Does Hosting Affect SEO?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Is the art of doing certain activities that help improve how well your website appears on search engines such as Google. Most people undertake SEO activities as an attempt to get their website to the top of the front page. Whilst this is the general jist of what SEO is about, it is very important to highlight now that there are no set ways or guaranteed methods to get your website to that coveted no1 ranking position.

Google is a complex search engine. How it determines what gets onto that first page is not straightforward, nor would they ever make it straightforward. In fact, Google does not want you to know full stop. The search engine has been developed to provide the most relevant search result based on the user’s enquiry. The integrity of the search engine would be at risk if people knew exactly how they could manipulate their way to the top regardless of being relevant or not.

This doesn’t mean that SEO is effectively pointless and it doesn’t work. It isn’t. It’s the expectations of what SEO does is the issue here. SEO is incredibly important for serious website owners and should always be undertaken at least to a basic level.

Does web hosting matter?

Whilst we cannot go into the finer details here of what works and doesn’t work in SEO (we’ll be here forever), a common thing we hear are people asking if there are particular benefits of using a particular host, VPS or Dedicated Server Hosting. This isn’t a straightforward answer, like everything with the world of SEO.

Keep in mind what we just said about how there is no sure fire way to rank a website to no1. There are things you could do that would affect how well Google see’s you. How well and fast your page loads would be a contributing factor that is directly relevant to user’s experience. This is what Google wants, it wants to see websites that doesn’t cause issues or create difficulties for users to view them.

Speed

Google is typically very secretive about how their search engine works, but they have mentioned that the loading speed of pages would be a factor that is being taken into consideration – albeit one of many factors.
When it comes to the loading speed of your site, having it hosted on a shared hosting plan comes with limitations on it’s performance. As you are on a server with plenty of other people, the resources are shared accordingly. The more there are on the server, the slower your website may load. Of course you must also take account of how efficient your website coding is.

Switching to a new host will not solve this and give you an instant boost in rankings. Switching to a higher performance hosting package may benefit you greatly though. There is a possibility that you could ask your existing provider to move you to a less busy server, but another solution is to go to a less crowded service such as a Virtual Private Server or a Dedicated Server.

Keep in mind that with a higher ranking site, you should expect a lot more traffic than you used to get. As a result of this, you will naturally outgrow a shared hosting plan anyway.

There are so much benefits of using a Dedicated Server beyond just SEO reasons which we outline in this article here.

Reliability

The reliability of your website is in question too. If it seems to go down quite often, search engines are going find it difficult to pick up your site and update its database.

Search engines could visit pages several times a day to check for anything that has changed. If your site is down when it does this, it could record your website as an inaccessible site.

Although there is a small chance that other people on a shared hosting plan may affect the uptime and performance of your website, going to a dedicated server would be a much better option in terms of stability and reliability, especially if you’re dealing with higher loads and traffic.

The location of your server

It is argued that the location of the server helps with ranking of your site. Once again, this isn’t as straightforward.

From a performance perspective, having the server local to your website users could technically mean faster delivery of the site. As we’ve covered above, it is more a matter of load times. This is why the importance of using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) provider have become very popular, or people place an importance to having a host provider in the same region.

Regarding IP’s – having an IP in the country you intend to rank for may contribute, but only to provide search engines another signal of the websites intended audience based on its hosting origin. Having said that, there are many websites out there from other countries that rank significantly higher as a result of their other SEO activities.

No one is above the law…

As with everything in the world of SEO, there is no single ranking factor that contributes solely to the ranking of your website. Changing your host or type of hosting will not give you a golden ticket to the front page, but it would play a part in getting you there.

From a performance perspective, you may benefit greatly by choosing to use a dedicated server over a shared hosting plan. As you have exclusive use of the server, you wouldn’t need to worry about the possibility of other users affecting the uptime, speed and reputation of your website. Also, when you do get that top spot, your choice of hosting has to be prepared to handle the traffic…