If you have put in a lot of effort into your search engine optimization, you might be afraid that your efforts will go down the drain if you switch hosts. So does hosting affect SEO? Yes, it does.
Web hosting for SEO is a critical factor for your rankings as it affects essential attributes such as the speed at which your site loads as well as the up and downtimes. Here are some of the changes involved when switching web hosts and how they affect SEO.
Simply changing nameservers should not result in any changes in your SEO or search engine rankings. Additionally, switching nameservers is usually a straightforward process that takes a very short while and can be completed in minutes. This means it is very unlikely that it will affect your rankings or SEO.
If you desire to change your domain name, it is recommended that you put a 301 redirect (permanent) on each old page to take your users to the new one.
The most commonly used types of redirects in web development are 301 – which indicates that the move is permanent – and 302 – which lets Google know that the move is not permanent. Nevertheless, changing domains is typically a permanent move, and this is why the 301-redirect is the most commonly used.
Web Host Change
Changing website hosts should not have any implications on your SEO and search engine rankings as long as you go about it the correct way. If the site is a small static one that just has a few web pages, the shift should be straightforward. The headache surfaces when you have to move a huge site that has lots of pages, complex hosting, redundancy factors, and multiple servers.
When we go back to the fundamentals; changing a web host involves setting up your website at the new host completely, making changes to the DNS so as to direct the domain name to the new host’s location and to ensure that search engines are properly crawling the site at the new location. It is only after you have completed these steps that you can shut down the previous hosting location.
Ultimately, if you want to mitigate the negative SEO effects that follow making web host changes ensure that you put everyone into consideration when making the change. Everyone refers to the search engines, website operators, and customers.
If you let the search engines in on the various changes being made in addition to the new hosting location, site structure, domain, URL, and link sources, search engines will seamlessly adjust to your new host with minimal effects to your SEO.
Additionally, if you are planning on moving your website to a new host. It is best that you are prepared for any potential outcome. Inasmuch as we hope that the move will positively impact your site’s SEO, there is still a small chance that it might not, depending on the host you move to.
As such, it is imperative that you fully understand the different kinds of hosts you have at your disposal. Nevertheless, the main types of web hosting choices are VPS, shared hosting and dedicated web server. Each of these different options has its own unique advantages.
So, What to Adhere to When Making a Hosting Transition
When making the move, you want the transition to be seamless and invisible to the user. Additionally, you also want to ensure that the search engines are aware of it so that the new pages can get the same quality signals that the old pages enjoyed. As such, errors such as the 404 error should be avoided at all costs as they will harm the user’s experience and negatively impact your search rankings. Here are some of the best practices when making your transition.
- Test the transition process by moving the contents of a subdomain or directory first, then use the 301 to redirect those pages to the new site permanently. This is what will let Google know that your site has moved permanently.
- After completing the first step, test and see whether the pages on your new website are showing in search engines’ results pages. Once you are assured that the transition is working correctly, you may now move the entire website. It may be simpler to do a blanket redirect where you transfer all the content from your old site to the new site simultaneously. However, it is not recommended as it may negatively impact your users’ experience.
Instead, it is recommended that you do a page-to-page redirect as it gives your users a transparent and consistent experience.
- If you want to change your domain because you are redesigning or rebranding your site, it is recommended that you do it in the following phases: first, move the site; and then redesign. This will manage the amount of change that your users can see during every stage of the process thus making the move seem smoother.
- Check out both the internal and external links in your site. As such, you should ensure that all incoming links are redirected to the new website. Also, check out the internal links in the old site and update them so that they point to the new domain. Once your content has been transferred to the new host, use a link checker to ensure that your new site does not contain broken links.
- As a rule of thumb, retain control of the old site’s domain for at least 180 days in order to prevent confusion. Be cautious when making the transition to a new web hosting company. Theoretically, it should not mess with your SEO. But if you do not go about it the correct way, there is a possibility that your new site’s SEO and search ranking might get negatively affected. Use this post as a guide to make sure that you make a smooth transition.
If you follow these steps your host transition will be smooth and you won’t lose any of your hard-earned SEO.