anyone who tracks visitors can attest to this. A large site will receive several bots a day from Google. When encountering the information or new pages, the bot will report back and offer a lot of data. It will tell Google how many pages are up, if there is any new content and if any problems exist. Now, this is all well and good when the site does not go offline frequently. Sadly, when using some hosts, people will see their site go offline often. This is something that one must avoid as Google will punish the site severely. Without a doubt, when offline for more than a few hours, one can see their rankings all but disappear. Luckily, most formidable hosts offer a 99.99 percent uptime guarantee. With this, one can avoid seeing their site falling in the rankings due to an unreliable host. Ideally, instead of hoping for the best, one should host on the cloud where they can replicate the server and avoid going offline ever. Either way, with a smart and well-thought-out approach, a website owner can avoid this common issue as it is too serious to consider the alternative.

Utilities

Some higher end hosts offer simple tools, which allow a site owner to boost their rankings on all the major search engines. For starters, any good host will offer one-click WordPress and Drupal installations. However, this is only the beginning as most will submit the information to directories and help a person with other apps. With this, a site owner can see his or her Web pages fly in the rankings and land on the first page. Simply put, in this extremely competitive market, a website owner must use the tools that a host provides to him or her. If not, a website owner will have a hard time gaining traction and moving his or her pages to the top. If a business owner does not have access to these tools, he or she should consider moving to a host with a more comprehensive solution. But, if a customer is otherwise happy with the hosting company, he or she can find offsite tools that will help him or her get to the first page of Google.

Render pages well

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Believe it or not, Google will scour the code of a page and make sure it meets standards. When it does not, the search engine giant may punish the site and subsequent pages. Furthermore, Google also looks at traffic and sees where people come from and how long they are on the site. When encountering pages that render poorly, many visitors will jump ship and head to a competitor. When this happens, the site will suffer as Google will notice that people do not stay long. There is an industry term for this. It is referred to as bounce rate and the higher it is, the more the site will suffer. Not only will it suffer in the rankings, but it is hard to make money when people leave the site without going to other pages. Fortunately, when using a reliable host, one will not have to deal with pages that load poorly or with errors.

Location

Believe it or not, with Geocaching, Google can see the location of a Web server. Now, at first, this sounds harmless. But, when the server is in another country, it may skew the results for SEO. Ideally, when finding a host, one should sign up for services with a company who offers a server in their country. If this is not the case, a site owner may see his or her rankings drop or altogether disappear. If running into this problem, one can go into their Webmaster Tools and inform Google of their geographic locations. Although this is a good fix, it is wise to avoid the problem in the first place by singing up with a host a little closer to home. Remember, in the SEO game, competition is stiff, and one slight advantage can help a company.

It is never wise to go with a cheap host. This is certainly true when running an e-commerce site. To avoid serious repercussion in the long-term, a site owner should choose the best company for his or her needs. At the same time, it is wise to understand that a solid provider will go above and beyond the norm and should offer everything from 24/7 support to plenty of SEO tools. When this is not the case, one should consider moving their operations as most hosts will not improve.

At the same time, while looking at new providers, a potential client should ask the right questions and choose wisely. Otherwise, in the long run, one will suffer if they have to move again. Without a doubt, when understanding how important a host is to the organization, most people will make the right decision and can go a long way in improving their company’s website and profitability.

Written by Dan Virgillito

Dan Virgillito

Dan Virgillito is a freelance content strategist with a passion for good storytelling and all things digital. He lived in the Netherlands, Poland, England and Sicily. Say hi on Twitter.

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