Four top web hosting hacks to boost SEO

Your web
host
has a major influence on SEO. Speed, or how quickly your
website loads is the most important factor. When a user arrives at
your website it needs to respond quickly – it feels more natural
and it’s what we all expect these days, no one likes waiting for
anything anymore! 

There are several factors at play here, so let’s look at the
key factors that can up your site’s SEO…  

Bandwidth

The bandwidth available to your website to broadcast and the
capacity available to you when viewing – only the former is
relevant here as the search engine crawlers generally run from the
fastest networks around they still ‘see’ your site very quickly
if the sites available bandwidth is good enough. But, if you have
built your website with a mass of inappropriately large images and
videos this will also slow the site down and impede user (and
search crawler) experience, thus impacting negatively on the
site. 

The sweet spot therefore is a fast host with plenty of bandwidth
and a well optimised website in terms of all the content
therein. 

woman reading on computer

Uptime

Uptime is the amount of time your website is active for people
to view and visit it. Poor uptime creates an adverse experience for
your users and thus reduces the ‘value’ of the site in the
search algorithms matrix. Furthermore, if your website were down at
the time the search engines were crawling your website this can be
extremely bad. 

So, hosts with poor uptime performance should be avoided at all
costs. There are a number of ways you can find out how good your
potential host is from online data sources and third-party
monitoring.

Cost

It is likely (but not a rule) that the lower the price of the
hosting you are using the worse it will be. Why? The lower the cost
the less bandwidth you will be allocated, and more likely the lower
quality hardware you will be placed on. 

Hardware with many processor cores, solid state hard drives and
10GB networking will outperform single processor, spinning disk,
1GB network systems by orders of magnitude on a number of different
levels.

IaaS

Network

The network your website is being broadcast from can be a huge
factor in either improving all the previous points or even
undermining the good ones! If you have a fast server which has
great uptime, but the network is in the outer reaches of the
Antarctic with very few routes to anywhere else, the impact will
again be speed performance.

Finding the best web host

To find the best web host possible for your site you should look
for a host with the following combination:

1. A very fast network located on or near major points of
presence (in the UK these include London and Manchester), and with
the ISP having negotiated priority routing (known as Tier 1
routing). 

2. Excellent hardware based on multi-core and even multi-machine
hardware with RAID (5,6 or 10) arrays, based on solid state hard
drives, and redundancy capability to mitigate hardware failure and
downtime. Note: wherever possible make sure you grab a backup of
your website and associated data regularly (but do bear in mind the
new GDPR rules).

3. CDN (Content Delivery Networks) and distribution of load
points for common libraries such as JQuery can also dramatically
improve load time performance, reduce bandwidth requirements from
your main host and thus improve user experience and load times.
CDNs are a way of co-locating your image and video (generally)
content such that it takes the load of your main host. Your website
html and operational code remains on your hosting server along with
Database (another massive area of consideration – more on this,
below), and consequently transactional information. The images and
videos are placed on a distributed network of hosting usually
designed to deliver more ‘locally’ to the user. So, my website
may be hosted in the UK but the images and videos can be loaded
more locally for users in Australia and the US for example, as such
massively improving latency and the feel of the website for those
users.

Best cloud databases

Databases

A word on databases; Most functional websites use databases,
let’s face it, if you just have a static site with minimal to no
updates it doesn’t matter how fast your website is it’s
unlikely to rank well. So, assuming you have a database, everything
we have discussed so far becomes doubled up. The same rules apply
– a very fast web host with poor database service will impede the
performance of your website. 

The size and scale of your database needs to be considered here.
Most larger scale sites need separate and dedicated hardware for
their databases, keeping the site and database on the same hosting
server both increases risk, and in many cases reduces overall
performance.

It goes without saying at this point that a well-designed
website with a good codebase and well-engineered database
architecture are also key factors. 

Improving SEO performance

To summarise, fast hosting, well linked by the underlying IPs
(Internet Protocol addresses), especially with a number of high
performing sites, boost each other’s potential. Whereas bulk,
(cheap) relatively slow hosting by an ISP with masses of
low-quality sites will potentially adversely affect the SEO
performance of your website.

Now we’ve covered web hosting, for some more general tips on
boosting SEO, try the following: 

  • UX is key, is your site giving users a great experience? Are
    there call to actions? Is it easy to navigate? Users want to get
    their information and answers quickly and easily, so if your site
    is hard to use, they will go elsewhere.
  • Post regular, engaging content that relates to you and your
    business. Update your content regularly, don’t expect users to
    come to you if your content isn’t fresh and is more than six
    months old.
  • Use social media platforms to post links back to your
    site.
  • Use H tags for headings, generally use HTML5 well.
  • Optimise your alt tags on images. They must be relevant.
    Don’t have “getty10485795.png” for example – it means
    nothing to anyone.
  • Optimise your on page meta Add OG images making your pages
    sharable with supporting images.
  • While keywords are a bit out-dated now, it doesn’t hurt to
    add them and be sure to enrich your copy with them. However, the
    key words and phrases in your articles should match the page title
    and images as well as possible.
  • Use SEO tools to monitor and gain an understanding of how your
    site’s SEO is performing, then adapt where there is room for
    improvement. 
  • Optimise image size. The bigger the image, the longer the load
    time. They need to be good quality but not too large, in terms of
    file size. 

Marc Woodhead, Founder and CEO of Holograph

Source: FS – All Tech News 2
Four top web hosting hacks to boost SEO