Can the Webhost You Choose Affect Your Search Engine Rankings?

Hosting and SEO

Imagine I told you that a particular room was full of registered Republicans while another room was full of registered Democrats. Then, without indicating which rooms held which, I said, “One of these rooms is also full of religious nuts while the other is full of tree-hugging hippies.”

Based on that information, I’d bet good money you assumed one room is full of spiritually-minded Republicans and the other environmentally-sound Democrats. You probably thought that despite the fact that there are lots of environmentally-sound Republicans and spiritually-minded Democrats. Even so, the power of association is strong enough to instantly place presumptions in your mind about the kind of people who are in each room.

There are a lot of well-respected people in the search-marketing industry who believe that search engines use similar associations to judge websites. While the evidence is largely anecdotal, there does seem to be indications that how you host your website can and does affect your search engine rankings.

Shared Hosting
A prominent theory regarding webhosts is that shared hosting potentially results in your website being negatively impacted or even blacklisted if there are some bad apples among good ones. Because one webserver can host many websites, it’s very easy for anyone — search engines included — to see which websites share an IP address. If one or several websites that share an IP address are considered “bad” by the search engines, it’s possible that your site will take a hit simply because of the company it keeps.

While this theory may or may not be true, it requires very little effort to get a dedicated IP address from your webhost, thereby eliminating the association with all other sites that are sharing the same server as well as any possible negative impacts of shared hosting. When possible, hosting your site on a dedicated server is considered the preferred solution but not necessarily required.

Server Quality
What kind of hardware powers your webhost’s webservers? Outdated or poorly maintained hardware could mean dropped packets, inconsistent reliability, more down time, and slow-loading webpages; all of which have a potential impact on search rankings.

In fact, slow load times impacting search rankings are not theory, but something Google has come right out and confirmed. This is another reason to use a dedicated webserver whenever possible. Shared hosting can mean sharing bandwidth and other server resources — often with hundreds of other websites.

The reality is that your choice of webhost does have an effect on your website’s performance, which in turn may influence its search engine rankings. So choose carefully both the webhost you do business with and whether or not you can afford to take the possible negative hit in rankings if you go with a shared hosting solution.

In the hosting world, the bigger the company doesn’t necessarily mean the better the service. Make sure you do your research to prevent running into complicated issues further down the line.

About the Author:
Kevin W. Phelps is a search marketing professional that started GuestBlogPoster.com – a popular guest posting service that focuses on building company’s reputations, links and potential partnerships. To get in touch with Kevin, find him at Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

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About Jake Neeley

Jake Neeley is a content marketing and social media geek who loves reading, outdoor sports (especially those in Utah mountains), and time with his family. Connect with Jake on Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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