Does Web Hosting Affect Google Rankings of Your Small Business Website?
There are many factors that affect your Google rankings and most of them are pretty straightforward and obvious. Some of them are using proper keywords, appropriate linking, content length and quality, etc. However, a lot of people don’t take web hosting as a serious factor that affects search engine rankings of a website, even though it is one of the aspects that any small business owner has to consider. So, in this article, we will show you how you can improve your Google rankings by choosing your web host in a smart and informative way. But before we go into detail and discuss how your Google rankings can be improved with the right web host, we will first take a look at how and why a web host selection is an important issue.
Choosing a Web Host – How Important Is It?
Choosing the right web host is important for many reasons and better Google rankings are just one of them. Let’s take a look at some other reasons before we talk about SE rankings.
One of the biggest consequences that can happen if you choose a wrong web host is the loss of revenue. For instance, when Amazon went down for 40 minutes, they lost around $5 million dollars. Now, you will most likely lose a lot less, but it is still a loss. That means that if you have an online store, you can lose prospects and income. Even if you don’t have a store, if your website or blog goes down, your potential clients won’t be able to read your blog posts or look at your products and services.
Security and Malware Threat
Even though there isn’t any option that can guarantee 100% that your website won’t become a victim of cyber-attacks or crimes, there are reputable web hosts that can offer you better security and data protection. In fact, there are many web hosts that backup your data to a remote server so they can access and restore it if your website gets hacked. Also, having tech support that is at your disposal at all times for maintenance and safety issues is very important.
Search Engine Rankings
Now, after we have covered some of the most important reasons for choosing the right web host, we will take a detailed, in-depth look at how your web hosting choice affects your Google rankings.
Let’s begin by pointing out one very important and obvious thing – a good web host isn’t going to increase your Google ratings or secure you a place at the top per se. That is something you have to work on and achieve on your own. However, a good web host can help you achieve this, simply by not affecting your SE rankings in a negative way, as some bad web host can do.
So, let’s take a look at some of the most common ways your web host can affect your Google rankings.
One of the most important things you need to consider when you choose your web host, and the thing that will surely impact your SE rankings, is the speed of your web host, which directly affects the speed of your own website. Quick and responsive websites have much better chance to rise in the Google rankings than their slower and sluggish counterparts. For Google, low load time is considered to be very important to overall user experience and if your website runs slowly, Google will react and demote your website in the rankings. And not only Google rankings are affected by slow load speed, other search engines will also take this factor into account when they determine your ranking position.
However, you need to consider some other factors that might slow down your website that aren’t related to the choice of web host. For example, oversized images can increase load time significantly, as well as badly designed CSS or HTML. Another factor that might slow down your website is having too many plugins. You need to deactivate and delete any plugins that aren’t really necessary for your website. However, even if you do all of these things right, if your web host doesn’t provide good enough speed you will have loading problems with your website.
Also, speed is often affected by the type of hosting plan that you use. If you go with shared hosting, you can expect to have some problems, especially when your traffic gets too big. Shared hosting is a good and affordable option for your small business website, at least at the beginning, since they work well for the majority of websites. However, if you start having more traffic or you simply want to increase the speed of your website to the max, you can find other alternatives.
One of them is a virtual private server (VPS). Even though you will still be a part of a shared website community and it is still technically shared hosting, you will at least be able to have a specific amount of server resources guaranteed, which can make your website more stable and reliable. For example, if you have a neighbor on shared hosting that has a lot of traffic that can bring your website speed down. With VPS, your neighbors don’t affect your speed in that manner.
Another, and the best option, is a dedicated server. However, this is also the most expensive option as well, so you need to think carefully whether this choice can pay off for you. Dedicated servers provide you with complete control over the server, as well as many other perks and advantages.
Another important factor when you consider your web host that can affect your Google ranking results is accessibility. You can have the fastest website in the entire Universe, but that won’t matter if your website is often down, or inaccessible. In fact, you can even receive various SEO penalties if your website is often down and you don’t do enough to fix the problem. The time that your website is down or otherwise inaccessible is called downtime and when it is working properly that is called uptime.
