The Relationship of Web Hosting to SEO

Last Updated on February 1, 2023

The Relationship of Web | Website SearchHosting to SEO

There’s a lot of work that goes into search ranking, and some important elements may get overshadowed. For instance, some will prioritize learning at least the basics of SEO and how to optimize content. Others will research their competitors and find ways to make their offerings more enticing. While you cannot deny the importance and value of these practices, an often overlooked but still very crucial element to the success of a website and business as a whole is web hosting.

A well-performing website hinges on a reliable hosting platform. Where your website is hosted could impact your traffic, ranking, and conversion rates. You could invest a lot of time and money into “SEO Best Practices” and marketing tactics, or even hire a white label marketing agency to help you get optimized. However, what good does it do if your website doesn’t load fast enough and users click off without seeing all the hard work you put into the site? Web hosting alone will not help you top the SERPs, but it is foundational to support the elements that do.

Here, we will get you more informed on the basics of web hosting, what to look for when choosing one, and its importance for SEO.

Website Hosting Basics

If you want to create a website for your business, you will need to hire a web hosting service provider. These providers have web servers, which are computers that store websites and the elements that compose them. Web hosting allows your website to be brought and connected to browsers so that it can be publicly viewed online. This is what allows searchers to type in a URL of a business or the domain and be directed to that website.

A good web host will provide good site performance (quick load times), good site security, effective data management, long uptime (the time your website is available to the public), and good technical support in case your website crashes.

Hosting Plans

Naturally, websites take up space, and the amount of space allotted to websites on a server depends on the hosting plan. The type of hosting plan you choose depends on your business needs.

Free hosting services could be enough for smaller business startups but come with some major caveats. If the business expands, for instance, you will probably need more features. Some free services place ads on the websites they host, which can be off-putting to viewers and damage brand integrity. If you want to put high-resolution images, videos, or sound, that takes up more space, and you may have to consider a paid plan to accommodate all of that.

You also need to consider how much traffic free hosting can accommodate per day, week, or month (bandwidth). A small business might be fine if they only have 5 visitors a day, however, larger organizations that generate a lot of traffic to their site will need to pay for a plan that offers more bandwidth to accommodate the influx.

Website Hosting Essential Features

Website Hosting Essential Features | Web Hosting Mapping Out With Different ElementsGood web hosting typically comes with other offered services and features attached.

  • Email addresses – though features and functionality are usually limited, many hosting companies will provide at least one free email associated with your domain.
  • Upgradable plans – Make sure you are partnered with a hosting platform that allows you the opportunity to scale your site to accommodate your business growth.
  • FTP access – File Transfer Protocol allows file transfer between a computer (via a software call a client) and a server. This access is especially useful for web developers and businesses to transfer files between their computer systems.
  • WordPress support – almost half of all websites that are live on the internet today are built on the WordPress platform, so most hosts support it for website creations and management.
  • Security – Some providers offer SSL certification, the industry security standard for secure internet connection, packaged together with their hosting services. Some also offer automated malware scans.
  • SEO – some hosts also provide some form of SEO support, although so basic that we highly recommend white label SEO services to ensure quality optimization.

Choosing Your Website Host

What exactly should you look for in a web hosting service provider?

Aside from features we discussed, you can check out how long the hosting provider has been in the business, who they’ve hosted, and their reputation among those they’ve hosted.

No SEO strategy is complete without taking web hosting into account. The performance of your website informs the experience a user has on it. Click To Tweet

Website Hosting is Important to SEO

As more businesses realize the value of an online presence, they also soon discover the competitive nature of search ranking and the importance of being among the top searches. Over 90% of search traffic happens on the first page, so you need to rank here if you want to generate traffic to your site. But what does web hosting have to do with it?

As mentioned earlier, your investment in SEO efforts could be easily foiled by bad web hosting. Google is all about giving users the best user experience possible and web hosting is one factor that plays a part in that. Good hosting with strong security and low latency and better loading times gives a better user experience, and subsequently could lead to better SERP positioning.

Th importance of web hosting to SEO can be conveyed in three major points:

1. Website Loading Speeds

Website Loading Speeds | A Web Browser That Shows a Loading ScreenWe know that web hosting and the type of plan you get affects the speeds at which your site loads and operates. Cheaper hosting usually leads to slower loading speeds.

Site speed and loading times are a factor that Google considers when ranking sites. Google is all about providing the best user experience. Sites should load as quick as possible, and when a site or its pages fail to load quickly enough, this could lead to searchers clicking off the site early. This communicates to Google that you don’t meet their ideal site loading time (at least 2 seconds for mobile sites). This means your ranking will be lower, you’ll get less site visits, and subsequently, less conversions.

You can use tools such as Google Page Speed Insights or GTMetrix if you want to check how fast your pages are loading.

Core Web Vitals is a report that measures the performance of your webpage based on real user data. This data measures  three metrics – CLS, FID and LCP.

  • CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift)- Measures the combined number of times and how much individual elements on the site shift unintentionally such as when an ad loads and makes content jump up or down on a page. This spans the websites entire lifetime.
  • FID (First Input Delay) – Measures how responsive your site is when a user interacts with a link or button.
  • LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) – Measures how long it takes to load the largest element of content on your page like an image or video.

2. Website Security

One of the biggest caveats of free or cheap hosting is the lack of strong website security. These sites are less protected from hacking or malware which could lead to your site getting blacklisted. Google will often warn users that a site is unsafe by displaying a screen with a large red triangle. Google may also issue a manual action which is detrimental to your ranking.

Obviously, if users don’t trust your website, they will be deterred from navigating to it, much less enter any information or make any sort of purchase. This is why paying for a web host that has both a reliable security system in place and skilled technical support staff is a worthwhile investment to protect your users, troubleshoot any problems with your site, and protect the reputation of your brand

3. Location for Search

Location for Search | A Phone with Map on The ScreenAnother important consideration is the location that your server and data center is located.

Where your data center is located affects the distance and how fast it takes for data to travel, thus impacting how quickly your site loads when someone attempts to visit. Think of it this way: if you bounce a ball off a far wall, it will take longer to reach the person you’re passing it to than if you just threw it to them directly. This can be what its like if you decide to use a cheap hosting service and end up in a data center far from where you are located.

If your business operates globally, you will want a Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a global web of proxy servers or data centers that makes it so that site hosting and load times are fast regardless of location. This is useful for businesses that target customers from all over the world.

Good Hosting Matters

No SEO strategy is complete without taking web hosting into account. The performance of your website informs the experience a user has on it. This impacts whether a searcher stays on your site and converts or leaves because your site was sluggish or failed to load in time. Ensure reliable site speed, strong security, stable foundation for your SEO efforts, and give yourself the best chance on Google’s results pages by selecting a suitable web hosting service provider.

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