March 8, 2010

Does Your Web Host Affect Your SEO/PageRank?


Hostway Team

By Monique Martin

Choosing the right Web host is critical to the success of your Web site. Uptime and reliability are two of the most important factors any small business owner should consider when looking for a host. And now, with the latest buzz from Google about site speed becoming a factor in search engine optimization (SEO), people are taking a closer look at what role Web hosts play in site speed and overall SEO and PageRank.

Site speed is the new IT “It” factor

Google recently tested their new Caffeine search infrastructure. With a name like Caffeine, you can be sure speed matters. In a recent interview, Google programmer Matt Cutts let it spill that speed will indeed be a factor in future PageRank algorithms. And, it makes sense. Sites that load quickly provide a better customer experience and should be rewarded in the rankings. There’s no release date for site speed to be included in the search ranking algorithm, but look for Yahoo!, Bing and the rest to follow suit shortly after it goes live.

Web Hosts and PageRank

Web hosting plays a minor role in the grand scheme of PageRank and SEO. Some hosts offer additional features as part of their hosting packages like business directory submissions and other integrated marketing tools that can help your site inch up in the rankings.

When it comes to site speed, your Web host can play a part. The information superhighway acts a lot like a real highway. Traffic builds up, and you slow down. However, if your Web host has multiple connections to the Internet backbone, they can reroute you to a less crowded connection.

Also, if they have access to a cloud infrastructure, the highway is never too crowded. The cloud servers simply add processing capacity as traffic builds. Cloud infrastructures allow Web hosts to keep your traffic flowing and your site speed up. But in the end, your Web host is just one of many factors that affect PageRank and site speed.

What You Can Do about Site Speed

The most significant factors that affect site speed, and soon your PageRank, are things that you control. The way you’ve designed your site, image size, too many tables, JavaScript and lack of compression are just a few of the things that can drastically affect your site speed.

Happily, there are several tools out there that can help you get a handle on site speed and work to increase it. In fact, Google has put together a suite speed-related of resources dedicated to helping you increase your site speed including Closure Compiler, a tool that will help your JavaScript download and run faster.

The time to tackle your site speed is now. Don’t get left behind when Google and the other search engines start to reward and penalize based on speed. See what your Web host has to offer and, most importantly, streamline your Web site. The need for speed is now.

About the Author

Monique Martin served as Chief Operating Officer for a successful online insurance marketing firm for five years.

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