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Google’s page experience update rolled out in June 2021 and has had a major impact on SEO.
The core web vitals signals that Google uses in its search algorithm focus on one common theme — speed. Slow-loading pages and those that take time to appear on the screen will most likely see a decrease in rankings.
Using a fast web hosting company is now essential. But speed isn’t the only factor in which a web host can impact search results.
This article explains how web hosting can affect SEO and how to achieve a better SERP position.
A web hosting provider acts as the gateway to your website. A slow or sluggish service or one that doesn’t offer security will drive away customers and Google alike.
In modern SEO, every second counts.
One second of a delay can cause a reduction in page views by 11%. It can damage conversion rates by 7%. And bounce rates can soar to 90%.
Reliability and downtime also affect SEO position. Not to mention SSL certification (security) and having to share computing resources with hundreds of other companies on a single server.
Below are 5 factors relating to web hosting that contribute to SEO and search engine rankings.
Downtime measures how often your website goes offline.
Downtime happens when the hosting service needs to install critical updates and must reboot its server. This can take a few minutes and a good host informs you of upcoming fixes and performs them at low-traffic times.
However, if your host constantly needs to restart its computers then your downtime rate increases. As Google constantly analyses your pages it will log these periods when it cannot access your site. The more this happens the more you may be penalised.
The opposite of downtime is uptime and the best uptime rates sit at 99.999% also known as a five-nines SLA.
Consider the difference between 99.999% and 99.9% is 8 hours and 46 minutes every year. That’s a long time for your customers to keep their cool before moving to your competitors.
If you own an e-commerce store your customers need a streamlined shopping experience.
This is often hampered by hosts that place hundreds of their clients onto a single server. All it takes is one to hog the resources and your site grinds to a halt.
Google doesn’t look too kindly on slow websites.
The Core Web Vitals signals measure how quickly a page takes to load, display, and become usable. If your pages take more than three seconds to appear on the screen then expect your Google ranking to suffer as a result.
SEO in 2021 and beyond requires that your website installs an SSL certificate to offer a secure browsing experience.
You can check if your site offers SSL by viewing the browser address bar. If the padlock’s locked then you’re probably secure. Probably, because the SSL certificate may be out of date or the time stamp might have malfunctioned.
A good web hosting provider will offer SSL options at a reasonable cost.
You can boost your SEO by adding SSL to your domain. Check your existing rankings on Google and click on the link to ensure there aren’t any problems. If Google flags your certificate as problematic then it might be time to consider moving host.
Even if your website’s pages load quickly that doesn’t mean that larger files will download at a fast speed.
Test your site’s performance when downloading all types of files including:
You can offset slow loading static content by placing them on a content delivery network or CDN.
A CDN provides a distributed network of servers to push your content to your visitors’ browsers. They’re designed to be super fast and Google often prefers this option which can boost your search position.
A professional web design team will point you in the right direction regarding CDNs and file hosting.
Does your website host give you full control over your hosting experience? Do you have access to a control panel? Can you edit the .htaccess file or tweak the MySQL database options?
Anything you can do to improve speed and provide a better experience will help with SEO.
Some hosts offer very limited options and will charge you extra to edit technical files. You might wait in a support queue for hours only to discover that it cannot be done.
Break free from a provider who doesn’t give you the keys to your online home. A simple change to your robots.txt file could have huge benefits on your rankings.
Have you ever tried to visit a website on the other side of the world? You’ll notice that the pages can take a while to load.
Does server location affect SEO then?
It does and the reason is simple. It takes longer for the data to travel to and from your computer at larger distances.
Always choose a host that’s located close to your main customer base. If you have visitors from around the world then consider a cloud solution. Cloud hosts copy files to multiple locations and serve them from the nearest data centre.
So there you have it, your choice of hosting provider can impact your SEO. If you’re building a new website then speak to your developer and ask the above questions. Remember, you are not obliged to use your developers hosting so take the time to do a little bit of research, it’s worth it.
If you’re looking for a reliable Web Designer in Hobart then don’t hesitate to contact the team at Web Design Hobart today!
We're a full-service web design & development agency based in Tasmania.