The algorithms of Google, Bing and other search engines take quite a lot of factors into consideration as they calculate where to rank web pages in search results. Some of the criteria that they use look at factors that are directly attributable to your choice of hosting package. Knowing what these are and how they impact your ranking can help you to improve your site’s ability to rank higher. Here, we’ll look at some of the main ways hosting affects website ranking.
A site’s ability to load new pages quickly has become an increasingly important ranking criteria for search engines. The primary reason for this is the rise in mobile searches. Over the last few years, we have seen incredible growth in the number of people who own smartphones. According to Statista, global ownership will rise to 4.68 billion in 2019 and they are owned by 95% of UK households.
The growth in smartphones has also led to a significant increase in mobile web surfing. In the UK, we now spend twice as long online on a phone than we do on computers. Understandably, search engines have recognised that in order to provide the best service they can to their users, they need to focus much more on mobile surfing.
One of the big issues with mobile surfing is that much of it is done when people are away from their homes. As such, they are not connected using high-speed broadband; instead, they are jumping between 3G and 4G network coverage and hopping on the back of low-quality, public wi-fi hot-spots. This makes pages load slower and can produce a less than satisfactory user experience – something the search engines are keen to avoid.
As search engines have little influence over the connectivity infrastructure, they are putting the pressure on website owners to make the difference. Their stance is this: if you are to rank higher, your website will need to load quickly, not just on computers connected to the home broadband but on mobile phones using public connections.
While this can be partially done by compressing data, optimising images and using things like content delivery networks, a significant role in how quickly your website loads is played by your hosting.
A number of things can help you improve page loading times, such as opting for a package with SSD hard drives, which are blisteringly fast when compared to older HDD drives. Upgrading from shared to VPS or dedicated servers also helps because it guarantees you dedicated resources. With shared hosting, other websites can hog the resources of the server, slowing your loading times down. In addition, choosing a package that offers better port speeds, processing power and memory will also improve speed.
If search engines are to offer their users the best services, it is in their interests to display results that link to reliable websites. The last thing they want is to send people to a site that’s offline. For this reason, they keep a close eye on website uptime and use it as a ranking factor.
Sites can go offline for numerous reasons, such as when you install versions of your software (e.g. WordPress updates) or put your site into maintenance mode. However, your hosting can also be responsible for taking you offline. Issues can include server maintenance, server failure, poor allocation of resources, badly managed hosting, etc.
To rank well, you need a hosting provider and a hosting package that assures reliable uptime. For shared hosting, look for packages that offer at least 99.95% guaranteed uptime. For VPS, the figure should be around 99.99%. For dedicated servers and cloud hosting, there should be 100% availability.
As readers will no doubt be aware, browsers now indicate via the use of a green padlock, whether a website is secure or not. Again, just as they would not want to send a user to a slow or offline website, nor would they want to send them to a site which is not secure. The more secure your website, therefore, the higher you will rank.
Your hosting provider can play an important role in keeping your website secure and does so in a number of ways. An SSL certificate enables you to trade safely online as it encrypts the customers’ financial details during transactions; firewalls, intrusion prevention and email filtering prevent hacking, malware and phishing; and remote backups ensure that if your site and data are lost, they can be restored quickly. All these security essentials should be offered by the hosting provider you choose.
Site speed, reliability and security are three key ranking factors used by search engines. Your choice of hosting package and hosting provider can have a significant impact on how your website performs in all these three areas and, as such, can help it to rank higher in search engine results.
If you are looking to upgrade your hosting package or move to a host with a track record in providing secure, high-performing and reliable hosting, visit our homepage to see our wide range of hosting solutions.