Hosting considerations have always been a key concern for serious SEOs as several factors are known as search signals in Googles ranking algorithm. Hosting affects everything from how spiders see your site (down time) to how humans see your site (response time) and ultimately how search engines understand your site.
The impact of physical location
Physical server location has traditionally played a leading role in geo-targeting and it can have a big impact on international rankings. To put it another way, websites hosted in the UK perform better in UK search results, while websites hosted in the US perform better in US search results.
Theres a logic behind search engines giving locally hosted websites an algorithmic lift, but its proved an expensive headache for publishers. One solution is to build country-specific sites (hosted locally on local domains) and it works, but its an unwieldy approach and a drain on resources.
Cloud hosting and geo-targeting
Googles getting smarter and there are now effective ways to target international traffic with a single domain, but a single domain means a single server location and that means sites may struggle to rank overseas. But what happens if you move your hosting into the cloud?
Cloud hosting uses a network of global servers, so cloud-based sites wont have a strict geographic footprint, but thats not the same as having a footprint in the wrong place. While Googles keeping quiet on the impact that cloud hosting has on local rankings, the consensus is that it has little or no effect, and cloud hosting brings with it a host of additional SEO benefits.
Google stays ahead of the competition by serving-up the best search results and you can help them by demonstrating speed, security and reliability. Switching to the cloud is a smart move, it shows that youre taking hosting seriously, and youll be rewarded with better rankings. Its one of the reasons we cloud hosting for our clients, and weve worked hard to earn our status as a certified Microsoft Silver Partner with in-house Microsoft Azure experts.
SEO benefits of cloud hosting
SpeedLoad time is an increasingly important ranking factor thats forcing websites to become more performant. Recent Google figures show that bounce rate increases by 90% as page load time increases from 1-5 seconds. Cloud hosting spreads load, greatly speeding-up delivery, and making sure that your site doesnt get left behind.
Security Cloud hosting providers take security seriously and better protection from hackers, scrapers and malicious bots means youre less likely to get penalised in the results.
ReliabilityUptime is understandably important in SEO as sites cant be crawled if they go down, which rarely happens in the cloud. Remember that search spiders are busy bots and they wont hesitate to go away if they cant access your site and they wont be back in a hurry.
ScalabilityCloud hosting operates on a PAYG model (or rather a Pay As You Consume) so it flexes to meet demand in real time. As a result, it provides a great UX at peak periods when other hosting might fail (and we should know as were used to temporarily scaling up for phenomenal Black Friday demand). It also makes cloud hosting surprisingly affordable as you arent paying for rack space that isnt being used.
Search engine marketing professionals are paid to sweat the small stuff and because cloud hosting is such a big deal Ridgeway recommends that you head for the cloud and give your rankings a lift. As a Microsoft Silver Partner, Kentico Gold Partner and Kentico Quality Expert, the vast majority of our clients enjoy the benefits of Kenticos all in one CMS, marketing and ecommerce solution combined with the speed and flexibility of Microsoft Azure hosting.
The original article was posted here.
Nick Maynard is the SEO performance specialist at Ridgeway.
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