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SEO and Hosting: 8 Questions Answered by Experts

When you’re building or relaunching your site, decisions around hosting can feel overwhelming, especially when you’re trying to optimize your SEO. Below are eight common hosting questions answered by SEO experts that help you make decisions as you build or revamp your site.

Does CDN Affect SEO?

Content Delivery Networks are strategically positioned edge servers. They store your website’s assets and deliver them to site visitors closest to the CDNs. When a user accesses your site from across the globe, they request your site from a CDN near them. As a result, your data has a shorter distance to travel, reducing latency and packet loss, boosting your SEO efforts.

Speed is a ranking factor for SEO. The faster your site loads, the better for you and your users. CDNs can drastically increase your site’s load speed, providing a better experience for users and earning better rankings with Google. CDNs deliver your site’s assets fast, positively affecting your SEO.

A CDN will also index your images more quickly in the SERPs. Image optimization is often overlooked when formulating an SEO strategy. But optimizing your images creates a better user experience, faster load times, and ranking opportunities.

CDNs aren’t the magic bullet. Utilizing a CDN won’t fix all your SEO issues, but a CDN will reduce load times. Fast load speeds keep users on your site, building upon your SEO efforts and increasing conversions.

Does Changing Hosting Affect SEO?

You might want to move to a new web host for a variety of reasons: financial, service, or simply because you want a change. If you’re not careful about selecting your new host, you might find that changing your hosting can have negative effects on your SEO. But when you choose the right host, making the transition will, in time, yield noticeable benefits for your SEO.

As you shop for new website hosts, make sure they meet all your SEO requirements. Check their server’s technical specification and the server bandwidth; ensure they provide good technical support and documentation; ensure they have low downtime so your site isn’t inaccessible –– and losing traffic ––for an extended period of time.

Putting your site migration in the hands of an expert web design firm ensures the move won’t negatively affect your SEO. An experienced firm will implement a transition plan that preserves all the work you’ve put into your SEO efforts and builds upon that work to boost future SEO.

Does Domain Forwarding Affect SEO?

Domain forwarding redirects your domain’s visitors to a different location on the internet. This is common practice when you’ve moved sites or when you consolidate multiple sites to a new location. It’s a genius way to ensure everyone trying to find you can locate your site even if they misspell or abbreviate your URL. But at the end of the day, does domain forwarding affect SEO?

Google wants your site to have unique and helpful content. If you have multiple domain names with identical content, there is a higher risk you’re going to be penalized, and you’ll lose rankings. But if done well, domain forwarding can drive the right kind of traffic to your pages and boost your SEO.

When you forward domains, use the correct redirects. 301 and 302 redirects either permanently or temporarily, respectively, send your site visitors to the new address. Knowing when and how to use these redirects preserves your page rank and authority while sending users where you want them to go.

One note: if you are buying expired domains and redirecting them in, this can cause SEO issues.

Does Domain Masking Affect SEO?

Domain masking accomplishes some of the same goals as domain forwarding, but it offers additional options for site owners. When you mask your domain, you redirect users to a new URL destination. However, unlike in domain forwarding, domain masking keeps the original URL in the address bar even after the user has been redirected to a new site. This technique “masks” the destination URL, hiding it from the user.

As with domain forwarding, domain masking has the potential to negatively affect your SEO. The most notable risk is having multiple pages with duplicate content. When Google crawls identical content, it can’t determine which page has authority. As a result, those pages lose rankings. But if done correctly, you can effectively execute domain masking with no impact on your SEO.

Like in domain forwarding, you must utilize the appropriate redirects when domain masking. Choosing a 301 or 302 redirect, as mentioned above, brings users and Google alike to the pages you want without jeopardizing your current page rankings and organic traffic.

Does IP Address Affect SEO?

Your IP address is simply a string of numbers that identify a server. Every site is hosted on a server, and your IP address notes the server hosting your site.

Generally, your IP address will not affect your SEO as far as the ranking and organic traffic is concerned. However, local search is one area where your IP address might affect your SEO efforts. IP addresses are associated with a specific location, and search engines use them as a guide to determine how to rank you in local search. Note that your IP address isn’t the only determining factor in local SEO. Your content and other site elements signal to crawlers the locations relevant to your site.

Regardless of your motivation, you can confidently change your IP address without a significant impact on your SEO.

Does Server Location Affect SEO?

In short, absolutely. Your server location affects your SEO. Understanding how helps you make decisions that increase your traffic and your revenue.

Site speed is a primary ranking factor for Google. The faster your site loads, the better your user experience, which affects how Google ranks your website. Your server location directly affects your site speed, which is why choosing your host is so crucial to your SEO.

Your server’s location plays a significant role in how quickly your site loads and how visitors navigate your pages. The closer a site visitor is to your server, the faster your site will load for them. That’s why server location is especially important for local SEO. If your target demographic is local traffic, choose to host on a server geographically near your ideal user. This ensures the majority of your visitors enjoy quick load times and simple navigation that keeps them on your site.

Does Shared Hosting Affect SEO?

For years, site owners prioritized hosting on a dedicated server. Many SEO experts assumed sharing a server reduced site speed. They were also concerned that if their site shared a server with low quality or even malicious websites, they would be penalized. However, today we know that’s not the case. Google clearly dispels these myths and gives site owners the OK to host on a shared server.

In fact, shared hosting brings many benefits to your operations. Hosting on a shared server is less expensive than dedicated hosting. Plus, shared servers give you greater flexibility and require less maintenance. For many businesses, shared hosting is the more simple, more effective means of hosting a site.

Many different factors shape your SEO, but shared hosting isn’t one of them. Google looks at your site and your SEO when determining how to rank it. Other sites on your server have no influence on how Google views yours.

One note: if your shared hosting is not well maintained and makes your website slow, this couple have an impact on your rankings.

Does SSL Certificate Affect SEO?

Back in 2014, Google announced that HTTPS would be a ranking signal for websites. And for sites to have HTTPS, they must install a Secure Socket Layer. SSL ensures data between the server and browser stays secure, preventing hackers from decrypting data even if they intercept it.

SSL is ideal for businesses requiring sensitive information from their online customers. But is it necessary for optimal SEO performance? Overall, your SSL certificate won’t provide noticeable results for your SEO. In multiple studies, SSL certificates correlated only marginally to higher rankings. Even then, other factors proved much more significant to SEO efforts.

While purchasing SSL certificates for your site could be a wise decision –– especially if you handle sensitive data –– it’s not necessary or even helpful for some sites and their SEO. Instead of spending your resources on SSL, invest your time and money into SEO optimization that will help you come out on top.

Conclusion

As you consider hosting options, you should always consider how your decisions will affect your SEO. With so many choices to make, hosting might feel overwhelming, especially when added to the list of daily, weekly, and monthly tasks you have as a business owner.

Linchpin SEO has nearly two decades of experience helping businesses like yours thrive online. Contact our team today, so we can handle your hosting concerns while crafting an SEO strategy that will measurably increase your traffic and your revenue.