Fast Hosting Becoming More Important Local SEO Factor

One of the biggest stories in SEO industry news lately has been that Google now gives websites that use secure socket layers (usually typed as ‘SSL’ – shorthand for a cryptography layer that makes the connection between a user and a website more secure) a bit of a boost.

Google made it clear that it isn’t a huge variable in their ranking algorithm, but it’s not all that expensive to apply, small things add up, it’s more important in some niches than others (it’s absolutely vital for any site that takes payment through their website) and
But while that has sucked so much of the air out of the room, more important data has been largely overlooked on the technical / non-content side of the search optimization world.

Like with so many other things, people like to focus on cheats, shortcuts and cutting corners instead of doing the real work necessary to get to the top – which is why we’re number one in the Omaha SEO services game. One example of this is in a site’s choice of hosting.

Site Speed Core Element of Smart On-Site SEO

Content is still very much king, both as far as search engine optimization goes, and with marketing goes in general, the technical side of our targeted Omaha SEO services still has a sizeable effect.This is especially in competitive spaces, where you want to go deeper, and need every edge you can get.
How fast your server has always seen as a factor, but it’s becoming more and more important, as websites contain more information, web surfers get used to better performing websites and more traffic is coming in through mobile devices.

The reason I push clients to consider faster hosting isn’t so we can make more money – we don’t make any money off of hosting. We looked into setting up our own hosting service (and sank a not-small amount of money into researching and beginning to set it up), but found that we couldn’t compete with a couple of the more affordable options available – Flywheel and Lightning Base – so we just refer clients to them now.

We do this because faster hosting can have an effect on both your rank, the perception people have about your site and business (a slow loading site can be annoying enough that people will just leave), and most importantly perhaps – user experience, which leads to higher conversion rates/sales per visitor.
In a post from a couple months back, on over at Search Engine Journal (one of the biggest and best SEO blogs), a study by the enterprize SEO company SearchMetrics found that site speed is the most important technical ranking factor now:
“One of SearchMetrics’ top findings when studying technical ranking factors is that site speed matters considerably more this year than it did last year. In 2014, site speed is the number one top ranking factor, when in 2013 it barely cracked the top 10.
Position of keyword in title (character), length of URL, and position of keyword in title (word), were the top 2-4 ranking factors this year and didn’t see considerable change compared to last year.
Just because a ranking factor is lower on the list does not necessarily make it any less important to include on your site. For example, the existence of a meta description was fairly low on the last, but the correlation data shows that most well ranking pages do have a description.”

Not Just Important for Omaha SEO

I can’t personally verify that speed is actually the most powerful factor, but even if it weren’t I would still highly recommend paying a few more dollars per month and getting a much better hosting plan. While many of our competitors tell their clients that it’s fine to have their sites on cheap and slow hosts like GoDaddy, or worse – offer hosting of their own that is just reselling cheap hosting so they can squeeze a bit more money out of you – we don’t stop at the search engine water’s edge, so to speak.

As mentioned above – user experience is also gaining in importance. A growing number of studies show that people get impatient with sites that load slowly – especially on mobile devices, and the way things are going – soon more than half of search traffic for local businesses will come from smartphones and tablets.

The way I think about it, and the way Google and the other search engines seem to think about it, site speed is a customer service issue and an indicator of commitment to quality. If you’re the type that thinks that saving a few bucks per month is worth making your customers wait, then you don’t deserve to rank at the top.

Efficient Web Design is Also Important

Site load time isn’t just about the host either – it’s also about how you build your website. While some sites need to be image heavy (like photography studios and/or eCommerce sites), but it’s better to try and make your site lighter – meaning each page requires less data to be sent to the browser of the user. There are also other, more technical, things that we won’t bore you with, that make your site load faster.

This is another area where you can get an edge on competitors. Most web designers may be great at making a pretty website, but most aren’t very good at the technical side of things. Even if we don’t build a site, as long as it’s built on the WordPress platform, we can come in and speed it up, and make sure you get set up with better hosting.

An old, slow, and/or cluttered website is like if a client walked into your office and it was all messy. Just like how you don’t want to give that sort of first impression to a client, in person or online, you don’t want to make a client wait unnecessarily either.

One way to think about this is… if you had a receptionist at your business that would make walk-in customers wait a few seconds each time they asked for something, for no apparent reason, would you keep them on staff, or would you try training them better or hire someone that was more helpful?

I’m sure most of you would be in the latter category. Why have a receptionist if they aren’t going to do their job and serve customers, and why have a cheap host that does the same thing?

Reading Google’s Tea Leaves to Improve Our Omaha SEO Services

This boost in the importance of site speed should come as no surprize to anyone who keeps up with what Google has been saying for years, and what SEO industry blogs have been saying lately.

Same as several other recent changes in their algorithm, Google has been motioning that this is important for years. They just hadn’t figured out how to bake it into their ranking system until more recently. Again, this is especially true for sites being loaded on mobile devices, which often have slower connections than your average home or office computer.

No comments

Powered by Blogger.