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SEO Mistakes

Why Choosing a Web Host is Important to SEO

Any business that is serious about SEO, know how important it is to completely optimize your website for search engines while also providing great value to their customers. But the optimization goes beyond those keyword relevant posts, backlink creation and “SEO-friendly” themes.

The biggest thing that most people forget about, is hosting. And while most people disagree that hosting does not affect your search engine rankings, I beg to differ.

Because you wouldn’t notice a thing if you choose a good hosting company. But if for some reason, you end up choosing a bad hosting company, you will definitely see negative results in terms of SEO.

It might be mind-boggling to you right now, but as you continue reading the reasons that I mention below, you will realize that it makes total sense.

It makes total sense as to why Google would choose websites/businesses that are using highly reputed hosting companies, compared to other so-called “low-cost” hosting companies.

So, without any further ado, let’s jump right into it.

 

Bad Neighbourhood

 

What do I mean by that?

Well, let’s compare it to the real world.

What does it mean for someone to live in a “bad” neighborhood?

It means that usually, the area is not very safe for people at night. There is a possibility that people in your neighborhood might have committed a crime before. And you also wouldn’t let your kids play outside after 6 pm.

The obvious effect of all of that is that the rent/cost of buying a house in these neighborhoods is lower compared to other neighborhoods that are much safer.

So, when you opt to buy cheap hosting, you are essentially giving your website a house in one of those bad neighborhoods. Neighborhoods, where the websites have a low reputation and the general public, might not like to trust the information on those websites.

And Google really notices those websites and tries to make sure that they don’t rank higher.

And so, if your website is hanging around those low reputation websites, then guess what, your website too is not going to rank as well as is should’ve been.

So, it is better to opt for a somewhat mid-range hosting that offers annual plans. And even if you end up paying a lower amount of hosting compared to other cheap hosting companies it still works in your favor. Because a lot of people who own those low reputation websites, wouldn’t pay $150-200 for the hosting of an entire year because they don’t plan on keeping that website live for that long.

That is the reason why they prefer paying $7/month.

So, it is better to choose a reputed hosting company that only offers annual hosting plans, rather than going for a hosting provider that is famous for “cheap hosting options.”

 

Uptime or Availability Time of Your Website

One of the biggest factors that affect the SEO of a website, is its total availability time. Or as most SEO experts would like to call it, Uptime.

Uptime/availability time means the total amount of time your hosting server was working without any interruptions. The higher this number is, the longer it will be available for your visitors.

A website that is unstable and the servers are usually facing issues are not only frustrating for you as the owner of the website, it is also frustrating for the visitor as well. Because they are not able to access your website for the information they wanted.

And as you know, Google is all about improving the user experience. And this obviously harms that. So, you will have a hard time ranking very high in the search engines.

Not only that, you will notice that if a website is ranking #1 for a particular keyword, it’s ranking will drop instantly if they experience a downtime. But if that happens very often, the rankings will keep dropping until your website is nowhere to be found in the search results.

Highly reputed companies do offer a 99.9% uptime guarantee. So you can worry about other things. But it is also a good idea to keep checking on that guarantee to make sure that they are actually delivering on their promise. A great tool to check the availability of your website is Pingdom.

 

The Speed of Your Website

I went into a lot of detail in my previous post about how important it is to have a website that has a very low loading time, aka, a website that loads very fast. (Check out the 4 ways to improve the page load speed of your website.)

And Google has officially made website speed as one of the ranking factors. So it is very important to take this seriously.

A ton of businesses these days are using CDNs, optimizing their image files and also caching their files on the visitors’ computer to increase the speed. And while doing all of those things are very important, it is also important that you choose the right host. This will ensure that you have a fast website right off the bat.

So how does hosting affect the speed of your website?

Well, let’s check it out.

Every time someone visits your website, there are certain resources that are being used by your hosting server. These resources could be the processor or the memory. And the more visitors your website gets, more of these resources will be used to load the pages for them.

And if your web server has insufficient resources, it will slow down the loading speed for some of your visitors. In worst cases, your website will be totally inaccessible to the visitors. And this is a very bad signal to Google.

A good rule of thumb is to track how many visitors your website gets each month. And based on that, you can decide which hosting plan you want to go for.

And if you are confused, you can always contact the customer support of that hosting company to suggest you the right plans for your situation. They usually ensure that you have a great hosting experience.

You can also test the page load speed of your website on the Google Page Speed Tool.

 

The Safety of Your Website

Oh, this is a big one.

