When people think of web hosting, they think of whether or not people are going to get to their website. But, they don't tend to think about whether their efforts in optimizing their websites for the search engines will be harmed by choosing a particular web host. Believe it or not, but who you choose to be your web host can significantly impact whether you rank high in the search engines or not. There are a few reasons for this.
The first thing to consider is the time in which it takes your website to load. Matt Cutts, the lead engineer on the spam team and the overall SEO conduit for Google, said that load time is a factor that Google takes into consideration when ranking websites. While it isn't the biggest or the most important, it is one of the many factors. The reason for this is twofold.
First, if the web page is taking ages to load, people won't be able to get the information they are looking for in a reasonable time. Because Google is in the business of getting people to information as quickly as possible, if people are stuck waiting second after second to get the page to load—especially on their high-speed Internet—then they are probably not going to wait for it to load. It's bad for Google to show a page that people don't want to see at the top of their SERPs (search engine result pages). Therefore, if the page is taking forever to load, Google won't index it.
Secondly, if the page is taking forever to load, the bot might not be able to get to the actual page that is being indexed. For example, if the page is timing out, the spider might never actually see the information on your web page and that can directly impact how many pages are getting indexed. If your web site keeps timing out, the spider won't be able to traverse your website and traffic that might have come from getting naturally indexed will never materialize.
The other thing to think about is the feature in the SERPs that says "block this page." Connecting to the timing out and the slow load time is the fact that if people do hit the back button, Google gives them the option to "block all pages from this website." If they actually use that feature, suddenly that person will never see another one of your pages in the SERPs. If a lot of people do it, Google will take that data and determine that, perhaps, you're not the best source to be in that place.
Therefore, it's very important that your web hosting is good. There are a ton of companies out there that provide good web hosting, such as Anhosting and Westhost, but there are a few things to look for when choosing the web host.
The first is the guaranteed uptime. Every server has a hiccup. Every server goes down for a couple minutes every once in a while. That's inevitable. But, if the server is consistently having downtime, that's not good. Therefore, look for web hosts that guarantee—with a money back guarantee hopefully—that they have something around 98-99% uptime. Nothing is perfect, but you want uptime. That's so important.
Another thing to consider is that, while shared hosting is cheap, it can be disadvantageous. The reason is because there are potentially thousands of web sites hosted on one server in a shared environment. If one of them suddenly gets a boat load of traffic, that can slow your website down as the server allocates resources to handling that load. Therefore, while shared is cheaper, if you can afford a VPS or even a dedicated—although don't spend more than you need to—it can be a good investment in ensuring that your site stays up.
Links and on-page optimization techniques are obviously the best ways to rank in the search engines. SEO 101 says that you need good title tags, good content and good links. But, when you start getting into SEO 201, 301 or 401—otherwise known as the more advanced SEO—then you need to start looking at the small details. And one of those details is your web hosting. If your site loads fast, you'll be providing a good user experience and that, more than anything else, is the business that Google is in.
Jay is an Internet marketer who strongly advises his readers, when trying to find web hosting from companies such as Anhosting and West Host, to utilize a coupon. He runs a blog where he reviews popular products and presents the latest coupon for anhosting and westhost coupon code (details here). If you choose Anhosting as your site's host, you get 3 months for free. Westhost offers a 25% discount. More about Jay in his Google Plus profile.