A common question we face is: ‘How can VPS Hosting help improve my SEO?
Depending on how much you’ve thought about it; it may be an obvious question, or it may have completely blindsided you.
To make things nice and easy we’re going to take a look at how Virtual Private Server Hosting helps so that you can finally see the SEO gains you’ve been hoping for.
Why Would a Hosting Provider Impact SEO in the First Place?
It’s certainly the case that search engines will favor certain hosting providers when it comes to SEO. There are a number of reasons for this which we’ll come to shortly, but first, we want to understand why it would be this way, to begin with…
SEO is all about allowing search engines to point you in the direction of the most useful or applicable high-quality content possible. Clearly, if you’re hosting your site on an old virtual server with out-dated equipment which takes an age to load, browsers will be less inclined to want to see it. The same can be said for servers which are known to have lots of backdoors and security loopholes that can be exploited by malicious third parties. Again, it is common sense why this would impact your SEO.
In short, anything that will detract from the quality of the user experience factors into your site’s SEO. The reason being that search engines have reputations of their own that they need to protect and if possible enhance. They are keen to point you in the direction of the highest quality relevant content, which means SEO is about far more than embedding links and keywords.
It Pays to Keep Things Fast When it Comes to Your VPS
The phrase ‘time is of the essence’ has never been truer than when you apply it to the complex world of SEO. Here are some of the ways, in which speed can limit your SEO advantage:
- Your page takes too long to load which means visitors become frustrated and leave
- You receive less repeat traffic because the loading speed of your pages are inconsistent
- Your competitors consistently load faster, so users go elsewhere and not return
The last one is particularly prescient because it tells us that even if your SEO is good enough for you to number one, it won’t stay that way for long. If users find you and become frustrated and leave, they’re unlikely ever to return if they discover something better seconds later.
While the speed of your VPS is important for SEO, do not expect it to send you to the top of the rankings. There are multiple factors which determine the speed your page will load:
- The speed of your VPS
- The performance of the platform on which you host
- The bandwidth of a browser’s internet connection
Clearly, you can’t do anything about the last one, but the first two are very much within your control. The platform on which your site resides should be selected with speed in mind, and that’s a straightforward thing to take care of. The speed of your VPS is the foundation on which loading time is determined. That means, that while you may go to great efforts with the design of your site if you choose the wrong VPS, you’ll be facing severe challenges from the start.
Reliability Matters to Google as Well as Your Customers
When you want to be able to access a website there is only one thing more annoying than it taking an age to load: it not loading at all.
We’ve all been there, trying to access our online banking or shopping only for the site to inexplicably go down. A website that is unreliable and never seems to go a weekend without being taken offline not only loses you, customers, but it can also devastate your SEO.
That may sound like an overreaction from the likes of Google and Yahoo but think about it for a moment. We said earlier, “they have reputations forged by directing you to the highest quality and relevant content available.” If they continue to send you to sites which are hit or miss when it comes to their reliability, that will impact their reputation too.
For this reason, Google et al. go to great lengths to quantify the downtime of the various VPS Hosting services out there. If you want to be able to maximize the impact of your SEO on your brand, then look for a provider which takes downtime seriously.
Sadly there are a few out there who do not care all that much whether they fall below 99% uptime because to them its ‘good enough’. If you want to think about it the right way, then consider the impact on your business if your competitors have near-zero downtime. Their businesses will grow faster than yours, and before you know it, you’ll be struggling to compete.
Why Security Has Never Been More Important for SEO
You may think that it’s a little harsh to reduce rankings based on security. Think about it though: if you were Google would you direct people to anything other than the safest sites out there?
The key to keeping your site secure is to host it on the safest VPS that you can find. That may require a little research and legwork on your part, but it will lay the foundation for a secure and reliable online presence. If you cut corners and opt for a VPS that isn’t as secure as it should be, then you’ll be much more vulnerable to various cyber attacks.
Bear in mind that Google doesn’t sit back and wait to hear about sites that have been compromised before downgrading their SEO rating. They deploy pieces of software and algorithms known as Spiders which crawl around the web testing site security. The problem with this from a security point of view is that they’re not the only ones who know how to do it…
Malicious third parties now have the technical ability to create spiders that identify and then exploit weak points in your site’s security. Once a gap is found to crawl through, they will instantly establish themselves on your website. From there they can use it as a base from which to send spam to all of your contacts and add parasitic links. They can even automatically redirect your browsers to another completely unrelated site without them even realizing what’s going on.
Not only will this damage your SEO ranking overnight, but it could also lose you a lot of customers in a relatively short space of time.
Managed Hosting Can Make all the Difference to Your SEO
The final thing that you need to bear in mind is whether you opt for a managed host or not. The trick is to always choose for a fully managed VPS, even though this will typically cost more.
There are plenty of things you won’t want to do when you’re trying to grow your business that a managed host will take care of:
- Firewall updates
- Software configuration
- Resolving unexpected downtime
- Scheduled general maintenance
All of these things will impact your SEO because they directly feed into the quality of the user experience. If your site is not secured against the latest viruses and Trojan Horses, then search engines will inevitably downgrade its ranking.
The same can be said with software configurations after updates and scheduled maintenance. If certain browsers struggle to fully support your site after you have updated something upstream on the VPS, then the user experience will suffer.
The thing to remember here is that users aren’t sentimental about websites, all they want is instant connectivity and information. If you decide to try and save a few pennies by managing the VPS yourself, then your SEO will suffer as a result. What started off as pure economy will turn into a headache that takes a lot more time and money to resolve. Ultimately you’ll probably end up opting for a slightly more expensive managed service, by which time your competitors will have overtaken you.
Anything Else I Should Know?
The most important thing to remember about this topic is that you need to put yourself in the mind of the search engines. They have reputations of their own, so they’re not in the business of putting unreliable, slow, and poorly secured sites at the top of their rankings.
While there are plenty of ways to enhance all of these things, no one approach can compensate for the wrong choice of VPS. By taking the time to research every aspect of your prospective VPS, you’ll be able to make the right decision for your business from day one.
Do that, and you’ll be able to keep existing customers happy while attracting plenty of new eyes thanks to your improved SEO. Ideal for getting the increased levels of traffic that your hard work deserves.