Your web host has a big impact on SEO. Speed, or how quickly your site loads, is the most important factor. When a user comes to your site, they should respond quickly - they feel more natural and that's what we're all looking forward to these days, no one likes, no one expects anything!
There are several factors at play here, so let's take a look at the key factors that can take up your site's SEO…
- How to choose a web host?
- Take a look at our web hosting tips book
- What are the different types of web hosting?
Bandwidth available for your website to stream and features available to you when browsing - only being relevant here as search engine crawlers are usually run from the fastest networks around, they still "see" your site very quickly if bandwidth sites are quite good. But, if you've built your site with a ton of needlessly large images and videos, that will also slow down the site and hinder users (and the crawler experience), thereby negatively impacting the site.
Therefore, the sweet spot is a fast host with lots of bandwidth and a well-optimized site in terms of all content.
Uptime is the time your site is for people to view and visit it. Bad uptime creates a negative experience for users and therefore reduces the "value" of the site in the search engine algorithms matrix. Also, if your site was down at the time the search engines were crawling your site it could be extremely bad.
So, hosts with low uptime rates should be avoided at all costs. There are several ways you can find out how good your potential host is from online data sources and third party surveillance.
It is likely (but not the rule) that lower the prices of the hosting you use, the worse it will be. Why? The lower the cost, the less bandwidth will be allocated, but rather the lower quality equipment will be placed on.
Hardware with multiple processor cores, solid state hard drives and 10GB networking will outperform single processor, spinning disk, 1GB networked systems by orders of magnitude at various levels.
On your web site broadcasting can be a huge factor in improving all of the previous items or even undermining the good ones! If you have a fast server that has great uptime, but a network in the distant Antarctic with very few routes to anywhere else, the impact will again be speed.
Find the best web host
To find the best web host for your website you should look for a host with the following combination:
- A very fast network located on or near the main points of presence (in the UK these include London and Manchester) and with the ISP after negotiation of routing priority (known as level 1 routing).
- Superior hardware based on multi-core and multi-machine hardware with RAID (5,6 or 10) arrays based on solid state hard drives, plus redundancy to reduce hardware failures and downtime. Note: Make sure you take a backup of your website and related data regularly (but keep in mind the new GDPR rules).
- CDNs (Content Delivery Networks) and load balancing points for shared libraries such as jQuery can also greatly improve load time performance, reduce bandwidth requirements from the main host and therefore improve user experience and load times. A CDN is a way of co-hosting images and (generally) video content such that it takes over the load of the main host. Your site's HTML code and working code stays on the server along with the database (another massive line of consideration - more on that below), and therefore transaction information. For images and videos hosted on a distributed network, hosting usually provides a more local experience for the user. So, my site can be hosted in the UK, but images and videos can be loaded more locally for users in Australia and the US, such as a massive latency improvement and a feel to the site for those users.
A few words about databases; most functional websites use databases, let's face it, if you just have a static site with minimal updates no matter how fast your website is it's hardly a good place. Therefore, if you have a database, everything we have discussed so far will be doubled. The same rules apply - a very fast web host with poor database maintenance will slow down your site.
The size and scale of your base must be considered here. Most large scale sites need separate and dedicated hardware for their database, running the site and database on the same server both increases risk and in many cases reduces overall performance.
It goes without saying, at this point, that a well-designed site with a good database and a well-thought-out database architecture are also key factors.
Improving SEO Performance
To sum up, fast hosting, well connected with the base IP address (IP addresses), especially with a number of high-performing sites, increase each other's potential. While Navalny, a (cheap) relatively slow hosting ISP with a ton of low quality sites can negatively impact your site's SEO performance.
Now we've covered web hosting, for some more general SEO tips, try the following:
- UX is the key, is your site providing users with a great experience? Is there a call to action? Is it easy to navigate? Users want to get their information and answers quickly and easily, so if your site is difficult to use, they will go elsewhere.
- Post regular, engaging content that is relevant to you and your business. Update content regularly, don't expect users to come to you if your content isn't fresh and is more than six months old.
- Using social media platforms to post links to your site.
- Use of heading tags is generally good to use HTML5.
- Optimize your alt tags for images. They must be up to date. As long as there is no "getty10485795.png" for example, that doesn't mean anything to anyone.
- Optimize meta per page, add OG images, making sharing pages with image support.
- While the keywords are a bit dated now, it doesn't hurt to add them and will definitely brighten up your copy with them. However, the keywords and phrases in your articles must match the page title and image as well.
- Use SEO tools to monitor and understand how your site's SEO is performing, then adapt where there is room for improvement.
- Optimize image size. The larger the image, the longer the loading time. They should be of good quality, but not too big in terms of file size.