I’ve been a regular reader of Tom’s Guide for a long time now, but I mostly read the site for its content related to graphics cards and building PCs. So I was surprised but also excited to see an article on their today about SEO and specifically about the role your hosting provider plays.
While backlinks and content quality are likely the most important factors when it comes to ranking well in search engines, people often overlook the important role that your hosting provider plays:
Google considers several load times when measuring a site’s efficiency, and these load times are all affected by your choice of web hosting company. For example, DNS lookups occur every time software has to translate a domain name into an IP address. If your web host processes these DNS lookups slowly, it will take the web browser longer to find the correct server to request content from.(Source – Tom’s Guide)
When I first started my blog I learned this the hard way. I decided to pick the cheapest hosting company I could find, the result was slow load times and random outages. That was over ten years ago so Google didn’t factor page load time into their ranking algorithms like they do today, now this is an important factor, which makes sense since it’s directly related to a user’s experience on your site.
Google has indicated site speed (and as a result, page speed) is one of the signals used by its algorithm to rank pages. And research has shown that Google might be specifically measuring time to first byte as when it considers page speed. In addition, a slow page speed means that search engines can crawl fewer pages using their allocated crawl budget, and this could negatively affect your indexation.(Source – Moz)
I’m also a big fan of managed hosting services because they do all the work behind-the-scenes to make sure everything keeps running smoothly. I’ve been using WPEngine.com for years and can’t recommend them enough, they rock.
So if you’re using free hosting for a site or went with the cheapest option you could find, know that it could be hurting your SEO. Luckily there are a lot of great options out there so it’s easy to find something that’s both cost-effective and fast. You can check your page load speed for free here – https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
Funny enough, after writing this article I checked my page load speed and it looks like I’ve got some funky plugins installed that are slowing down my site so it looks like I’ve got some room for improvement here!