can your web hosting plan affect your seo

Can Your Web Hosting Plan Affect SEO?

When it comes to SEO, the details matter a lot. One of those details that’s commonly neglected is your choice of web host. Usually, it’s the last thing that people think about.

However, the type of hosting you’re using can have a big impact on your rankings. The extent of the impact will depend on the size of your site and its overall traffic levels, but your host is either supporting or damaging your rankings. Obviously, you want a host that does the former.

Below you’ll learn how your host affects your search engine rankings, and how to choose a hosting environment that will actually support your rankings.

best WordPress hosting

5 Ways Your Web Host Affects Your Rankings

The type of web hosting you choose can either help or hurt your rankings. Below we cover five different ways your choice of host can affect your SEO.

1. Site Speed Is a Ranking Factor

The faster your site loads the better your site will rank in the search engines. Now, just having a fast loading site isn’t enough to push your site to page one. But, if you already have solid onsite and offsite SEO and you boost your site speed you will start to see your rankings climb.

Having a slow loading host will lead to a poor user experience since they’ll be sitting and staring at a blank screen. Poor user experience leads to poor metrics, like a high bounce rate, and a very low time on site, both of which will push your rankings down.

2. Data Loss = Rankings Loss

No one likes to think about it, but there is a chance that your site will face a disaster. Whether it’s getting your site hacked, a catastrophe at your host’s datacenter, or unintended site data loss, it can happen.

To protect your site and your rankings from data loss you need to have some kind of backup system. A high-quality host will have a backup system in place that will help you quickly recover from any of the above scenarios. HostGator customers, learn more about protecting your site with CodeGuard.

3. SSL Certificate Improves Rankings

Trust is huge online. If your site doesn’t seem trustworthy, then Google won’t trust you and you’ll have a hard time ranking. The same goes for your visitors. If your visitors don’t trust you, then they probably won’t purchase anything from you, or stay with your brand over the long-term.

One easy way to improve your trust is to install an SSL certificate on your site. An SSL certificate will encrypt the connection between your server and your user’s web browser. This will allow for the secure exchange of personal information. But beyond making your visitors feel safe an SSL certificate will also help your site improve its rankings. Since 2014 Google has acknowledged that SSL certificates are a ranking factor.

4. Uptime Matters

No host can guarantee 100% uptime, but the better your host, the higher uptime your site will have. If you’ve been experiencing high levels of downtime, then it’s probably time to think about switching your hosting environment. Learn more about HostGator’s 99.9% uptime guarantee!

Having your site down shouldn’t affect rankings too much, but it can have a negative impact on your user experience. If a person tries to visit your site time and time again and your site is offline, they simply won’t come back. This can have a negative impact on your bounce rate and your CTR from the search engines.

5. Server Location and Performance

Another factor that influences the performance of your site is the location of your physical server. Now this will depend on what kind of hosting you’re actually using. For example, if you’re using cloud hosting it won’t be a factor. But, if you’re using shared, VPS, or a dedicated server, then the farther your visitors are from the physical location of your server the slower your site will load.

However, if you have a high-quality host this will be offset through an integrated CDN and a high performing server environment.

How to Choose an SEO Friendly Host

An SEO-friendly host will look different depending on the kind of site you run and how much traffic you receive. There is no perfect hosting choice for every style of website.

For example, if you have a small site that doesn’t receive a lot of traffic, then a solid shared host will be enough to support your site.

But, if you receive hundreds of thousands of visitors per month, then using a shared host will probably have a negative impact on your site’s performance and rankings. In that case upgrading to a VPS, cloud, or dedicated server hosting would be the best course of action.

In order to find the best SEO-friendly host, evaluate your hosting choices with the factors below:

  1. Does the host have a high benchmark of performance? If you’re unsure, spend some time checking out user reviews online.
  2. Does your host include an automated backup system or use a third-party plugin?
  3. Do you have the ability to install or purchase an SSL certificate for your site?
  4. Does your host guarantee a high site uptime? Is there data, or a guarantee to back it up?
  5. Can you choose your datacenter location? Or, does you hosting include an integrated or third-party CDN?

Going through the above questions will help you find a high-performing host that’ll actually support your rankings, not bury your site in the search results. Overall, your host can have a big impact on your SEO. If your site hasn’t been ranking as high as you think it should, then your hosting environment could be the culprit.

There’s a reason people consistently choose HostGator web hosting. Learn more about our award-winning hosting by reading real reviews from our customers!

Kevin Wood writes about technology and human potential. You can find him at his virtual homes Wooden Writing and Counter Culturist.