“You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation. “ Gordon B. Hinckley
It’s amazing how often quotes about construction fit marketing too. But if you’re like many, you’re thinking your website (or website code) is the foundation of your online presence. However, there’s a deeper foundation that is now the rock on which true online dominance is built: your web hosting and its impact on SEO.
Believe it or not , SEO and web hosting now go hand in hand. Google’s push to reward fast site speed and “near immediate” user experience has made where and how you host your site more critical than ever to your search rank position goals. If you haven’t considered your hosting as a marketer or business owner, now is the time. These seven questions – once solely only answered by those in IT – are now critical to your search engine marketing success.
1. What type of hosting is your website currently on?
Why is hosting important to SEO? Site speed.
Website hosting comes in many flavors – shared, virtual private servers, and dedicated – and they ramp up in speed (and price) in that order. If you’re on an inexpensive shared plan with a site that gets more than 3,000 visits a day, there’s a good chance your speed is being throttled by your hosting service. That affects page load time and overall user experience. If you’re being throttled you are losing visitors and potentially rank position.
2. How does your hosting compare in uptime scores?
Why is this important to SEO? User experience.
99% may seem like an impressive uptime number, but in reality 1% site down time can cripple your marketing and overall business. 1% of a 30 day month is 7.2 hours. That’s a full business day’s worth of down time with a 99% uptime score.
Granted, a little down time won’t typically hurt your SEO rankings, but it is missed opportunity for development of social shares and backlinks, not to mention overall sales. Review your hosts uptime numbers and consider upgrading to a host with at least a 99.5% uptime record.
3. How secure is your web hosting?
Why is this important to SEO? Protection against significant downtime.
You may be thinking “why would anyone attack my website? We’re a small business.” But the truth of the matter is nearly all websites with moderate traffic are attacked daily for any number of reasons. Insecure business websites can mean significant downtime and that can cripple your marketing, overall sales, and search engine rankings.
4. Can your hosting scale with your marketing and business growth?
Why is this important to SEO? Not missing critical authority-building opportunities.
This is a critical and often overlooked aspect of web hosting. No matter the type of hosting you’re using, how does it scale for viral content? How does it scale for overall growth? Are the costs associated with premium web hosting upgrades considered in your overall budget? Too often, the answers to these questions are discovered after the missed opportunity. Many a viral post lost its momentum due to server overload (ie – the site goes down), and this means lost social shares and backlinks, which is a huge lost boost to your site’s overall authority.
5. Does your hosting provide a content delivery network built in?
Why is this important to SEO? Site speed.
Content delivery networks can be utilized outside of web hosting, but some premium hosting providers provide a CDN for free. CDNs speed up image load for users by hosting the images on multiple servers across the globe. Whichever server is closer to the visitor is typically where the image is pulled upon page load. This tool can have a significant site speed impact, so take advantage of it if it’s available.
6. Does your hosting offer free SSL certificates?
Why is this important to SEO? SSL page rank boost.
Google is on record stating they want a secure web, so much so that they offer a slight boost to your overall SEO for sites protected by SSL. SSL certificates encrypt connections to your site. They were once only used by e-commerce sites and were relatively pricey. But today, most premium hosts provide free SSL certificates to their customers. It’s a small SEO boost, but in a competitive niche every little boost counts.
7. How easy is it to contact your hosting provider in times of emergency?
Why is this important to SEO? Problem solving timeliness.
Especially for small businesses who don’t have dedicated IT resources, knowing how quickly you can get ahold of your hosting company (or where you can ask for help) is critical. Premium managed service hosting companies typically supply 24/7 support which can cut downtime significantly. If the way in which you communicate with your hosting service isn’t clear, the solution to your downtime problem is just that much harder to fix.
Here at Bullseye Strategy, we work with businesses and IT departments big and small to help secure the answers to these and other technical SEO questions to help your business rank. Ready to audit your hosting and other technical SEO components? Contact us today.