Does hosting affect SEO? Not nearly as much as a domain name, according to some.
While having a keyword-rich domain name can create an air of visibility and uniformity across your site, and can certainly help with branding, choosing a host is usually seen as an afterthought. Most people consider one host as good as another host, and so the main focus here is the price: who can host my site as cheaply as possible?
While this may seem like a logical idea, the truth is that an inferior host can be extremely detrimental the success of your site. There are several specific problems, but generally speaking, a bad host can impact your site’s availability, security, and load time – all three of which affect your site’s rankings.
When it comes time for you to purchase domain name and hosting, speed should absolutely come into play. You may think that people would be willing to wait around forever for your page to load, when in reality, a load time of even one second can mean a 7% loss in conversions. And if your site delays for an additional second? According to Kissmetrics, you can expect to lose up to 40% of your customers.
But what does this mean in real-life terms? Let’s say you have an online store, and you purchased your ecommerce web design and hosting through a bargain-basement provider that put together a hack job for you. The site is operational, and you’re clearing close to $50,000 a month in revenue. What does that one-second delay cost you? $3,500 a month, or $42,000 a year. Almost one entire month’s revenue gone simply because of a one-second delay time. A two-second delay might actually sink your business.
This is more than just a numbers game. Google has lately shifted gears towards rewarding sites that give the end user a favorable experience, and if your site is noticeably slower than others like it, you can expect a significant drop in your rankings and overall SEO. A good host will provide a solid infrastructure for you to build your business on, helping the bottom line in ways that are hard to detect.
And in case you’re wondering how to test your site’s speed, here are the tools that can help you out.
Here’s a simple statement: no one will be able to find your website if it’s never there. A site that crashes often, always seems to be going through maintenance, or just generally takes a few tries to get it to load will absolutely annihilate your SEO quicker than anything else.
No host is perfect – even huge sites like Facebook and Twitter experience outages from time to time – but a good one will provide you with at least 99.9% network uptime. A sudden surge in traffic or a hacker attack can crash your site, costing you clients, money, new visitors, and possibly new users. On top of all of this, a site that is continually down will eventually communicate to the search engines that you’ve closed up shop. That’s the worst thing that could happen to any business.
Most hosts operate off of a shared network, which means that you are sharing server space with other websites. This isn’t necessarily bad, but it does mean that your overall memory will be throttled, which can be a huge inhibitor as time goes on.
One solution to this is to have a Virtual Private Server, VPS hosting. In addition to allowing you to have your own dedicated server space, increasing load times and availability, a VPS can be used for several other things, such as having your own testing environment or allowing for a cheap way to backup your site.
VPS gives you the ultimate control over your site, content, customers, and everything else you need to make sure your site stays active. It allows you to focus on growing your business rather than worrying about whether unseen forces will impact your site.
Every website is a potential target for hackers, but this is especially true in business. When you’re considering web hosting for ecommerce websites, it is not only your own information that you have to consider, but that of your customers as well. If your site is infiltrated by a hacker looking to exploit your site’s information, your customer’s can be subject to identity theft and your business’ reputation will take a huge hit.
An inferior host provides minimal protection in the case of a hacker attack, giving new meaning to the phrase “you get what you pay for.” If you pay pennies a month for your web hosting, expect the people on the back end to pay very little attention to your site and be very unsympathetic to your cries for help.
It goes without saying that your SEO will be impacted as well. A website that is constantly under attack will turn away customers and visitors, and search engines will begin to take notice. If you have a good web host, make sure you display it using an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. This encrypts the information traveling between a web server and browser, such as credit card numbers, banking information, and other valuables.
Ultimately, when considering your website’s visibility, you need to think beyond the obvious. Does changing domain name affect SEO? Maybe a little, but not nearly enough for you to be concerned about. Your website’s hosting package? That’s a completely different story entirely.
About the Author: Riya is a writer with years of experience in marketing communications. She enjoys meeting new people and reading more books to get inspired for her own book. Follow her on Twitter.