The more vulnerable your website is to the hackers, the more chances there will be for your website to be injected with malware. And this malware can do a lot of things that you won’t like.

It can do things like slowing down your website or maybe even infecting the computers of people that visit your website. And if that wasn’t enough, having malware on your website can also mean that your website can end up on the blacklist.

Yes, there is a blacklist that every search engine has. And they prevent all the websites on that blacklist from being indexed. This can be the ultimate SEO failure for you.

So how do you protect yourself from these attacks?

Well, it is sort of a 50-50 responsibility between you and the hosting company.

On your end, you need to make sure that you are doing the regular maintenance routine on your website. This includes updating your plugins, doing regular malware scans and taking backups of your website.

The other half of the responsibility is of the hosting company. They need to monitor their servers and ensure that they are able to avoid a majority of the attacks. And even if they are attacked, they are able to mitigate the risks and ensure that any customers that were harmed are now safe.

I must mention that if you do plan on using dedicated servers, then it will the client’s responsibility to ensure the security of that server.

And if you are extra cautious, you can always use external tools to ensure that your servers and websites are never vulnerable.

 

Having HTTPS and SSL Certificates on Your Website

Having an SSL certificate on your website is an absolute must these days. This not only increases the trust factor of your website in the eyes of your audience, it is also considered as a ranking factor in results.

Even though it does not carry a huge weight in the ranking factors, we want to do everything in our power to have factors on our side.

Because at the end of the day, you will be dealing with real people. And you want to make sure that they trust you. And having HTTPS and SSL certificates on your website is a sign of trust.

Plus, Google and other leading internet companies are taking a huge initiative to make the internet a safer place. So why not participate in that.

You should know that the implementation of the SSL certificate needs to come from the hosting. So before you opt for a hosting plan, make sure that you inquire about it. If you’re looking to save some money, you would want to go for the Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate because they provide it for free.

Any alternative methods of acquiring an SSL certificate will probably cost you around $180+ per year.

 

The Location of Your Web Server

Although this is not a huge determining factor, it is still something that will slightly influence your rankings.

Let’s say that your web server is located in India, and a visitor is accessing your website in the US, you might not have an upper hand compared to websites that are hosted in the US itself. It makes geographical sense for the websites hosted in the US to load much faster compared to the site that is hosted in India.

This does not mean that you should not go for a company that offers hosting options in India.

Before you choose a hosting company, you want to consider from which country will the majority of your audience be.

But it is not a big deal if you chose a hosting company far away from your audience because you can still take advantage of CDNs, aka, Content Distribution Networks to overcome that issue.

Again, this is not a huge ranking factor but if you still haven’t decided on your hosting provider, it is better that you host somewhere closer to your audience.

 

The Types of Hosting Services That You Use

I’m assuming that majority of the people reading this article will go for the shared hosting option. And you should know that with that option, you also run a risk of having someone that would use that hosting company to spam or possibly phish people on the internet. And you might be sharing your IP address with that person’s website.

This goes back to the bad neighborhood point I mentioned above. And although this is very rare if you choose a highly reputed hosting company, it is not impossible to find these cases.

This is not a huge thing, but it is something that you should be aware.

The good thing about choosing a hosting provider with a good reputation is that they constantly monitor their servers to make sure that no one is misusing them. And this is the reason why you really want to choose a great hosting company.

Because they usually will have to budget to monitor all of their servers and ensure that your website is in a great neighborhood.

 

In conclusion, your web hosting provider is very important when it comes to SEO. And if you choose a good one, you won’t notice anything negative. But if you do end up choosing a less than reliable host, you will definitely have some negative experiences when it comes to SEO.

Choose wisely, ladies and gentlemen.

6 Reasons Why Your Website Isn’t Ranking in Google

I’ve been where you are. You do everything you know about SEO, and you even manage to make your website look amazing.

But it’s just that thing that keeps nagging you because people are still not able to find you on Google. And the worst part is, if people can’t find your website online, you will not get any inquiries or sales.

Just like any other company out there, you might be asking “What would I have to do to get my website on the 1st page of Google?”

That is important because Google is the biggest search engine in the world. And obviously, that makes it the search engine that provides the most amount of traffic to websites in the world.

And because of that, it is important for your website to rank on the 1st page of Google.

After doing SEO for businesses for half a decade, I have found that there are at least 5 reasons that your website is not ranking well in search results. And with those 6 things, I’m also offering the solutions so you can rectify them and see your website leapfrog its way to page 1.

