How Your Hosting Provider Affects Your SEO Ranking

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Even those who are well versed in search engine optimization best practices are sometimes surprised to learn your choice of a hosting provider can affect your SEO ranking. With that said, if you’re in the process of shopping for hosting, in addition to price, you might want to consider the costs. Now here, it must be said, choosing a hosting provider has yet to be shown to improveyour rankings, but it can certainly harm them.

Here’s how.

Accessibility Issues

Uptime and downtime are two of the primary hosting-related factors search engines look at when determining how to rank a site. The standard for uptime is often referred to as five nines. That is, a site should be up and capable of being accessed 99.999 percent of the time. Over the course of a typical day, search engine spiders will attempt to crawl your site on several occasions. If they can’t see it, your store doesn’t get ranked—even if you’ve optimized every other aspect of the site. You want a web host capable of standing behind a 99.99 percent uptime guarantee.

Loading Speed

While this can be a function of many things done incorrectly on your end, if the server upon which your site resides lacks the bandwidth to let your site respond to queries quickly, you’ll suffer in the rankings. Now before you go off on your provider, do everything possible to make sure you’ve optimized your website theme for ideal image sizes and other factors capable of slowing it down.If you have, this issue is likelyto be attributable to situations like sharing space with many other heavily trafficked sites. If you learn this is the case for your site, it’s worth it to pay more to get a virtual private server arrangement, which will also improve your site’s security.

Location, Location, Location

It’s just as true in ecommerce as it is in brick and mortar. The location of your store can make a definite difference in the traffic it receives. In this case, it’s the location of the server upon which your site resides. Each server has a unique IP address, which tells the rest of the machines on the ‘net where it lives (among other things). If most of your customer base is in the United States, make certain the server hosting your site is too. Search engines tend to rank homegrown sites more highly—wherever you are. Let’s say you’re in Kigali, Rwanda searching the web for photography equipment. Rwandan sitesoffering photo gear will show up first, because that’s where your search originated.

Security Concerns

If you’re running an ecommerce site and you’re accepting customer payments, you site must reside with a provider capable of offering Secure File Transfer (SFTP). You’ll also need Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates to encrypt the bath between the server and your customer’s browsers. This facilitates the protection of sensitive payment data and personally identifiable information. Timely server maintenance also plays into this, as software updates should be performed as soon as they are available to combat ever-evolving threats. Google likes sites backed by the proper security protocols.

These issues will factor into how your hosting provider affects your SEO ranking. To ensure the best possible experience for your users, make it a point to query prospective hosts on these concerns before signing with them.