Since our foundation in 2016, the portfolio of websites we’ve worked on has spanned industries, purposes, and locations. A lot of consideration is given to the web design and web development processes, however, clients often overlook the value and importance of selecting the right hosting packages for their use case. Many of the benefits directly benefit search engine rankings.
SEO (search engine optimisation) is an 80 billion dollar industry where businesses do what they can to rank higher on search engines to get more targeted traffic. Google’s search algorithm considers over 200 factors when ranking websites; they don’t provide an exhaustive list but have regularly provided insight on things they’re looking for (especially when a new factor has been added). The benefits of good hosting feed into a few of the most important ranking factors: load time, dwell time, and security.
The advantages of a fast website may sound obvious, but real-world benefits here are far more than first meets the eye. Aside from load speed being literally the first impression you give to a viewer of your website, what may seem like a small delay can have huge and damaging effects. Good web development practices play a massive role in load time, but poor hosting is often the reason we see websites underperform.
“In A/B tests, we tried delaying the page in increments of 100 milliseconds and found that even very small delays would result in substantial and costly drops in revenue.”Greg Linden – Former Amazon Engineer
Load times are confirmed to directly influence how a website will rank; but also have a massive effect on a site’s user experience. A commonly tracked site metric is bounce rate: how often people open a site and leave without visiting a different page. A high bounce rate is usually negative and suggests you’re losing possible conversions.
Load time leads directly into dwell time. Dwell time is a search engine factor that tracks how long someone visits your site before either concluding their search or returning to the previous search results. An example of this would be:
- User searches Google for a service / question
- User opens site A, skims the page and returns to the search results after 10 seconds
- User opens site B and reads the page for 3 minutes, never returning to search results
The user journey above suggests that site B had higher quality content, more relevant to the original search query. Therefore, Google uses this as an indication that site B should rank higher than site A for the original search query.
Relevant content and effective web design play a large role in dwell time, but hosting underpins all of your hard work. If you serve content quickly, you’re providing a good user experience — decreasing the chance that a user will return back to search without reading your content.
“Your goal should be that when a visitor lands on your page, the content answers all of their needs, encouraging their next action to remain with you. If your content does not encourage them to remain with you, they will leave. The search engines can get a sense of this by watching the dwell time. “Duane Forrester, Senior Project Manager for Bing
SSL certificates facilitate the encryption of data sent and received from websites through an HTTPS connection — usually indicated by a padlock in the address bar. Thanks to certificate authorities like Lets Encrypt, SSL certificates are free to issue on most hosts — so there’s no excuse.
HTTPS has been a ranking factor since 2014 “We’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.”Google Developer Blog
Over 80% of websites are now protected with this level of encryption, and those that aren’t are penalised in search rankings, and often have their reputation damaged by a ‘not secure’ warning displayed in most modern browsers.
Managed web hosting with Hay & Rice
We’ve created our own managed web hosting service with the above in mind. Our packages aim to provide customers with a fuss-free, reliable, high-performance, and cost-efficient service. We manage the day-to-day technicalities and act as a single, accessible point of contact for all things hosting.
All websites are hosted on renewably powered high-speed servers, with SSL encryption and various optimisations included as standard. Websites in our control are regularly backed up (every 6 hours), providing peace of mind that any on-site challenges can be quickly and comprehensively restored if required.
If you would like advice on hosting, feel free to give us a call or get in touch.