In the Search Engine Optimization world many SEO professionals tend to focus on the onpage optimization or on the backlink hunting and they forget how important the hosting services are. Surely good hosting services will not boost your rankings, but it is certain that if you do not choose carefully you can get into serious problems. In this article we will focus on the 7 most important things to have in mind when you select hosting services.
1. IP Address of the Server
The IP address of the Server is a very important factor of SEO. Google’s Algorithm takes into account the country of the server by examining the IP address. Thus the results are affected, especially for localized search.
Additionally many IP addresses are considered to be untrusted due to excessive spam and thus they are blacklisted. Our advice on this is to choose trustful hosting providers and avoid changing IP addresses frequently, as it is generally considered a suspicious act.
2. Plugins and Updated Servers
Some of the plugins of the web server are very important for SEO. For example URL Rewriting modules affect the URL structure of the dynamic sites.
Additionally it is very important to keep your site’s server Updated (Web Server, SQL Server, Plugins etc) because in this way you will ensure that your site is secured. So make sure that your hosting provider patches the server regularly.
3. Uptime Percentage
Your server must be available 24/7 and able to handle a large amount of web requests. When it is unable to response you lose traffic and potential clients. Additionally if your site is unavailable when search engines try to crawl large amounts of pages, both the number of indexed pages and your rankings will be affected.
4. Load Times
The Web Server must be able to present the pages in the minimum amount of time. The speed is very important for the user experience. The total loading time depends on many factors such as the bandwidth, the hardware of your server and the type of content you serve. Try to reduce the loading time by optimizing your site’s code and additionally select a hosting package that will able to handle the web requests you receive.
Even if loading time is not directly connected to SEO results at the moment, it is certain that it affects the user experience and thus Google might take this into consideration in the future (Check Matt Cutts’ video).
On Friday, April 09, 2010 Google informed us that they use website speed in their ranking algorithms as one of their signals.
5. Avoid cheap hosting services
6. Number of sites hosted on the same Server/IP
The number of sites hosted on the same server affects the response time for obvious reasons. Additionally Google seems to look suspiciously servers that host too many sites on the same server. Determining the exact number is not an easy task but fortunately there are some Reverse IP Lookup tools you can use.
7. Other features in the hosting package
Before you select hosting services you must check the bandwidth limits and the other limitations, the number of email accounts that you are able to create, the number of emails you can send per day, whether you will have access on logs, how often they get backups, the number of subdomains you can create, whether is possible to add plugins etc.
Also keep in mind that sooner or later you will face problems with your server. Make sure you that the selected company has a good customer support service and a group of experienced technicians willing to help you solve your problems.