In the digital age, a well designed company website simply is not enough. While a site may be visually pleasing and easy to navigate, those factors will not help you when it comes to search engine optimization. Website reliability and speed are very crucial aspects to a website from a usability perspective as well as search engine optimization. A company website can be used to reach out to potential customers as well as add revenue through ecommerce, offer focused interaction with customers and issues relating to customer service and can provide customers with up to the minute news about your business or product. All of these beneficial website functionalities will be lost if your page is not “search engine friendly”. “Search engine friendly” means the online site can be indexed by Search and listed on search engines easily. Search engines are a primary source of web traffic, and if your site is not listed, your business will miss out on thousands of would-be customers.
Getting listed on a major search engine like Google, Yahoo or Bing is only the beginning though. To really tap into your desired market you will want to be found on the first ten listings on a search engine results page when a user types in a search query that relates to your company. It is here where you will generate the most traffic to your website.
To get to the top of the list, there are several factors you will need to consider. One of the most important factors to get ranked within search engines, and often the most overlooked, is an analysis of the web hosting provider for the website. The web hosting provider is responsible for the reliability of the site’s “uptime” as well as the site’s load time, which are crucial in many ways.
A web host’s dependability is vital to the success of your website. What this means, is that if your web hosting service inconsistent, your site could be “down” for any length of time. Not only is this a bad user experience for the customer, it is also is detrimental for getting the website indexed on search engines. The way websites get indexed is though search engine “spiders”. These spiders go out and scan, or crawl, websites twenty four hours, seven days a week. They report their findings, such as site updates, site outages, and new websites into the search engine’s ranking algorithm. So, for example, if your website was crawled during a site outage, the spider records this. Any site outages recorded by a spider means an unreliable website. Since search engines pride themselves on delivering the best websites based upon the search query, the search engine will not rank a website with an unpredictable web host favorably, which results in decreased rankings. To prevent this, webmasters are encouraged to install a website monitoring tool. Such a tool will alert the webmaster if the site does go down and will help the webmaster to determine the reliability of their web hosting service.
In addition to a website’s dependability, site load time is key to increased rankings as well as providing your customers with a more pleasant experience navigating throughout the website. Google has explicitly stated that site load time is a factor within their rankings algorithm on their webmaster blog. Based on consumer research data, a website with a quick load time will retain visitors much longer than a slower loading site. Common causes of a slow load time on a website include download lag for photos, animation, or videos. While you cannot control the user’s internet speed, one can monitor their own site to make sure it is loading as quickly as possible. To find out about the speed of your website, use a web tool such as Page Speed from Mozilla. If your site has a slow load time, you can talk to you current provider about upgrading your existing web hosting plan or switch to one that can better meet your needs.
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