So if you want to know exactly what you have to do on your website so that it gets moving in the right direction, this is the place where you should be.

And without any further ado, lets jump right into it.

 

  1. You Simply Have Too Much Competition

Let’s be honest, there are some industries that have a 100x more competition than others. And it is possible that the websites you see on page 1 might have a huge marketing budget to spend on SEO. And if you do have a similar budget, you might not be able to outrank them, or even compete with them in the first place.

This could be the biggest reason why you are not ranking on page 1 for your target keywords.

 

What can you do about this?

Let’s say that your target keyword was “3 piece suits for sale.”

Look at the competition that you will be facing for this keyword.

 

You will be competing with huge brands like Mens Wearhouse, Mens Suit Habit, Marks and Spencer, etc. These are all huge organizations that have a ton of money to throw on marketing campaigns. And the chance of you outranking them is slim to none.

And that is why we must take a different approach to things.

We need to start segmenting the marketing.

What do I mean by that?

I mean that instead of ranking nationally for a keyword like “3 piece suits for sale”, you could choose to rank for something easier and with less competition like “3 piece suits for sale in Boston.”

You can start segmenting your market by location. And if you target a smaller geographical area, it will be easier for your rank for that location.

Moreover, people would rather choose to buy from a local brand than a huge chain.

If you want to get really creative with your segmenting, you can go for something like “3 piece suits for men over 40.”

You will be shocked to see how less of a competition there is for keywords like that.

So, instead of directly going for the Goliath of your market, practice your shots on smaller segments of that market and build up from there.

Remember, SEO is like chess. You have to build up the strength of your website and dominate searches one-by-one. Until you surround the King and win the game.

 

  1. Your Website Has Not Been Indexed By Google

If you have recently registered a website, then it is possible that Google hasn’t listed it yet.

So how do you find out if your website has been indexed/listed or not?

You can use a search operator/prefix in your Google search to find that out.

Type site:yoursite.com (without the www. And “/”)

If you can see your website in the search results and your website is showing at the top, then you have nothing to worry about. Once your website is indexed, you will see a list of all the pages of your website that are indexed by Google.

But if you cannot see your website, then that means Google has not indexed your website.

 

How Do You Get Your Website Indexed In Google?

In 90% of the cases, Google automatically finds the website and indexes them. But that does take a little bit of time. In some cases, it can take a few weeks for Google to find and index your website.

But do not worry. There is nothing wrong with your website. It just takes Google a bit of time because there are literally billions of websites that are freshly crawled every day. And so it can take a bit of time to go through all of that.

But if you want to make this process go a bit quicker, you can add your website to the Google Search Console and submit your website sitemap.

This will let Google know that it has to crawl your website. And usually it can take anywhere from 24 to 72 hours to complete crawling and you will be able to see your website indexed.

 

  1. Non-Mobile Friendly Website

This is a big issue.

About 2-3 years ago the overall mobile usage of Google had overtaken desktop usage and this is the reason why having a mobile-optimized website is so crucial to rank higher in Google.

If you currently do not have a mobile-optimized website, it is possible that Google will not index your website.

If you don’t have a mobile-optimized website, you should at least have a mobile “responsive” website.

What do I mean by a Responsive website?

It means that your website should be easy to use on devices like a smartphone or an iPad. There shouldn’t be a lot of dragging and pinching involved while browsing your website.

If the desktop version of your website is showing up on these devices, then again, Google will not index your website.

 

How do you find out if your website is mobile responsive?

Google has made it very easy to find out if your website is mobile responsive or not.

All you have to do, is head on over to Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool and enter your website URL.

It will take a couple of tests to check the responsiveness of your website.

If it is mobile responsive, you will pass the test.

 

 

How do I make my website mobile responsive?

If you hired a web designer to design your website from scratch, then you can ask them to make it mobile responsive for you. It is possible that they might charge an extra fee for that. So make sure that you ask them about it beforehand.

On the other hand, if you are using WordPress, you can install a WordPress theme that is mobile responsive and you will be good to go. Alternatively, if you really like a WordPress plugin, then you can choose to buy the premium version of that plugin that is mobile friendly and you will be all set.

Those two will be your best case scenarios.

In the worst case scenario, you will need to convert an old website into a new one while ensuring that it is mobile optimized.

In that case, it is always best to spend a little more and get a fresh design.

At the end of the day, you want to make sure that your website is mobile optimized or mobile responsive to ensure that it is indexed in Google.

