Host and SEO
Hosting can have a lot of impact on your SEO. A host can’t make your SEO, it can break it I sometimes say. When your website is online, it is important to have a good, fast and, above all, consistent host attached to it. This way, you won’t have to deal with server errors or a slow website.
Having a good web host is not only important for your own website or the visitor. It’s also crucial for your SEO. In this article, I tell you all about hosting and SEO .
What is web hosting (and SEO)?
Web hosting is a service that provides individuals or businesses with space to store information, images, or other content accessible through a website. It’s a piece of server that your website runs on. You have different types of web hosting. I name three.
- Shared hosting. With this web host, you share a “piece of server” with other websites. The advantage of this is that you share the cost. This is especially advantageous when you are just starting a Web site. The downside is that you also depend on the other websites. When a website gets more traffic, it will affect your website. For example, your website may be slower as a result.
- VPS hosting. VPS means Virtual Private Server. As with shared hosting, websites running on VPS share a physical server with other websites. The difference is that each VPS user has their own “section” of allocated resources. In practice, this often means more memory, storage and processing power, which makes for a higher price tag.
- Dedicated hosting. With this, you no longer have to share the server and it is entirely for your own website. You don’t have to consider traffic or other influences from other websites. Especially larger websites use private hosting.
Of course, you want to have a suitable host for your website. If you are just founding a website and don’t have a lot of budget, it may be wise to share hosting. This will save you costs when there is (probably) not much traffic coming to your website yet. If you already obtain a lot of traffic or sell a lot of products on your website, having your own VPS is recommended.
So a suitable web host is crucial for your website, but how does it affect your SEO?
The influence of hosting on SEO
Hosting affects SEO in several ways. Here is a table illustrating this with the priority of each point and an explanation:
|The loading speed of your website is an important ranking factor for Google. If your website loads slowly, it can lead to a higher bounce rate, which is detrimental to your SEO. The speed of your server, determined by your hosting provider, plays a big role in how fast your Web site loads.
|Uptime (the time your website is accessible) is also essential for SEO. If your website is often offline because of server problems, it can lead to lower search engine rankings. A reliable hosting provider should offer an uptime guarantee of 99.9%(1).
|While not as important as speed and uptime, the location of your server can affect the loading time of your website for visitors in a particular geographic area. For example, if you have a Web site that caters primarily to visitors in the Netherlands, it may be beneficial to have a server in the Netherlands.
|A secure hosting environment helps protect your website from malware and other security issues that can be detrimental to your SEO. If your website is hacked and filled with spam or malware, it could result in a penalty from search engines.
|SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is important for the security of your website and is a ranking factor for Google(2). Many hosting providers offer a free SSL certificate as part of their packages.
It is important to note that although hosting plays a role in SEO, it is only one of many factors that affect your ranking in search engines. It should be combined with other SEO best practices for best results.
As you also see reflected in the table above is that a good host has little “positive” effect on SEO. Rather, it represents a major pitfall where huge problems for SEO can arise.
High Uptime Guarantee
An uptime guarantee from your host refers to the percentage of time your website is online and accessible. So a high percentage is both desirable and better for your SEO friendliness. The higher your uptime, the less likely visitors are to visit your site to discover that it is down.
And that visitors send this back to the search engines and possibly risk your ranking in the process. Better, more reliable hosts offer higher uptime guarantees. For best results, choose a host with at least a 99.9 percent uptime guarantee (or higher, if you can get it). That translates into about 1.44 minutes of downtime per day and 8.8 hours per year. However, be wary of any host that claims 100 percent uptime. There will always be a few minutes of downtime. So be realistic and don’t charge easily.
The location of the server
The location of your server often indicates how quickly it can be accessed by your visitor. When you share a web host, your website resides on a physical server in a data center. Ideally, you want this data center to be as close as possible, because the further away the server is, the longer it will take for your site to load. Ideally, you want to avoid this.
Want a reliable and SEO-friendly server? Then pay attention to the points below:
- Automatic backups: if something ever goes wrong, you want a site backup that you can quickly restore. See if your host is free or offers automatic backups for a fee.
