The Chicken Or The Egg: Does Great Hosting or Great SEO Come First?

Published June 26th, 2014 by Michael Farin

Sometimes, you have to get your priorities straight.

In order to improve your search engine rankings, you need genuinely great content, superior site performance and extreme speed. (Google is way too smart for all that keyword stuffing now.) But how do you get there?

Mainly, you have to know where to start.

The truth is, web hosting does affect SEO. If you pick a great web host, you’ll reap benefits – both directly and indirectly – that lead to higher search engine rankings. More site visitors = more conversions = higher ROI. And who doesn’t want that?

A great web host will create a great platform for speed, security and performance: 24/7 technical support, frequent backups and state-of-the-art firewalls. They’ll optimize for speed, hosting only a limited number of sites on any given shared server. Ideally, they’ll house their servers in world-class data centers for an extra layer of protection.

Most importantly, a great hosting company will provide nonstop management for your backend: troubleshooting and solving problems before you’re even aware there was an issue.

How does great hosting contribute to better SEO, exactly? Read on.

Uptime drives search rankings up

When your server is down, search engines are unable to access it – meaning, of course, that you won’t appear in rankings. Your bounce rate increases dramatically, too. (Not a good thing.) Over time, the less reliable your server is, the lower you drop in search engine rankings.

Pick a hosting company with a commitment to uptime, all the time. (Hint: cheap hosting providers usually have a LOT of downtime, so stay away from them.) Anything that negatively affects your website’s performance will also have a negative effect on your SEO.

Page load times influence bounce rates

The typical website visitor has a short attention span. If a page doesn’t load in 2 seconds, they go elsewhere. (The average website takes about 7.25 seconds to load, which is downright scary.) You can use handy online tools like Google Page Speed Tool, Pingdom and GT Metrix to measure your page load speeds.

The longer your site takes to load, the greater your bounce rate will be. (This doesn’t help your search engine rankings, to put it mildly.) The more visitors bounce, the lower your conversion rates will be. So you’ve missed out not just on SERPS, but on ROI.

Enough acronyms for you?

We can’t stress this fact enough – pick a reputable web host that prioritizes speed and performance. Cheap web hosts like GoDaddy and HostGator crowd hundreds of sites onto a single server, compromising on performance in order to make a few extra bucks. Don’t settle for “el cheapo” web hosting. If you’re in the market for shared hosting, shop around until you find a company that allocates only a few sites per server. When you have more server space, you have a faster website.

And that means higher search engine rankings and more conversions.

It’s all one great big circle, like the circle of life.

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