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Will Hosting My Website in the Cloud Help or Hurt SEO?

Will Hosting My Website in the Cloud Help or Hurt SEO?
14 Nov 2016

The Technical Side of SEO: Website Hosting and Search Engine Rankings

Modern cloud solutions often offer economically effective, secure, and performance-driven solutions. While many businesses trust cloud setups for file storage and running certain applications, they may hesitate when it comes to cloud website hosting. In an increasingly competitive digital world, something as fundamental as website hosting can empower or weaken other SEO tactics. Top SEO ranking factors of 2016 include technical issues.

The Difference Between Cloud Hosting and Traditional Hosting

All digital information runs through physical servers somewhere. In managed/dedicated server environments, organizations pay for certain elements of control. They may pay for the exclusive use of one or a set of servers, in-house technical support, and the ability to choose operating systems, security installations, etc. In cloud hosting setups, the service providers manage accounts across a set of servers, moving resources to address information flows on an as-needed basis. Optimized resource allocation minimizes downtimes while maximizing website speeds.

Businesses that choose cloud hosting may not dictate operating systems, server security protocols, or other specifics of the arrangement, but they retain several advantages. Cloud hosting service providers are incentivized to provide strong security and reliability over time. Poor customer experiences can make or break the business. Cloud hosting scales more easily, and since it does not require onsite infrastructure or support, offers a more cost-effective experience.

Every business has different needs, but understanding these differences in hosting experiences serves as the foundation of a strong SEO campaign. Controlling the technical components of a website can enhance user experience and search-engine rankings.

SEO Considerations for Cloud Hosting Services

Great SEO strategies create layers of performance online. Each tactic builds upon another, and it all starts with your website. You can produce incredible content, optimize the metadata on each page for mobile search, and use great imagery, yet still suffer in rankings if users get frustrated dealing with long load times and other technical issues. The host you choose can affect SEO outcomes in the following ways:

  1. Cloud hosting environments can increase a website’s vulnerability to security threats. From malware to large DDOS denial of service attacks targeted at the hosting organization, businesses must vet service providers for security management. Every website hosting setup comes with security concerns. Work with businesses that focus on proactive cybersecurity management for peace of mind, earn the trust of site visitors, and avoid SEO penalties.
  1. Server location. For local search and broader search queries, the location of any dedicated or managed server matters. Google’s algorithm will try to match searches with the most relevant results based on a number of factors, including proximity to the searcher. In cloud-hosted environments, servers exist in multiple locations and countries. Cloud hosting can improve location relevancy to enhance SEO results.
  1. Uptime/speed. Cloud hosting almost always offers an advantage in terms of speed. Dedicated and managed server arrangements operate within a set of predefined limits that may affect a website’s ability to remain active and fast over time. Cloud hosting automatically directs website information to free space on an available server. Improving website load speeds is a fundamental SEO tactic, and cloud hosting helps.

Is One Type of Hosting Guaranteed to Perform Better than Another?

Every organization must consider its own website needs and constraints. For example, HIPAA, PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards), and other regulatory requirements may dictate information management within certain industries. From a pure SEO standpoint, cloud hosting solutions can provide significant value. From a holistic standpoint, the benefit lies directly with the vendor you choose. Some cloud hosts may provide a more secure, reliable, and scalable product than many managed providers in today’s growing cloud market. To enhance SEO practices and gain more from your website investment, look for vendors that:

  • Demonstrate strong security practices for your business’s needs (compliance, data privacy, disaster recovery, etc.).
  • Provide high-quality (i.e. responsive and technically proficient) support.
  • Connect prospects with existing customer references.

Website hosting is only a small component within the vast world of SEO. To truly gain a foothold in a competitive online world, invest in a strong foundation and ongoing SEO strategies focusing on quality content generation and earning inbound links. For better search engine results, partner with Zero Gravity Marketing.