Tips to Choose an SEO Friendly Website Hosting
So, you have decided to launch a website for your business. You do all the research and find the right website hosting solution. It is perfect, fits your budget, great bandwidth (unlimited), shared hosting, FTP access, the works.
You do your site and launch it and everything works great. Now you got to promote your website using SEO and suddenly you have major issues you never considered. Your SEO Services keeps telling you a variety of hurdles in executing critical edits for a successful campaign.
Below are some tips which will help you choose an SEO friendly website hosting plan.
Tip 1 – You need to have access to redirect URLs
Duplicate page issues are a core SEO problem for websites in their quest for success in Search Engines. Usually a website can be visible as http://www.sitename.com and also as http://sitename.com.
For you and your visitors this is not such a big deal, typing either will lead to the same page showing in your browser. Not so for search engines which treat each subdomain as a different website. In this case www is a subdomain of the main domain http://sitename.com.
So, each page for the visitor is 2 different pages for search engines, one with www and one without. Why is this bad for your website’s SEO?
Search engines value external links (links from another website) to a page highly when ranking them. As an example, let us suppose the following
- A page has 10 links from other websites.
- 5 links are to http://www.sitename.com/page1.html.
- 5 links are to http://sitename.com/page1.html.
For a search term “blue widgets”, the search engine chooses to rank a page from the website. It will choose the better of the two pages which it feels is relevant. But …
It will count the external links as 5 instead of 10.
This means the full value of the page is not reflected against the competition and it is harder to rank. This can only be resolved by choosing one URL (www or non-www) and redirecting the other to the chosen one. For this you need access to properly redirect URLs especially the permanent or 301 redirect. If you are on a shared hosting, again this can quickly become a very difficult problem.
Tip 2 – You need proper access to the root level of your website
In SEO you need a number of critical files added to your root folder. This includes adding files like robots.txt, sitemap.xml, verification files for various search engine tools and more. If you are using some proprietary platform for building the website which comes from your hosting providers fancy package offer, think again. Some restrict access to the root folder.
A number of websites have floundered in the search engines for not being able to add a simple file in the right location. This could be due to restrictions on the platform running as it runs multiple sites or for security reasons.
Tip 3 – Ability to generate User Friendly URLs that Search Engines Love
If your website is based on a Content Management System (CMS) or customized to generate URLs dynamically, then you have two important problems
- Your visitors can’t easily remember them
- Search engines find crawling and indexing them inefficient at best or in a worst case scenario, may not crawl and index your website at all.
The solution is to convert such complex URLs to simple user friendly ones. e.g. Convert a complex URL like http://www.sitename.com/product.php?&cat=17&typ=4&col=12 to a user friendly one http://www.sitename.com/square-widgets/blue-widget.html
This requires you to rewrite the URL using URL Rewriting features. This is usually unavailable on a shared hosting especially if the hosting web server is not Apache.
Tip 4 – Using shared website hosting? Check your neighborhood
Just like in your real world, a website is known by the company it keeps. If you are on a shared IP address which has spammy sites, this is a very real threat for your website’s success on Google or Bing. One bad site can lead to an IP block by the major search engines.
A useful tool to check the other sites hosted Domain Tools You will need to create an account there and they have free and paid options available.
If the sites you see are not good, then check if your provider will move you to a different shared IP. If not, it is better to switch to another hosting provider or get a dedicated hosting service where the IP address is exclusively yours.
As you can see choosing the right hosting solution is critical for your SEO success. This can make or break your website’s success to rank well and gain traffic through search engines. So, choose wisely.