The most important thing a website has is its visitors and users. Without them, any online site, forum, social network or any other property would fail. Without traffic, you wouldn’t be able to make money, and without money, you wouldn’t be able to pay for the hosting and maintenance of the site.
The biggest and arguably most important sources of traffic at the moment are the Search Engines, or more precisely, Google and Bing (as you may know, Yahoo is using Bing to power their search, so they don’t really matter anymore). There’s a whole industry online dedicated to getting traffic from Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short.
SEO basically encompasses all the techniques and tricks that one can apply in order to make their site as Search Engine friendly as possible. The end result and goal is Google and Bing ranking your site high on the keyword searches of your choice, usually on the front page and if everything is done correctly, in the first 5 results.
There are a lot of on-site factors that influence its ranking and SE optimization possibilities. These include the title and descriptions, meta tags, keyword density inside the article, inbound links to the articles from other websites (the higher their authority, the better) and many other things. Listing and explaining them here is not the purpose of this article, but you can easily find a lot of information by doing a quick search for “SEO tips” on Google.
This article’s goal is to explain how the hosting company you choose can influence SEO and your site’s ranking. Many think that the hosting does not matter, and that may have been true in the past, but nowadays, everything counts, and hosting is no exception.
For example, having a faster, more secure hosting company located near your main visitors is much more beneficial for your site’s SEO than having an overloaded shared hosting package located somewhere in Australia (and your customers being from the US). It has been proven time and time again, so there’s no point in denying that.
Here are the most important things you should consider when choosing a hosting company if you intend on doing extensive Search Engine Optimization and get your site to rank high in the Search Engine Results Pages (or SERPs, for short).
Location of the DataCenter. The location of the data center itself is one of the most important factors to consider. You need to have your site hosted on a server as close to your main users as possible. For example, if you get most of your traffic and sales/leads/clicks from the United States, then you should have a hosting package in a data center in this country.
But if you specifically cater to Australians, Canadians or British citizens, then your site will benefit more from having a hosting package in that country. Costs aside (Canadian and Australian hosting is more expensive, while UK and German packages are always 20-40% cheaper than in the US), your site will rank higher for two reasons.
One, the Search Engines will see the location of the server and rank it higher simply because it’s in the country where most of the visitors come from. And two, the loading times in that country will be faster. That is important, as users will be able to load your pages faster, and Google said that a site’s loading speed it’s an important factor when deciding its rank and also cost of clicks in PPC marketing (if you ever do that, you’ll be glad you went with a local hosting company).
Reputation of the Hosting Company. The reputation of the hosting company also plays an important role in the SEO success of your site. You should go with a hosting company that is known to host only good sites and respect the law. If your hosting company is known for, or even worse, currently hosts scam, phishing and/or spam sites, their whole network of IP’s will be compromised and be considered a “bad neighborhood” by the Search Engines. This will most definitely negatively affect your site’s ranking.
The Speed of their Servers and Network. The speed of the hosting provider’s servers and network backbone (that is, cable connection to the world) must have the highest speed and quality. A hosting company with the latest server equipment from reputable brands and a network backbone comprised of multiple trans-oceanic fiber connections means that your site will be fast anywhere in the world, and will not have a lag, which again, negatively affects the ranking of your site (AND the cost of your Pay Per Click campaigns).
The History of the IP Addresses. The history of the IP addresses that you get when buying the hosting package is very important. It could very well be the most important thing that will make or break your SEO campaign. If a scammer or spammer used your IP in the past, it will undoubtedly affect your site. Best case scenario, your site will be very hard to get ranked high. Worst case scenario (which unfortunately, happens more often) is that your site will never appear in the Search Engines because the whole IP is banned.
The Other Sites that are Hosted on the IP Address Subnets. If you are buying a Virtual Private Server or a shared hosting package, you should know what other sites are hosted on the same IP as yours and on the other closely related IPs on the same subnet (that is, the IPs that have the same first 3 groups of numbers, for example, 255.255.255.0 and 255.255.255.67 are part of the same subnet). Again, if there are any phishing or scam sites there, you should leave the host immediately. You can verify the IPs using an online tool like IPChecking.com.
There are other things to consider, but the above are the most important factors. If you want to run the most effective SEO campaign possible on your site, you should definitely take into consideration all the possibilities and factors, and the choice of the hosting company should be high up on your list.