When devising an SEO strategy, web hosting is generally a minor footnote on the plan – if it’s included at all. Many simply use the lowest price to choose their hosting service based on the common misconception that service providers differ little and do not affect to your site’s search engine rankings. Unfortunately this sort of thinking can unknowingly undermine even the best optimization tactics and hide your site from the audience you’re trying to reach. Here are a few factors to consider when deciding which hosting service is right for you.
First, keep in mind that there are some hosting services that do not understand SEO best practices and their policies may inadvertently impact your site’s search rankings. Small things like blocking the Google bot for visiting too many times or taking a website down due to high traffic volume can needlessly damage your site’s SEO. Often times these sorts of actions are the result of inadequacy on the provider’s part, so it’s important to watch out for these kinds of issues and remember that your web host should not do anything that will hurt your website’s SEO without authorization.
Google, among others, has regularly made website loading speed one of the key factors in determining search results. This is because their product is the user resources these results provide, and a faster site makes for a better resource. A faster site also improves the user experience you provide, which can directly impact your customer conversion rate. So given that the benefits of a faster site go far beyond SEO value, it’s certainly something to keep in mind when choosing a hosting service. Make sure your provider is capable of providing the speed necessary to keep your website loading properly, such as ensuring their data center has the required infrastructure and their hardware is up to par. It won’t matter how well you design your site if it’s hosted improperly.
Similarly, it’s important that your website be up and running at full speed when the search engines are inspecting it for indexing purposes. This is generally done at night, so if your hosting service provides inconsistent uptime there’s a chance your site will either be down or excessively slow during these inspections. If the search engines have no visibility into your site then all your SEO efforts are irrelevant. Additionally, the inability to see what keywords or phrases your website may include makes it harder to categorize the site and more likely it will show up in irrelevant searches. This is why it’s a good idea to do your own research on the quality of your hosting provider, there are even services that can monitor the website and notify you of any service interruptions.
It seems like data breaches are everywhere these days, so it’s likely you took every step you could to make your site as secure as possible. However, if your hosting provider doesn’t have the same emphasis on security then your website will remain vulnerable despite your best efforts. In addition to the time and revenue your business can lose to a site hack, the malware infection can also lead search engines to stop listing your site if the issue is not corrected quickly. Your SEO can also suffer if you choose a service provider that also hosts disreputable or illegal websites as search engines can blacklist all IP addresses associated with these sorts of sites. So do your site a favor and check for any red flags on potential hosting providers before making your selection.