You will be making a potentially expensive mistake if you think that hosting your website and optimizing it for search engines are two different things. To a large extent, your choice of web hosting will affect the success of your website’s SEO efforts.
Most website owners, especially those with limited budgets and startups, are always on the lookout for the cheapest hosting option for their websites. Some of them even opt for free hosting. While the realities of budget constraints cannot be denied, using really cheap or free web hosting is never a smart decision if you want your website to succeed.
There are several factors you need to consider when choosing a web host – server errors, server speed, website efficiency; uptime and backup are some of the core components that should make up your checklist when choosing a web hosting option. It is essential that you go for a web host that has the personnel and the resources to support the hard work you are putting into your online business as this will ultimately affect your SEO and the success of your website.
What exactly is SEO friendly web hosting?
Your choice of web hosting can affect the visibility of your website in several ways; that is why a bad web host can hinder your growth efforts significantly, whereas a good web host will help you achieve search engine optimization faster.
It takes more than just having an aesthetically, pleasing website to grow an online business. No matter how beautiful and well structured your website is, people have to know it exists before they can visit it. This is where SEO friendly hosting comes in. SEO friendly hosting is not exactly a product or a service, which is why it does not have a formal definition. Instead, it is a term used to describe web hosting that supports SEO success. Therefore, we can say SEO friendly hosting is when a hosting provider does not do anything that can jeopardize your site’s SEO ranking. This means that rather than offer any specific suite of services, the web provider follows practices that positively affect SEO.
SEO friendly hosting is vital to the success of any website because it takes a lot of effort to optimize a website for search engines fully and it can be disheartening if, after all the efforts, lousy SEO practices by the web host endangers the visibility of your website.
How does web hosting affect SEO?
Search engine optimization or SEO is a set of rules or practices that you can apply to your website so that it gets more exposure on search engines. Proper SEO practices are the fastest way to drive organic traffic to your website, and the effectiveness of these practices is affected by your choice of web hosting.
The rules that relate to web hosting include speed and performance, server availability and uptime, security, and SEO best practices.
- Speed and performance – The speed and performance of a website is one of the most common SEO factors and plays a considerable role in on-page SEO. Before your website can be adequately optimized for search, it should be able to meet your visitor’s expectations for speed. A fast website is one that provides excellent user experience, and when your website is not fast enough, it jeopardizes the success of your online business. It is generally agreed that a fast website should not take more than 4 seconds to return results and anything less than this is below the threshold for speed. And while there are other reasons why your website may be slow, such as when you have heavy files on your site or problems with the codes of your site, one major cause for poor website performance is poor web hosting.
To have a fast website, two things must be in place: a good hosting provider with great hardware, infrastructure, and adequate resources, and a well-coded website with optimized media files.
- Server availability and uptime – Another factor that affects the search engine ranking is the availability of your website. Search engines don’t like directing visitors to websites that are not available, and so they continuously check websites and remove anyone with availability issues from their search index.
The availability of your website is the sole responsibility of your web hosting provider, and when they fail to meet this responsibility, you suffer what is known as server downtime. A reliable web hosting provider will typically offer 99.9 percent server uptime. Anything less than this is insufficient regardless of the size of your website and your website needs.
- Security – Security is a crucial consideration when it comes to choosing a web host. In fact, this is one factor that can cause significant damage to your reputation as a business if not properly taken care of. It doesn’t matter the measures you take to secure your website, if your web hosting provider lacks in this regard, all your efforts will be futile. If you have ever been in a situation where your site was hacked, you will understand the frustration and despair that poor security can cause.
If your website is not secure, you stand the risk of falling victim to hackers, identity thieves, and malware infections, all of which can undermine your reputation and cause your website to be blacklisted.
- SEO best practices – if your web hosting provider does not know the basics of SEO and the rules that govern SEO best practices, they may do things that will adversely affect the search engine rankings of your website. For example, there are web host providers that restrict website owners from using Google bots in robots.txt, as this causes too many visits to the site. While they surely have their reasons, this could be counterproductive for your website as Google bots play a huge role in website indexing.
Choosing an SEO friendly web host
When it comes to optimizing your website for organic search, there are lots of things to pay attention to. Things like backlinks, on-page SEO, sitemaps, and robots.txt. There are also more recent factors like mobile optimization, featured snippets, and voice search. While you are doing your best to make sure your website meets the optimization requirements in these areas, it is essential that you choose a web host that has the resources and infrastructure to complement your SEO efforts.
If you want to experience optimal performance, reduce page timeouts and stop visitors bouncing back to Google, then you need a solid web host for your website, and the following suggestions will come in handy when choosing one.
- 99.9 percent server uptime – The uptime guarantee of your web host is possibly the most crucial consideration when making your choice. The higher uptime your web host delivers, the more visitors search engines will refer to your website and the higher your search page rankings.
For this reason, it is advisable to choose a web hosting provider that can guarantee 99.9 percent server uptime, anything less than this will affect the performance of your website. However, be wary of providers that promise 100 percent uptime. There is always bound to be some downtime. The key is to look for the one that is low enough not to affect the success of your online business.
- Server location – Not many people are aware that the performance of their websites has a lot to do with where the hosting server is located. Your site will definitely load faster for people who are accessing it from a location close to where your hosting server is. This means that the further a server is located, the longer it will take for a website to load files.
For this reason, it is a good idea to work with a web hosting provider with servers close to where your target audience is located. Of course, you can opt for cloud hosting, an efficient form of web hosting that negates the need for close server location.
- Proper support system – No matter how technologically savvy you are, a time will come when you will face problems with your website that you cannot solve on your own. When this happens, it is the speed and efficiency of your web hosting provider’s support system that will save the day. When choosing an SEO friendly web host, be sure to go for the one that has an around-the-clock support system. An excellent way to verify this is to read reviews on social media and website reviews, paying special attention to what old and current customers are saying.
- Bonuses – Every good web hosting provider has specific add-ons it gives to its customers as bonuses. It could be a free domain name for the first year of service, regular backups, one-click installation CMS, and so on. While not every hosting provider does this, it is not a bad thing if you look for one that offers all or some of these add-ons. You may need one of these tools to make your website more effective and productive.
Reliable, SEO friendly web hosting is something that works quietly and efficiently in the background. That is the essence of a proper and reliable SEO friendly web host.
When you choose such a web host, you protect your online business from unpleasant surprises related to website performance and visibility.