Most of your website’s internet traffic will come from searches via search engines such as Google, and search engine optimization (SEO) is a term grouping together the steps you can take to improve your rankings. Once your site appears above competitor sites on search engines for the terms relating to products and services your business supplies, you can dominate your market.
As a result, website owners spend huge amounts of money and time undertaking SEO work on and research for their sites. This can include optimizing existing pages to make it easier for search engines to read, creating relevant and expert content, and increasing the inbound links to your site from other authoritative websites.
All of these elements make a site more likely to answer a question posed by a search engine user, and in turn mean your website will place higher in a given search engine’s results. It’s thought by most SEO specialists that Google alone considers over 200 factors in deciding which sites to display for a given search query.
One of these is the web host used to host your site, and here, we discuss five ways in which a poor choice of host, without taking into account the best web hosting services available, can have a negative effect on your search engine rankings.
1. Slow website speed
If you choose a cheap web hosting company, then your website may load slowly for visitors. Apart from making for poor customer experiences, a slow site will be penalized by search engines, making your rankings in results drop. Google has specified that the time a website takes to load is an important factor it takes into account when deciding the order it lists sites on search engine results.
A good web host will have excellent networking infrastructure, and won’t host too many sites on the same servers, helping to keep your website running fast. You also need to consider ways you can optimize your pages so they load as quickly as possible.
2. Website downtimes
Worse than a site that loads slowly is a site that doesn’t load at all. When yours is unavailable, it makes for a terrible customer experience, and your potential buyers will simply go to your competitors.
If your website goes offline because of issues caused by the web host, you can be sure that search engines will take note. If your site is frequently unavailable, Google will flag it as unreliable, and therefore unlikely to offer the excellent customer experience they try to promote. Your site will drop down the search engine rankings.
3. Database connection failures
If you’ve ever seen an “Internal Server Error” or “Database Connection Failed” message when you have tried to visit a website, this means the site is having problems accessing the files needed to display content to you. It could be a configuration error, but often it’s caused by a database being concurrently accessed by too many people.
This can happen when an article or video has gone viral on social media and thousands of people are trying to view it at the same time. Good hosting has safeguards to make sure servers don’t get overloaded. Files are cached on alternative servers, and popular pages can be offloaded so that the number of connections to the database is reduced.