 

  1. Under-Optimized Title Tag and Meta Description

You might not know this, but search engines use different tags to identify the topics of the website and what it is about. Every page of your website has a Title tag and a Meta description tag.

These tags can be optimized in a way so that they let the search engines know what those pages are about.

Once you optimize these tags, you will notice that those exact words show up in the search results as well. And that’s the reason why it is so important to optimize them. So you can control what shows up in the search results.

 

How Can You Check Your Meta Data?

There are a couple of ways you can do that.

For instance, you can use this tool that will make a list of all the pages on your website along with their meta tags. All you will have to do is copy and paste the URLs of which you want to check the meta-tags and it will give you exactly what Google sees.

If you are using a Content Management System like WordPress, then updating the title and meta tags will be super easy. All you will need to do is install an SEO plugin. Yoast SEO is the most famous one and the easiest one to use by far.

This plugin will let you change the meta tags on the same page as you write your content. That makes the whole thing easier than ever.

 

How to write better Title Tags

Now that you know how to change your meta tags, now is the time to know how you can write better title tags (I will be talking about meta descriptions in a minute).

I see a lot of people writing title tags like this: 3 Piece Suits | Sale | Boston | Cincinnati

That’s the worst way to write a title tag. It is not the best way to optimize that page for humans. And Google wants their visitors to have the best browsing experience ever.

Do you think that people would click on that title if they saw it in the search results?

Or would they click on something like this: Best 3 Piece Suits on Sale in Boston Massachusetts

I bet that they will click on the latter. Because it tells them exactly what they will find on your page. And Google will love that title as well for the same reasons.

 

How to write better meta descriptions

Google has stopped counting the meta description as a ranking factor, but it will help you increase your click-through rate.

The meta description gives you an opportunity to give more information about your title and further entice the visitor to click on your website.

Why not capitalize on that chance and increase your click-through rate and possibly your conversions and sales?

A great way to write the meta description is to include your contact details and a call to action. This will make it easier for people to decide and click. And if not, it is possible that they end up calling you instead.

That’s even better.

 

  1. Low-Quality Content

In my personal experience, high-quality content the distinction between a website that is ranking on page 1 and the website that is stuck on page 5 and is not able to move.

Remember, Google loves high-quality content. And if your website does not have that, then it is possible that your competitor might. And they will rank higher than you.

Not just that, I see people just throw away their hard earned money. They spend thousands of dollars on the development of the website, and they hardly spend any money on getting high-quality content on it.

I personally recommend that you have at least 300-500 words of content on every page of your website. This lets Google know what that page is about and shows that the page is valuable for that particular topic.

If you have content of fewer than 300 words, then the chances of that pages ranking are very slim.

 

How do you check the word count on a page?

If you are using WordPress, then it is very simple. You can see the word count of your content below the content area. This word count excludes your title.

But, if you want to know the total word count on the entire page, not just the article that you will be posting, then you can use this tool for that.

Again, you want to make sure that you have at least 300-500 words on each page. That is not a strict limit, but I have tested that limit on my client websites and have gotten good results.

However, feel free to write long-form content as well. The longer the content, the better it will be for you. And also Google will consider your website more authoritative.

That is why you will see that on this website, a lot of my articles average over 1000 words.

 

How can you fix the low-quality content issue?

Well, there are a couple of ways you can go about it.

First, you can write the content yourself.

This will take a lot of your time especially if you have a ton of pages on your website. You will also need to do a lot of research if you don’t already know about the topic.

Alternatively, you can hire a copywriter or a content writer and they can write the content for you.

This depends on how much you are willing to spend. If you want higher quality content, it is likely that you will have to spend more.

 

  1. Zero Social Media Activity

These days Google is looking all over the place to find out if people love your website or not. And one of the ways it finds that out is by checking if your website has any social media activity going on.

If people are talking about your website, then chances are that they like your website and they are recommending it to their friends. And Google will pick up on that and rank you higher.

But if you do not have any social media activity going on, then chances are that your website is not liked by a lot of people. Or it is not famous enough to rank on page 1.

Remember, Google only wants to list the famous, high-quality, amazing websites on page 1. If your website is not one of them, then it will not rank high.

 

Conclusion

In a way, if you notice, this is a popularity contest. You want to show Google that your website is great, popular and it hangs around great people. And so Google will rank you higher.

I know that seems shallow, but that’s how all the search engines in the world work.

So, it’s better to take advantage of the knowledge you have than to feel bad about it and do nothing.

Apply these tips right now and see how quickly your website will climb rankings in the search results.