- SSL: HTTPS has been a ranking factor for years. If you haven’t yet switched to a secure site, you need to have your affairs in order. Make sure your host supports SSL, some even include them for free with your hosting package.
- Grow in hosting: as your site grows, your hosting needs are likely to change (this is a good thing!).
Eventually, your traffic numbers may be large enough to justify moving to your own dedicated server. This transition will be easier (and cheaper) if you don’t have to change hosting providers at the same time.
Hosting depends on the platform
I like to distinguish between an online shop and a website when selecting an appropriate host. Of course, this is not the only variable in selecting an appropriate host (or form of hosting), but it forms a good basis.
Appropriate hosting for the SEO of an online store
For an online store, there are specific requirements you should consider when choosing a hosting provider. Here are some factors to consider:
- Performance and speed: the loading time of your website directly affects the user experience and can also affect your position in Google’s search results. Choose a hosting provider that guarantees fast server response times.
- Reliability and uptime: you want to make sure your web shop is always online and accessible. Therefore, choose a hosting provider with a high uptime guarantee (ideally 99.9% or higher).
- Scalability: if you expect your traffic and transactions to increase as your business grows, you want a hosting provider that can easily scale up to meet your needs.
- Security: this is critical for any Web site, but especially for Web shops that handle sensitive customer data and payment information. Make sure your hosting provider offers SSL certificates, does regular backups and has additional security measures such as DDoS protection and firewall.
- Support for e-commerce platforms: some hosting providers offer special packages optimized for popular e-commerce platforms such as WooCommerce (for WordPress), Magento or Shopify. These can provide additional features and convenience(3).
- Customer service: problems can always arise, so you want a provider that offers 24/7 customer service.
Ultimately, the ideal hosting provider varies depending on the specific needs of your web shop. Some recommended providers are SiteGround, Bluehost and Kinsta because of their strong performance and focus on customer service.
Appropriate hosting for a website’s SEO
For a regular website, the considerations for hosting are somewhat different than for a web shop. The biggest difference will be the number of visitors, often a (B2B) website receives slightly fewer visitors than the average web shop. However, there are still some important factors to consider:
- Reliability and uptime: just like an online store, you want your website to be online and available as often as possible. Choose a hosting provider that guarantees high uptime, ideally 99.9% or higher.
- Performance and speed: the speed of your website affects the user experience and can affect your SEO ranking. Choose a host that promises fast load times and powerful performance.
- Security: make sure the host you choose has strong security measures, such as the ability to install SSL certificates, malware protection and regular backups of your site.
- Scalability: if you expect your website traffic to grow, you want a host that can easily scale to meet those growing needs.
- Customer service: choose a hosting provider that offers excellent customer service so you can get help quickly if problems arise.
- Price: depending on the needs of your website, you may want to strike a balance between cost and features. Some cheaper hosting plans may be fine for smaller Web sites, while larger or more complex sites may benefit from more expensive plans with more features.
Some hosting providers often recommended for Web sites are SiteGround, Bluehost and DreamHost. These offer a good balance of price, reliability, performance and customer service. But ultimately, the best choice depends on your website’s specific needs and budget(4).
So choose your web host appropriately for your website. Are you just starting a website? Then choose shared hosting. Make sure you choose a web hosting that allows you to grow because your website does.
In addition, be SEO-friendly by choosing a stable and consistent host with a high uptime guarantee and choose a server close to home. This way, your website is consistently online and promotes usability for your visitor and the search engines.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a host?
A Web site host is a computer or server configured to make Web sites and Web pages available to visitors over the Internet. A website host is responsible for storing a website’s files and content so that they can be made accessible to visitors who want to view the website.
Web hosting providers often offer different types of hosting services, such as shared hosting, VPS hosting and dedicated hosting, each offering different levels of control and flexibility over server configuration and resources.
A website host is also responsible for providing security and protection against malicious activities, such as hacking and malware attacks, and ensuring website availability through reliable network and server infrastructure.
What is the impact of a host on SEO?
