How a Web Hosting Provider Impacts SEO Performance

Google's SERP Features Can Boost Your SEO

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When someone mentions search engine optimization (SEO), what are your first thoughts? Most people probably think of things like keywords, on-site optimization, and backlinks. Allow us to propose something else: your web hosting provider. Believe it or not, the company that hosts your website has both a direct and indirect impact on SEO performance.

This is true even for large corporations running their own servers and hosting their own sites. They are their own web hosts, and the way they configure their servers and networks impacts their SEO performance. Here is the takeaway: your choice of web hosting provider does matter. It matters in terms of things that go well beyond annual hosting fees.

Speed Matters to Search Engines

Given that SEO is all about maximizing search engine performance, SEO experts strive to give search engines what they want. Another way to express the same idea is that SEO agencies try to figure out the metrics search engines like Google utilize to rank pages, and then optimize for those metrics.

There are three metrics Google has already said that it measures, metrics that are related to a company’s choice of web hosting provider. The first of those metrics is speed. Simply put, Google and its competitors place a heavy emphasis on how quickly pages load when ranking websites.

This is so important that page speed is one of the first things we look at when running an SEO audit on a client’s website. A slow loading page turns visitors away. A slow website overall virtually guarantees that unhappy visitors will not be back.

2023 research data out of the UK suggests that the ideal load time for mobile websites is 1-2 seconds. When load time is 1-3 seconds, the probability of a user abandoning a site increases by 32%. The probability of abandonment increases by 90% at 5 seconds, 106% at 6 seconds, and 123% at 10 seconds. Google knows all of this, and they rank websites accordingly.

Location Influences Speed

The second metric related to web hosting is location. In other words, what is the physical location of the server on which a website is hosted? This matters because location influences speed. The further a user is away from the server, the greater the latency. Higher latency means longer load times.

Businesses in the U.S. should host their sites with U.S. hosting companies. Companies with a global presence should stick with hosting providers that offer Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) capable of distributing content through global hubs.

Search Engines Care About Security

Security is another big concern during an SEO audit. It is also the third metric related to web hosting. Hosting providers that do not take security as seriously as they should subject their customers to spam, fake backlinks, and even exposure to hacking. Whenever a website is compromised – or even suspected of being open to it – search engines take note. Any suggestion that a website is not as secure as it could be is detrimental to search engine rankings.

All three of these metrics are directly linked to a company’s choice of web host provider. So ask yourself this: how does your web hosting company perform in all three? Does it have a good reputation for security and speed? Are its servers located in the same country and/or region as the majority of your customers?

Your choice of web hosting providers is not the most critical aspect of SEO. Still, it does play a role. Keep that in mind if your next SEO audit suggests your website isn’t performing as well as it could be.

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