Does Changing Web Hosting Affect SEO?
If you run a website, you already know that good SEO is essential to your search engine ranking and therefore your performance, but you may not have considered that changing web hosting can potentially have a considerable effect on this.
A server’s location is a big predictor of whether search engines consider your site to be relevant to the user, and thus it affects your SEO quite a bit. This is amplified even more if your website is intended to serve a certain geographic area, like clientele in a specific country, but your new servers are located in a different country. Remember that even if you are keeping a geographic top-level domain, search engines will be more interested in checking your server’s IP address, which will always reveal where it is located.
Performance is another big predictor for search engine ranking, with some SEO companies believing it to even be the biggest outside of content. If your new host uses less powerful servers or they have a much higher ratio of users to servers, thus putting too much load on the hardware, this could damage your SEO.
Page loading speeds are some of the most reliable ways to measure website performance, and if these speeds are too slow, this could harm your search rankings. Many factors come into play here, including the already mentioned hardware specs and server load.
Another major factor to consider is how users are distributed among the hosting company’s shared servers. If users generating a high load aren’t spread out enough and you find yourself sharing a server with too many of them, this will harm your performance and SEO immensely.
If you are already ranking to some extent and are upgrading or downgrading your hosting plan, you will notice differences in your SEO. Higher-level hosting plans will tend to offer greater access to resources, which increase your site’s performance. With performance being a significant indicator, an upgrade can give you a nice boost in search rankings.
Downgrading your hosting plan might have a negative effect unless your new plan can guarantee you the same level of performance and uptime that you were getting on your old plan. Consider all factors in your SEO remaining the same but your pages now loading slower, and you will understand why a drop in ranking would be inevitable here.
A site going down will cause panic in any webmaster because everyone knows how damaging downtime can be to SEO. If you’re with an existing host and it happens unexpectedly, you open a support ticket and sweat. If you are changing hosts, even this may not be an option.
DNS propagation is unavoidable, but this can be mitigated in a variety of ways by your hosts, old and new. If, however, they do not do this properly, it could extend your site’s downtime by entire days. Search engines like Google will look at this very poorly, and your search rankings will drop accordingly.
Be very careful if part of your change in hosting includes a full site redesign, because Google may look at this as a whole new site. Yes, it’s true that if you keep the same domain, you will hold on to that domain authority and the SEO benefits it brings, but it may pale in comparison to the losses you get from changing everything else.
So does changing web hosting affect SEO? The answer is it might, but it all depends on the number of changes you have in your new hosting plan.