There are 5 ways your web host can help or hurt you in the search engines:
- Down Time: If a website goes down for a significant amount of time, so can your rankings. Search engines are constantly visiting the website’s they have ranked to look for changes, find new pages, and verify the site is still active. When they find that a certain site is frequently down or has been down for a few days, they may either drop its rankings or remove it entirely from their listings. So, the server your website is on needs to consistently be up.
- Speed: If visitors have to wait more than 5 or 6 seconds for a page to load, most will leave before the page has loaded. In addition, the search engines know this and so they don’t want to rank sites that don’t load quickly. Slow servers cause slow sites which can cause you to lose both visitors and rankings.
- Access: There are several SEO techniques that require access to your site’s internal files. If your web host does not give you that access, then you will be limited in what you can do. You may not be able to properly track traffic, move pages, or other techniques which can seriously affect how your website ranks.
- Location: Location can effect your rankings in two ways. Servers located on the other side of the globe will inherently be slower simply due to the distance the information has to travel. Remember, seconds make a difference. Also, the search engines tend to favor sites hosted on servers located in the country they are targeting.
- Your Neighborhood: In your town, there are probably some establishments that are considered disreputable. If you start your organization right around them, people will be less inclined to send their friends to you because you’re in a bad neighborhood. Well, the same can be true online. Certain types of websites, gambling sites, porn, sites with illegal content, and spammy sites are some of the disreputable types of sites. If your website is hosted on a server with a bunch of those types of sites, sometimes your site get’s penalized for being in a bad neighborhood. So, it’s important to know that your site is hosted on a server that has other good sites and none of the riff-raff.
Most people who try to rank well in the search engines focus on what they can do on their website or how they can get people to link to them. Many don’t realize that with all the work they are doing, they basically have an anchor around their waist. A web host whose unreliability, location, and/or disreputable hosting partners are weighing them down and keeping them from ranking well.