A Reminder on Webhosting and Its Relation to SEO

We realize it’s not the first time we’ve decided to go over the subject, but it has been a while since we took the opportunity to point how much of a factor your web hosting will have for your website’s search engine rankings. While it’s true that there are a good many other factors that are more relevant in that equation, anyone who’s new to the digital world with their website should be aware that going with the most inexpensive option for web hosting may negatively affect the visibility of your new found site.

Now we will add quickly before going on further here that we are not the only good Canadian web hosting provider, and there are a number of others who can offer you equally reliable and competitively priced web hosting. That said, there are a number of advantages we do provide for our customers that should give us something of an edge but we’ll leave that for another discussion. What we’re going to share with you here today regarding the relationship between web hosting and SEO is going to apply no matter which Canadian web hosting provider you choose.

The Very Real Connection

SEO involves a lot more than just keyword optimization and link building. There’s a long list of things webmasters can do to promote major jumps with where the site ranks in SERPS (search engine result pages). In this regard what you may be getting as a package and at the same price points from one web hosting provider may well not have the same benefits in this regard.

So what do you do? Well, you start by being in the know about how all this stuff, so let’s get to it. The first thing you do is by establishing your objectives – namely, what you’re hoping to gain from all the efforts you’ve put into taking yourself online.

Defining Objectives First

For most people, the reason they’ve built a website and taken it online is to either increase online sales, increase customer interaction with the business (online or otherwise), or to simply increase traffic to the site itself. No matter what your main priority is, one of the primary understandings anyone will have is the page-load speeds play a big part in how your website is evaluated by search engines like Google and the like.

Now if you’re thinking it’s a simple as faster is better, you’re at least partially correct.Bottom of Form While it’s absolutely true that your website should load quickly, page load speed is only one small part of the equation. There’s going to be any number of providers who can promise you quality page speeds and especially when you’re purchasing a more expensive web hosting package. And quite often those promises are legit.

Make sure they are, because quite often your experience with page load speeds on say, your desktop, may be very different than what another person visiting on a mobile device might experience. Try it and see, and have your friends or family do the same and report. Do they see what they wanted? Did the right stuff load quickly? Your website’s visitors should see your site’s core content quickly. Some of the ancillary content can take longer to load, and if so that’s okay.

Indicator Number One

What this is referred to is First Meaningful Paint, and it’s a measurement (albeit a subjective one) of how your site keeps visitors happy and retains them. What this means is that while your actual page-load process may be three seconds long, visitors may see all of your meaningful content in just a little more than a second.

It’s nearly always true that some elements that take longer to load are not essential to the immediate visitor experience. Facebook pixel loads are a really good example.

Where all of this goes next is in preventing those visitors from becoming part of your bounce-rate stats. Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to your site who leave within a certain (short) period of time after entering it. And yes, page load speeds are far and away the primary cause of that.

Should Google see that users are making their way into a page and then coming back out within a certain amount of time, that becomes a signal that the website didn’t deliver in the way the visitor was expecting it would. Having a slow website or irrelevant content is going to be problematic, and while web hosting may have nothing to do with the second part of that it definitely can have much to do with the first part of it.

Uptime – Related to the Right Host

Another majorly important aspect of providing a premium user experience is uptime. Any time Google or a user requests access to your site but has it constantly timing out or the server’s unable to return a result for it then your SEO is going to be taking a hit. Ensuring 100 percent uptime – or as close to it as is possible – is integrally important for providing a user experience for an average visitor that they’ll deem to be acceptable.

There are also a pair of load-time factors that Google uses to measure your site. Not surprisingly, both of them can be affected by your web host. The first of these is DNS lookup. When it takes longer for your host to complete DNS lookup, it takes a correspondingly longer time for your host to begin loading your page.

Long look up times aren’t conducive to high SERP rankings, and neither is the same for number 2 – delayed page load times. Find yourself with a host that uses a slow server and you’ll be ideally situated for a SERP ranking slide. The general guideline here is anything longer than 100 milliseconds to load the first bite is the beginning of unacceptable territory.

The time it takes the server to answer a browser’s request should ideally be no more than 50 milliseconds, and most hosts with quality servers will be answering even more speedily than that.

Solid SEO Strategy Choices

Here’s four approaches you can use to improve your site’s SEO

  1. Have Clean Code

Even the most solid of web hosts won’t be able to remedy the damage done by a website that has poorly written code slowing down load times and making the user experience unsatisfactory. Code be kept light and clean, and if you don’t know what that means then you’re clearly not the one writing it. Extra CSS, JavaScript, and files that aren’t necessary for site loading purposes don’t belong in your code. Another good idea is to make sure your code is W3C compliant by using a markup validation service.

  1. Keep Your Site Secure.

Site hacking is more of a problem these days than it has ever been before, and having hackers maliciously adding links to a site without permission or anyone even being aware of them is a real potential problem now. If Google sees a website with these irrelevant links they’ll proceed to penalize the site and decrease the page’s rankings for it. You’ll have to work to proactively keep these bad links away or choose a hosting provider that can help you keep them at bay.

  1. Measure Site Load times and Time to First Byte

There are a few free tool like Tools.pingdom.com, among others, where you can determine how long your site really takes to load and communicate with browsers. Even testing from different regions is possible. GTMetrix and Yslow may be better choices if you’re using Google Chrome. Do some digging on this, there’s plenty of good information to be found with a simple search.

  1. Take a Look at Managed Hosting

One the biggest overall benefits that comes with managed hosting is making the user’s site experience that much easier. It addresses a lot of the issues website owners commonly have, and managed hosting makes it so that you are paying someone else to worry about the SEO-critical aspects of your site so you can focus on other things – and ideally creating great content.

This can also mean you’re more ready for anything unforeseen, like traffic spikes or hacker-related activities. Managed web hosting can be worth the increase in price, and especially given how important website performance is in relation to SEO.

Take Advantage of Available SEO Tools

We’re among the many reputable web host providers in Canada that also offer tools that can fast-track SEO optimization of your website. They’ll start by scanning the content on your website and then comparing the information gathered against the SEO influencing aspects of your website before giving it a score. You’ll then have strategies suggested to help you increase your ranking on the popular search engines.

Some of the better and further reaching ones will also analyze the structure of your website and whether or not it’s presented in a form that can be understood by the popular search engines. You might also have tools that’ll check whether important characteristics of your post such as titles and meta description can be read clearly by search engines.

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