Many hosts have troubles in properly estimating an uptime for their services. In fact, you will rarely see a number that is projected below 99%, and in many cases that number will be 99,9%. Even though this is probably close to the truth in most cases, in others it is simply a way to fight the competition that is extremely fierce in the web hosting industry. Reliable and prominent web hosts do have dependable and well-maintained servers, but even they are designated to go down sometimes. For this reason, it is very important to read your terms of services and check the actual guarantees provided, because many web hosts offer policies that safeguard website owners in situations with unforeseen downtime.
You can also do some things to make sure that you did your part when it comes to accessibility. For instance, you can contact your host when you get too many recurring problems and webmaster platforms will give you notifications or alerts when your accessibility is damaged or some related issues are found.
Server location is one of many factors that search engines take into the account when they determine where a website should be placed in their ranking. For example, if the user is searching from the USA, Google will usually show websites that are also based in the USA higher in the rankings.
Google, and other search engines, use various indicators to determine where your site is based. One of the most important and reliable factors is your IP address. The IP address that you get when you start your website is based on the location of the web host and the server you are using. That means that if you choose to use a web host that has servers in the USA you should see better results and higher Google rankings when people in the USA type in your selected keywords. Of course, this comes with a downside, since you will be ranked lower when people from other countries search for your chosen keywords.
Web Hosting Plan – Your Options
As we have previously mentioned when we discussed your website speed, there are three options you can choose from when it comes to web hosting plans:
- Shared server – This option entails that you will be sharing the server’s space with a certain number of other websites. The obvious benefit from this is the cost, since it is a much cheaper option than others, but it comes with a downside – all of the server’s resources are shared between numerous websites. With this option, you also risk getting your load speed down, as well as multiple security risks.
- Virtual private server – This option allows you to have a minimum guaranteed speed, regardless of the actions and traffic other websites on the server take or receive. It is still a shared server option, but it offers a lot more in terms of reliability and security.
- Dedicated server – In this setup, your website is the only one on the server. Of course, there are many benefits that come with this since all the resources that server has are used only by yourself. However, this is the most expensive option out there.
Now that you know what the types of web hosting plans that are available to you are, let’s take a quick look at the way that shared hosting server affects your Google rankings. Since other options are obviously preferable, but also more expensive, we will only discuss shared hosting.
Shared Hosting and Google Rankings
There is always an active debate about the effects of shared hosting plans on search engine rankings. Some people say that sharing server space with questionable websites can hurt your website’s credibility and reputation with search engines. That is certainly a valid point, because some hosts have weak acceptance policies that allow suspicious clients to use their services. One thing is sure, it certainly can affect your website’s load speed, as we have previously mentioned and thus indirectly affect your Google ranking results.
However, there are many people that say that it doesn’t make any difference at all. In fact, even Google has, on numerous occasions, said that shared hosting doesn’t influence SEO. Also, since shared policies are getting more and more traction and gaining popularity constantly, it is less likely that Google will change their stance on this matter. This means that the most important thing for you to do when you choose a web host for your small business website is to do a thorough background check and make sure that you are choosing a reliable web host.
Choose Web Hosting Wisely
As we have shown in this article, choosing a reliable and reputable web host is a very important step you need to take when you set up your small business website. This decision will certainly have effects on your Google rankings, so you need to make sure that your web host is all that you need.
To do this, you need to pay attention to certain things:
- Customer support – You need to make sure that your web host provides a constant and effective customer support. Even though many web hosts claim that they offer 24-7 customer support that is not always the case. For this reason, you need to test the web host before you decide to use their services.
- Uptime – Do a background check of the uptime record of the web hosting company whose services you are considering.
- Ability to upgrade – You need to make sure that you will be able to scale up and upgrade your current plan if your small business website outgrows the initial web hosting plan. Higher traffic might slow your website down and you need to be sure that you can upgrade to a solution that fits your new needs.
- Reputation – Making sure that your potential web host has a solid reputation is crucial. Do a background check and see how long they are in the business, see if they can offer any testimonials and customer reviews, check upkeep schedules and downtime statistics, etc.
Making a smart and informed decision about your potential web host is significant on so many levels. Among them, the effect that this decision will have on your Google rankings is probably the most important one, so take your time and make a wise choice.
Best Cheap Hosts if You Care About SEO
Over the years we have tested and reviewed multiple top hosting providers. The following list is our recommendations for webmasters and website owners who care about SEO. These hosting companies provide reliable and high performance service:
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