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4 Ways Your Web Hosting Provider Choice Can Affect Site Ranking

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Over 200 factors can affect a website’s ranking, and believe it or not, your web hosting provider is one of them. In fact, in some cases, who you host with can have a very significant impact on your site’s position in the SERPs. Here are the most common ways that your web host may be influencing this:

1.  Site Speed

In April 2011, Google announced that it had updated its algorithm to start using a site’s loading speed as a factor in search engine rankings. And, as we all know, web hosting has a direct effect on the loading speed of a website. I would highly recommend using one of the many free tools on the internet for checking your site’s loading speed on a regular basis. If it’s slower than you were expecting and you can’t locate a site-related reason for the slowness, it might be time to think about transferring your site to a new web host. Both users and search engines like fast sites and as a webmaster, you should do your best to ensure that your site is fast enough to provide a positive end user experience. If that means transferring your site to a different web host, so be it.

2.  Server Location

Although the physical location of your server may not have a negative/positive impact for most sites, for those for whom it has an effect, the impact can be significant. If you have a site that is targeting a particular country, it is imperative that your site can rank well in that country’s version of Google. For example, if your site is targeting visitors from Poland, your site should be optimized for Google.pl, not Google.com.

The two major ways that Google determines whether a site is relevant to a specific country is by its TLD extension and server location. As an example, I once had a site intended for internet users in Malaysia. As I created more and more content, I realized it was ranking very low in Google.com.my, for pertinent queries despite the fact that it was much more relevant to those queries than pages that were ranking above it. I considered buying a Malaysian domain name, but country-specific domains can be relatively expensive and in some cases, the buyer is required to be a citizen of the country whose domain he/she wants to register. Instead, I decided to transfer my site to a Malaysian web host whose server was located in Malaysia. Soon afterwards, my site’s rankings improved dramatically (about 20-30 spots upward).

3.  Uptime

If your site has a relatively low uptime, users will be unable to gain access to your website — and the same goes for search engine crawlers. If crawlers are unable to access your site consistently too many times due to too much downtime, website ranking will be adversely affected. And it’s not just about access by crawlers — consistent downtime indicates to search engines that the site is unreliable and not properly managed. These days, most web hosting services guarantee 99% uptime, so this shouldn’t be a problem for most. However, if you are using a free web host and are experiencing downtime regularly due to limited bandwidth, disk space, and the like, I would highly recommend switching to a more reliable hosting service. Basic hosting is so inexpensive now that if you are running a business online, it doesn’t make sense to take a chance with free hosting. Also keep in mind that options for a dedicated server exist if you find that your shared server isn’t meeting your needs.

4.  Duplicate Content on Subdomain

Some web hosts create a subdomain (yourdomain.nameofserver.com) automatically along with your registered domain (yourdomain.com). This subdomain has the exact same content as your website, which may raise duplicate content issues. If this is how your hosting is set up, one way to deal with it is to edit that subdomain’s robots.txt file to tell search engines not to index it. However, the use of canonical tags to tell the search engines which version of the pages of your site you wish to be considered as the “correct” one, is another possible (and less technically challenging) solution — WordPress has plugins that will do this for you.

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About the Author

Rob has been an SEO enthusiast for many years and is an experienced writer on numerous topics including online marketing, web design, and finance. Currently, he is writing for the web hosting comparison site BestWebsiteHostingServices.org.

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One Comment

  1. Knowing the capabilities of your web host will make sure that you are seen by the people you target. You should be well informed about this so that your business will bloom on the internet.