Since the days of learning the whos-who of popularity at school, one thing we all learnt was that there are certain places that anybody who is anybody should be seen. This carries into the world of Web, if you want your website to be seen and taken seriously, it needs to be visible in those top pages of search engines. Due to the endless tussle to get to the top of these platforms, search engine giants such as Google and Bing have become very good at recognising which websites are deserving of those top pages. It goes without saying that these popular search engines didn’t become as widely used as they are today by providing an unreliable service to their users. They use many thorough methods of determining which websites their searching customers want to see, so the better a user experience your website can provide clients, the more likely the search engines are to recognise that your website is one that they want to present to their clients. I’ll outline a few things you will need to take into consideration, to put you in better standing with search engines, and allow your website to organically rank better.
We have seen the rise and fall of many search engines now, enough to know that the search engine giants we use today are tried and true trustworthy sources, providing a great service. As I mentioned, they became this way by always endeavouring to provide the search engine user with exactly the information or website they seem to be searching for. To be recognised as a website that the likes of Google are happy to present to their users, Google would have to be happy that when the user clicks your link, they will not be let down or left frustrated by bad connections, slow load times and inaccurate information. They do not want to send their customers to a website that is offline.
There are various reasons that your website might go down, whether it is undergoing maintenance, or having updates installed. However, you need to pay close attention to the up-time of your website, so that you know if you are having any problems with your host on a server-level. To rank well, you must have a hosting provider that can ensure that your website is reliable, not experiencing any downtime due to server maintenance, server failure, poorly managed hosting services, or bad use of data usage restrictions.
Any of these problems caused by your hosting provider will be recognised by search engines, who will view your website as unreliable and therefore not one that they wish to rank highly. To rank well your hosting provider must ensure that your hosting package offers reliable guaranteed uptime. For dedicated and cloud hosting services, your website should have 100% uptime, for shared and VPS hosting, above 99.4% uptime.
We are in the era of the smart-phone. Everybody is busier, on the move – and shopping, communicating and connecting while they go. As such the rise in people using search engines on a smartphone has escalated so wildly that today you will see an integrated search engine app on every smartphone, ready to search at the simplest voice command. While this has it’s obvious convenience benefits, it does mean we have become a largely very unforgiving and efficient people, who will – when faced with a slow loading web page, or a loading circle – backspace without hesitation. It is important to remember that people are using their mobile devices away from their wi-fi hot spots and homes, meaning their devices are continually trying to connect as they go, to nearby wi-fi spots and 4G connection. This in itself can be frustrating for the mobile device user. It is because of this that search engines have realised that in order to provide the user with the content they want, they must also consider that they will be likely to access it on a mobile device, and so they will analyse and rank websites on their ability to connect quickly in this way. This makes great load-speed, and mobile functionality on your website imperative.
There are a few things it is important to discuss with your web host regarding your websites load speed:
- Can your website be compressed – there may be images, documents or pages that are using far more storage than they need, and could be compressed without visually affecting the website;
- Discuss where your site is hosted and if it could be moved onto an SSD server for lightening quick uninterrupted connection;
- Find out if you are using a hosting package which is shared with other accounts – meaning you could suffer lag in heavy traffic periods;
- Discuss with your host and your web developer if there are any features on your website that would slow down the load speed such as payment gateways and image galleries.
Part and parcel of a search engine providing a great service for their customers is to ensure that the websites they send their customers to are not only fast and reliable but also secure. A secure website is a website that does not pose any risk of hostile material, malware or viruses to the customer – a website that the search engine can be confident is safe for its customers to use. Secure websites can be easily identified by the green ‘https secure’ padlock shown in the top address bar at the beginning of the URL. There are lesser or more lengths you can go to, to additionally secure your website, always being mindful not to slow down the load-speed, but this green padlock of approval is the minimum the search engines will look for it, and if your website does not have it, it will not rank.
Talk to your web host to make sure your website is https secure and you have an SSL Certificate, and if you don’t – how to get one. An SSL certificate encrypts customer details during financial transactions ensuring your website is safe to trade on, it also shows that your website has all of the appropriate firewalls, email filtering and intrusion identification and prevention. This, as well as regular backups and any individual safety features that your website might require, should be provided by your web host, and to not have them will cost you search engine ranking positions.
Choose the right host
Your choice of hosting provider will greatly impact the functionality and performance – but particularly the search engine ranking of your website. Whilst it is important in any case that your website is: reliable, fast, and secure – as I mentioned previously, how well your website is ranking in search engines is a great indicator and first impression for your potential customers. The more highly you rank, the more you will be viewed as a trustworthy, busy and established website. When customers are put at ease in this way, it will have a snowball effect, you will find the more trusted your website is – the more traffic or online-sales are produced, which in turn increases your search engine ranking and so the positive cycle is perpetuated.
Beginning this journey starts with choosing the right website hosting provider. For advice on the fastest and most reliable servers, SSL certificates and securing your website, and compressing and maximising website efficiency to increase load speed, contact 365Hosts today.