As the popular SEO joke goes, when you need to hide something really well, you put it on the second page of Google search results. That you can very easily end up in even better-concealed places due to your hosting provider is not quite as well known, though.
The search algorithms of Google and other search engines are strictly confidential. However, many of the factors that can kick you out of the coveted first page have been well documented by SEO experts. Typically they are low-quality texts on the website, content copied from elsewhere, or unseemly SEO practices.
The effect of hosting quality is often neglected. But it influences your SEO quite a bit and from three main angles: speed, outages, and location.
1) Website speed
The faster your website loads, the better your search engine ranking becomes. Of course, top-notch website speed alone will not ensure the first spot in the results for you. On the other hand, there’s no way you’ll make it to the top without it. Combined with other SEO strategies, speeding up your site will help you climb the Google result ladder.
Why is that? Website speed isn’t just some abstract Google metric. Slow loading is the leading cause of website visitor’s leaving. That leads to worsening metrics such as bounce rate and time spent on the site which in turn causes bad “search engine karma” and pushes you further down in the search results.
In our experience, 3 seconds are a good benchmark. If it takes your site longer to load, your hosting might be at fault. Find out from your provider whether it’s caused by low performance, sharing resources with other users, or due to a suboptimal location of servers that store your data (we’ll get back to the location issue in a second).
For more tips regarding increasing website speed, check out our dedicated article.
Tip: Not sure how fast your website is? We recommend the PageSpeed Insights tool from Google. It gives you the option to measure the speed of both the desktop and mobile versions of your website.
Hosting outages are an unpleasant affair from start to finish – starting with unrealised sales, followed by loss of customer trust, and topped off with damaged SEO. That’s why we recommend you avoid them altogether by choosing a reliable hosting provider.
Wait a second – what do outages have to do with SEO? Unfortunately, quite a bit. For example, Google penalises websites that have been down for a while. Thus you’re risking a drop in your search result position. Getting back up is no easy task so prevention is key.
The location in which the servers storing your data are placed is closely related to the speed of your website and therefore also SEO. It is primarily about how great the distance is between the servers and the visitor to your site. The longer the distance your data has to travel, the longer it takes for it to reach the user. If the distance is, say, 500 kilometers and your hosting provider uses quality operators, everything works great.
However, if you have servers in ServerPark in Prague and a visitor to your site is sitting at a Starbucks in Los Angeles, they may be unpleasantly surprised by the slow loading. The ideal solution in this case is the so-called CDN, which periodically caches the content of your website (i.e. stores it in locations that are closer to site visitors). The result is a significant acceleration of your site loading time and thus an improved position in search results.
When choosing a CDN, focus on where the provider has the so-called pops. That is for which locations it is able to ensure the fast delivery of your content. For example, vshosting~ has pops all over Europe and North America.
Top SEO is not just about keywords and interesting content. You also need the support of a quality hosting partner to reach the top of the search. Make sure your SEO efforts are not sabotaged by poor hosting quality.