For a moment, think of your website as a physical business. A physical business would inevitably require an office space to conduct the business. This “office” would likely host the businessperson (give them physical space to conduct their business). Likewise, even an online business requires some “hosting” platform to keep it going.
Considering this analogy, your website and domain cannot function without an efficient web-hosting package. Your site would require a hosting service that would give your site space on the web and servers that would help it run.
- Register your domain with an ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) accredited registrar, for example GoDaddy.
- Register it as a .com if you have a global market. If you cannot get a .com, but a corresponding .net or .org is available, it might be worth it to register one of those instead of registering a longer (and less memorable) .com domain.
- If you are targeting a specific country, register a domain in that country’s top-level domain (TLD). For instance, buy a .in domain for an India-targeted site. Also buy the .com version of the same name and point it at your country-specific location.
- Oftentimes certain search engines would be biased towards local sites. “Local” may mean ending with a local domain and/or being hosted on a server in that country.
- For dynamic sites, make sure your host supports the technology you will be using (such as ASP or PHP) before spending money.
People normally do not associate web hosting with SEO. But don’t be surprised about the fact that Web hosting plays a pivotal role in boosting your search ranking. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Uptime & Downtime – Uptime refers to how long your website is online and active because of your hosting provider. The most obvious criterion you would need from your hosting provider is to stay live and running on the web 24×7. If you have an e-Commerce website, even 99% uptime could make you lose out on customers. Downtime refers to how long your is unavailable. Another factor that affects your search engine rankings is web site availability. Search engines and especially Google don’t like to redirect their users to websites that are not available.
- Website speed – Search engines have now made page load speed into their over all ranking algorithms. In other words, search engines prioritize websites according to the their overall loading speed and is thus crucial for your search engine ranking.
- Easy SEO features / Plugins from the host – If your web hosting provider offers you Content Management Systems (like WordPress) which are well tuned for SEO, it could be advantageous to opt for them and use them to help you boost your search rankings. Web hosts sometimes also provide SEO scripts in their packages that help you track and increase the performance of your websites.
- Type of Web hosting package – Shared hosting is usually cheap, but is likely not as efficient from SEO point of view. The reason being, websites hosted on a shared hosting server share a common IP address. This could limit your search engine visibility and decrease your rankings. It helps to have your own server, with your very own IP address and isolated from other websites.