A host can have a significant impact on a website’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Here are a few ways a host can affect a website’s SEO:
- Speed: The speed of a website is an important factor for SEO. If a website loads slowly, it can lead to a lower ranking in search engine search results. A host that provides a fast and reliable server infrastructure can help improve website load times.
- Downtime: downtime can also negatively impact a website’s SEO. If a website is unavailable to visitors, it can lead to a drop in search engine rankings. A host with high availability can help minimize website downtime and protect the site’s SEO.
- Location: the location of the host server can also have an impact on a Web site’s SEO. Search engines take the location of the server into account when determining the relevance of a Web site for certain searches. Therefore, if a Web site is targeted to a specific region, it may be advantageous to choose a host that has servers in that region.
- Security: security is an important aspect of SEO. A Web site that has been hacked or infected with malware can be removed from search engine search results. A host that provides robust security measures, such as firewalls and malware scanning, can help ensure a website’s security and protect its SEO.
All in all, then, the choice of a host can affect a website’s performance in search engines and thus affect SEO.
How do I choose an appropriate host for optimal SEO results?
If you are looking for a suitable host for optimal SEO results, here are some factors to consider:
- Speed: Find a host that offers fast server infrastructure. This is an important factor in the speed of your website, which has a positive impact on SEO. You can test a host’s speed using tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights.
- Availability: choose a host that guarantees high availability. This helps minimize your website downtime, which in turn improves SEO performance.
- Location: consider a host with servers in a location close to your target audience. This can help reduce your website’s load time and increase relevance for local searches.
- Security: choose a host that offers robust security measures to protect your website from hacks and malware. This helps to protect and improve SEO performance.
- Scalability: make sure the host offers scalable hosting plans so you can easily expand server resources as your website grows and gets more traffic.
- Support: choose a host that offers good technical support so that you can resolve any issues quickly and protect your website’s SEO performance.
By taking these factors into account when choosing a host, you can find a partner that will help your website deliver the best SEO performance.
Are there certain hosts I should better avoid for optimal SEO results?
There are certain hosts that are best avoided if you want to achieve optimal SEO results. Here are some of the main reasons why it’s better to avoid certain hosts:
- Slow servers: if a host has slow servers, this can slow down the loading time of your website, negatively impacting SEO.
- Unreliable uptime: if the host cannot guarantee that your website is always available, it can negatively impact SEO. A website that is frequently offline may be seen by search engines as unreliable and unusable by visitors.
- Poor security: a host that does not provide sufficient security measures can lead to hacks and malware on your website, negatively impacting SEO.
- Spammy IP addresses: if your host uses spammy IP addresses, this can result in lower SEO performance for your website, as search engines block these IP addresses and question the reliability of the website.
- No support: if your host does not provide proper technical support, it can lead to prolonged downtime of your website, which negatively affects SEO and can lose visitors.
Therefore, it is important to research the host’s reputation and performance before making a decision. Read reviews from other users, look for information about the server’s speed and uptime, and check if the host offers good security measures and has technical support. This will help you find the right host for optimal SEO results.
Does a host also impact other things outside of SEO?
A host can also impact other aspects of your website and online presence beyond SEO. Here are some examples:
- User experience: the speed of your website, uptime and overall host performance have a direct impact on the user experience of your website. A slow website or one that is often offline can be frustrating for visitors and cause them to leave.
- Reliability: a host that has regular downtime or does not provide reliable security measures can result in an unreliable online presence. This can affect visitors’ confidence in your website and business.
- Scalability: as your website grows and gets more traffic, the host must be able to scale server resources to meet demand. A host that does not offer scalable hosting plans can lead to slow load times and a poor user experience for visitors.
- Cost: The cost of the host is also important to consider. Some hosts can be expensive, while others offer cheaper hosting plans with limited functionality and performance. It is important to choose a host that offers the right balance between price and quality.
- Support: good technical support is important for solving any problems with your website and hosting. A host that does not provide proper support can result in prolonged downtime of your website and loss of customers.
In short, a host not only impacts SEO, but also other aspects of your online presence. It is therefore important to choose a host that offers the best performance in all areas important to your website and business.