Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a complex game of tiny, interrelated factors which can either make or break a website in the eyes of important search giants. While SEO companies are great at getting your website to page one, there are a few decisions which need to be made by you – like which web hosting company hosts your website. Most of the time the web hosting has long been sorted before SEO is brought in, and many people don’t even realise the impact this can make. When choosing or changing your web hosting company, important factors for consideration include things like physical location, server speed and size, and customer support.
In the last week, Aussie host Crazy Domains had a number of unprecedented downtimes. Facebook, Twitter and various forums were amassed with complaints about the extended offline periods – reminiscent of last year’s barrage against Webcentral – another Aussie web hosting and domain service offering cheap prices. If your business is too important to disappear off the interwebs for indefinite spouts, it’s probably not a good idea to value cheap prices. Customer service also weighs in heavily, as a company which can offer genuine support over the phone, and in the same country, can mean the difference between downtime lasting a few minutes or a few days.
Location is another biggie for SEO. Many of the important search engines look at country location when returning search results. So if you want to appear on Google.com.au, it’s important that your website is hosted locally rather than offshore. Also consider where your data is stored, and how secure the data centre is. Things like heavy storms, floods, fire and power failure can sometimes affect data centres, so it’s important that your web hosting company has adequate redundancies in place. If there are problems, it’s again important for the support team to be located in the same country as you – as it will mean less double-handling and a faster fix.
Similarly, server speed and size can definitely impact your SEO. Google has mentioned that it may start to factor in website speed in its algorithms – but besides this, people will naturally back out of your website if it doesn’t load fast enough. Ranking well is pointless if nobody stays on your website. As well as this, your web hosting company needs to be ready to handle large amounts of traffic coming through your website. You should pick a company with a support department which knows how to optimise their servers and help you with traffic levels.