Uptime and reliability of hosting are important for SEO
Sadly the question of hosting and SEO usually tends to arise after the fact – after the site owner has already committed to a hosting contract. It’s important to plan all aspects of website ownership prior to committing to contracts. Uptime and reliability are two of the most important factors for business owners to consider when choosing a hosting company.
Having the foresight to deal with the ‘hosting and SEO’ question from the outset can save a lot of needless headaches. There is nothing definitive to suggest hosting directly affects SEO performance but anecdotal evidence from most SEO experts and website developers from around the globe would suggest it’s a considerable factor.
How does hosting affect SEO?
There are a number of areas where hosting can have an impact on search engine optimisation (SEO), depending on the extent and depth of strategy you have in place.
1. Site speed is a known factor in Google’s search algorithms, which is something you need to address with your hosting company. Google’s aim is to deliver relevant search results faster than ever, so sites that are loading slowly are naturally going to drop down the rankings.
2. As mentioned above, the hosting company’s track record with uptime and reliability is another factor. If your site is down on a frequent basis, you’re in trouble – web searchers and Google’s robots won’t be able to find your content. This affects your SEO, but also affects direct traffic and pay-per-click – so if your hosting is sub-standard, it will affect more than your SEO campaign.
3. Geo-targeting and localisation of search content are also factors to consider when evaluating where to host your website. However, don’t be overly concerned by this – if you have the most important elements of off-page and on-page SEO correct, then geo-targeting won’t be a telling factor.
If you compete internationally, geo-targeting becomes more of an issue. There are varying theories on what works best for targeting different countries as part of your SEO strategy and we talk more about that here: international SEO.
Dealing with website hosting issues
The time to deal with hosting is before you pay for hosting. However, if you have invested, it’s important to be vigilant about uptime and reliability – monitor it consistently and contact your hosting company any time problems arise.
Do you have Google Webmaster Tools installed? A Google Webmaster Tools account is free to set up and can help to determine crawl errors, which may be caused by downtime.
Hosting is not a dominant factor when it comes to SEO but it’s important nonetheless to ensure your website is consistently available to internet searchers and search engine crawlers. Hosting only really becomes a major problem for SEO when it’s not working.