Can Budget Web Hosting Affect SEO?

Can Budget Web Hosting Affect SEO?It’s understandable that budget web hosting can be appealing to webmasters who want to make a profit online, especially because web hosting is a recurring expense for their business. But there is a caveat – budget web hosting can actually affect a website’s search engine rankings.

There’s nothing really alarming as the effects are nowhere near as bad as being outright flagged and “Google-slapped,” but people who want to make the most out of their websites when it comes to exposure should keep in mind that budget web hosting will affect your SEO efforts through the following things:

Page Speed

One of the things that cheap web hosts usually skimp on is bandwidth. They either throttle or shape the bandwidth of their servers, resulting in slow page loading, especially now that the size of files on the web has gone up. Unfortunately, speed has become an even more important factor for people especially as more and more of them have gotten high bandwidth Internet accounts. According to studies, 40% of people will abandon a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

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People’s tendency to abandon slow websites is taken into account by Google, which patterns its algorithms on user responses. To Google (and possibly other search engines), a slow page load time results in high bounce rates and fewer conversions, so they ensure that a website’s loading speed is factored in during ranking.

Server Availability

Another disadvantage to budget web hosting is that there are more frequent downtimes, either because the servers are frequently maxed in capacity or the host gives you a limited amount of bandwidth per month, which can be easily consumed before the cutoff if your site is popular.

Obviously, if your website is down, people won’t be able to visit it. Zero visitors = zero visibility, search engine or not. However, Google also takes a website’s availability into account so frequent downtimes will affect your search engine ranking for the long term.

According to Google’s Matt Cutts, the search engine is not so strict as to penalize a day or two’s worth of downtime, so host maintenance or web server transfers are fine. However, if the downtime is close to a week or more and happens very frequently, your site’s availability (or lack thereof) will be noticed by spiders, which will definitely affect your search engine ranking. Remember that Google prioritizes the users, which means it doesn’t want to send them to a site that’s constantly down.

Server Reputation

This is not as well known as the other downsides, but it does affect your SEO: cheap hosts attract all kinds of unsavory websites, from adult to piracy ones (because these types of websites rarely want to invest much into hosting.) If you’re sharing servers with these sites, not only will you feel the brunt whenever something awry happens on their sites (like DDoS attacks resulting in downtimes or massive traffic spikes), but you’re also going to suffer penalties if they create enough trouble to get penalized by search engines.

Basically, budget web hosting is fine if you’re creating a website just as a means to build an online presence, but if you ever have plans of going big or earning from your website, you may want to put in a little bit more money. It’s like that old tech saying: Garbage In, Garbage Out.

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