Marketers and bloggers need to be aware of the interconnection of website hosting and SEO. The correlation of strong website hosting and SEO is many times overlooked and even I’m at fault of this oversight.
Or I was at fault. I was reminded of it this month when I moved a website from one hosting company to another.
In late 2015 Liquid Web announced the release of their managed WordPress hosting offering. I’ve been following Liquid Web and their movement in WordPress because they are based in my home state of Michigan and because they offer technical support that far exceeds that of other hosting companies.
While I’ve been watching them and rooting for them, I had not yet tried their WordPress hosting. Well that changed this month when I moved SEObootcamp.com from WP Engine to Liquid Web. I needed to give their hosting a try and our SEO Bootcamp website was the perfect website to test.
After signing up for Liquid Web’s hosting, I was quickly given a number of getting started emails to help onboard me in a quick and efficient manner. It worked and the process was pretty darn painless.
As part of my hosting package, I was also given a free SSL certificate to apply to the website. I needed this, so I was eager to accept this bonus offering.
We migrated the website, set up the SSL, and updated our DNS. We had one minor snag along the way, but the Liquid Web support team took care of it quickly. They certainly lived up to their heroic support claims.
As soon as I pulled up the website, I knew the DNS propagation was complete and the website was now live on Liquid Web’s managed WordPress hosting service.
How did I know? I could tell the site was faster. A lot faster.
The website wasn’t technically slow before and WP Engine did had solid performance, but the move to Liquid Web was apparent on the first page load. I could tell and I knew others would as well.
I wanted to check the performance in a third party tool just to make sure I wasn’t making this all up in my head. It wasn’t just a figment of imagination and the data below illustrates the change.
Here is an interesting piece of data: within just a few days I noticed a change in the organic SEO ranking of SEO Bootcamp’s website. A shift from the bottom of page one on Google to number three position for one term alone. The only thing that had changed was the website host and SSL certificate.
That might not seem like a big shift, but when you consider the domain is brand new and we are just starting to build the ranking for it, five or some positions is actually a major improvement.
For me this was a huge reminder of the importance of website performance and speed. I knew website hosting and SEO were correlated, but I had forgotten just how much strong website performance could help SEO efforts.
Site speed is part of Google’s algorithm, which means it is one of the factors that will determine where you rank in Google. While site speed hasn’t historically been a high ranking factor, this is changing and the importance of fast websites is a growing concern to Google and other search engines.
A slow website has a negative effect on a human visitor and it will create technical challenges for search engines.
Let’s start with humans and real live website visitors:
A fast website will help produce a positive user experience because the website visitor can view and process content quickly. Research shows the slower the website, the less happy the user is, the fewer chances there is that they will stay on the website.
Now let’s look at how website performance makes search engines happy:
A slow website will also result in a slower crawling rate, which means Google and Bing will be forced to index pages on your site at a slower rate. In other words, new content like pages and posts will take longer to show up in the search results.
The search engines know fast websites are good for them and their users, so they give priority and better ranking to high performing websites. If your website or blog is turtle slow, fix this before working on SEO. It’s really that importance.
There are a variety of tools available to check your website speed. I’m a fan of Pingdom and used it for the above test. But Pingdom is only one tool and there are many tools you can utilize.
Here are a few options you can use to test the speed of your website or blog:
If you’ve checked your website performance and it is below par, now is the time to take action. Google is already focused on performance and speed and this will only continue to grow as Google moves to a mobile first mentality. That day is not just coming, it is already right around the corner.
Remember that you get what you pay for and website hosting applies to this old saying. You will not have strong website hosting and SEO if you are paying $5 per month. High quality managed WordPress hosting will cost much more than the regular shared hosting account, but it will be worth it ten times over.
Head on over to Liquid Web and check out their awesome WordPress hosting packages. Not only will you have excellent speed and performance, you’ll having an amazing team of technical support personnel to provide assistance when you need it.