When it comes to web hosting, your choice matters. While one of the biggest benefits of WordPress is that the platform the same regardless of where it’s hosted, that’s only true of what you can see. Once you dig into how things work behind the scenes, not all hosts are created equally.
Use Built-In SEO Features
WordPress has many different SEO plugins and tools to choose from. Not all WordPress Hosting providers allow you to use them. Some do allow you to install any plugin you want, while others block certain plugins they think will use too many resources. Others may only give you a limited selection of plugins rather than letting you have free choice. Finally, some put SEO plugins behind premium subscriptions or other paywalls so that your true cost of using that host goes up.
If you can choose your own plugins, you can do virtually anything. This includes optimizing meta titles and descriptions, tracking keywords, monitoring your rankings directly within WordPress, building internal links, and more. If you really want to maximize your site’s rankings, you need to take full advantage of these tools. The default WordPress installation is made for people who don’t know anything about how to make a website. A basic WordPress website is a good way to get started if you have nothing, but you need to set yourself apart from the competition. Turning on those extra tools gives you additional ways to help Google find you.
Another thing some web hosting providers provide is easier integration with third-party tools such as Google Webmasters and their own SEO and analysis tools that aren’t within the WordPress installation. This added convenience and time savings can help you focus on running your business rather than having to spend time on routine SEO tasks. As with plugins, pricing and availability vary by provider.
Optimize Your Performance
Another important factor in your SEO is how well your website actually works. This doesn’t mean how nice it looks but whether or not it creates a smooth experience for your users.
The first consideration is your hosting provider’s uptime. Good hosts have backups so that your website is virtually never down. If your website does happen to be down while Google is checking it, Google might push it down in the search rankings or remove it altogether since a website that doesn’t work isn’t giving searchers what they want.
Most hosts can get you virtually 100% uptime, but a lot fail to deliver speed. Websites that take ten seconds or longer to load are dinosaurs that belong in the age of dial-up internet. Google expects your website to load within tenths of a second, and if it doesn’t, you could see a major drop in your rankings. The problem is that some hosts don’t have enough server capacity either in general or to handle peak periods of traffic. You might never even notice a problem with your website, but if another website on the same server is getting a lot of traffic, that could slow your website to a crawl. Google doesn’t care if your slow website is your fault or not — it just wants its searchers to have a good experience.
Finally, be aware of whether or not your host allows black hat or spam tactics. These are ways of trying to cheat the system that can work temporarily and end up with a huge ranking penalty when the search engine finally figures out what’s going on. The problem for honest website owners is that the search engine might penalize an entire server, web host, or IP address. If you’re using a shared service, you might get caught up in the aftermath even if you had no idea of what was going on and got no benefit.
WordPress is a great platform, but where you put your site matters. Some web hosts will give you access to more tools, and others will give your website better performance. Both are important ways to improve your SEO rankings.
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