The first place that you go looking for information, for anything ranging between finding a good eatery close by to car rental services within 5 miles of a particular location, is a search engine like Google and Bing. With the web being the first repository for market-driven information, web-sites and blogs are often the source from where business-related information is obtained.
SEO techniques are critical in order to maintain market competitiveness and sustain consumer awareness. SEO consists of all activities undertaken to ensure that an organization’s web-site shows up high in the listings whenever users tap their queries in to major search engines to look for services, products or key information.
There are several techniques that are used to implement SEO. While many of them are methods related to the way content is authored; there are other methods that can help improve SEO. One among those is cloud hosting. Let us look at a few ways in which switching to cloud hosting can help improve SEO.
Each instance of a website downtime would trigger most search engines to lower the authority rating of the website, which in turn would cause page-rankings to go down for all associated keywords. It is critical for a website to maintain high uptime if it is intended to show up high in the search listings. Downtime affects SEO in a couple of ways:
- It diminishes the effectiveness of your SEO strategy
- When a search engine is unable to reach your website it reduces the authority rating accordingly. Whenever the authority rating of a website goes down, the page rankings for the site also go down for all related keywords.
One of the biggest advantages of tapping a cloud based hosting for your website is the very high site uptime, typically upwards of 99.9%. Such high uptime ensures that your SEO strategy has the maximum opportunity to be successful. It also does its part to keep page rankings high for your website.
By reducing loading time for the website
There are several factors taken into account by leading search engines such as Google and Bing while determining the rank of a site. While a rank is always specific to search terms, one key influencing factor is the User experience rating(UX) of the site. The UX rating of a site is a summary rating that denotes the quality of all past experiences that users have had with that site. All else being equal in terms of the factors influencing page rank, a site with a higher UX rating will always be displayed higher in the search listing.
Cloud based providers are able to provide organizations with superior quality of services in terms of responsiveness, experienced IT staff, faster systems recovery after failures and scalable infrastructure. When you contract with a cloud based provider to host your site, you are invariably able to ensure loading times that are consistently lower than competitor websites based on traditional hosting. By achieving this, you are also able to sustain high UX ratings for your site, helping to keep the page ranks with search engines consistently high.
The ‘Local’ Hosting Advantage
One more factor taken into account by search engines while calculating page rank is related to how the hosting location compares with the location where the search is being run. Search engines give priority to locally hosted servers when calculating page rank. For instance, if a user is looking for golf clubs in the UK, seller sites with a.uk extension would be listed higher up when compared to sites with a .de extension or a .com extension.
Before the advent of cloud computing, companies used to purchase domain names and maintain separate web-sites in order to cater to users from different geographies. With cloud hosting providers, this process has become very intuitive and easy, given that the nature of cloud hosting automatically lends itself to making multiple geo sites available at low cost. By improving the ease and availability of local hosting, cloud hosting helps improve the opportunities for a web site to get a high rank during searches.
When a search engine calculates the ranking for a web-site or page, one of the avenues for a significant negative impact on ranking is from bots or malicious programs which tap your site’s content in inappropriate and illegal ways.
For example, scraping bots are responsible for a lot of the duplicated content that we see on the internet. The instances we are talking about are those where you see that a website’s content has been exactly duplicated on another site. By scrawling through the site, copying content and publishing them on another site, not only are these scraping bots stealing your content and links, they are also increasing the possibilities for confusion among internet users regarding which site represents the actual web site. Not only does scraping affect the search engine rank for your website, it also negatively impacts your business’s reputation among internet users.
One more type of bots which causes significant amount of damage to your SEO ranking is the link spamming category of bots. Anytime you are opening up the stories on your site for comments or have a discussion forum on your site, these link spammer bots can automatically insert links which are often malicious. You would have seen several such links on the web which invite you to click a particular link to get more information on how to make $$$$$ every day by clicking ads.
Most such links are malicious and their presence on a site is considered negatively by search engines. Search engines maintain specific Trust and Authority ratings for all web sites which are one of the factors taken into account while calculating the rank of a website. Whenever such links are found on a website, Trust and Authority ratings get downgraded which causes page rankings for the website to go down for all related keywords.
Given that cloud hosting providers host your site in a professional and technically sophisticated manner, several advanced tools are employed by providers to protect the site against bot attacks. The use of these tools helps to avoid impacts from bot attacks and consequent hits to your page rankings.
Sophisticated tools and solutions for managing SEO
The fundamental concept of cloud hosting is that IT systems, sites and resources are better located at remote locations where specialized providers can provide higher quality of services and maintenance. By locating all infrastructure at one place, providers are able to deliver cost advantages arising from scale and also provide flexible capacity. In addition, cloud hosting providers also provide management consoles, dashboards and tools that provide powerful capability to manage web sites remotely.
Particularly for SEO, cloud hosted websites come with advanced management consoles and tools to optimize strategy. These utilities can help you implement uniquely customized SEO strategies. Cloud hosted providers are also able to provide web logs and user activity logs for web-sites in a form that is amenable for analysis. Such logs can provide critical input when looking at how well your SEO strategy is working.
For example, consider the case where a smartphone servicing company located in Philadelphia wants to look at data related to the first 5 web-site pages navigated by users who enter from Google off a specific search string (For instance, the string Samsung galaxy S7 service Philadelphia). The advanced reporting and logging capabilities provided by Cloud hosting providers can help access such detailed reports.
The data in these reports can then be compared against data related to pages navigated by users who entered off the same search string but from the Bing search engine. Analysis of this data can clearly bring out the differentiation in SEO capability needed to work with these two search engines.
By way of another useful comparison, this data can also be examined against data related to the pages navigated by users from Google but with a different search string (Samsung service Philadelphia). Such a comparison goes to the heart of what SEO strategy is all about – Analysis related to search strings more effective in driving user engagement and user conversion and how this analysis may be leveraged to improve SEO effectiveness. The tools, data and reports provided by cloud hosting help move data driven SEO strategy from the arena of conjecture to actually being possible.
Ability to better serve mobile
The most important trend in internet computing from the last couple of years is the increasing dominance of smartphone driven internet access. With a majority of Google searches already happening from smartphones, this is not a trend to be taken lightly in the context of SEO strategy.
Given that smartphones have smaller screens, limited computing capacity and suffer limitations of battery life, a website that is served to a smartphone can be very different in form and function from the same site served to a desktop. When hosting is done in the cloud, a lot of advanced analytics and data are made available from the provider that is specific to servings for smartphones. This kind of data can be extremely valuable to customize SEO strategy for the mobile web.
To quote one instance, providers can take the rigmarole of providing reports related which mobile browser is enabling the maximum number of user conversions for a particular search string when run only from iPhones. That’s the kind of data and analytics capability that can take your mobile SEO strategy to the next level.
While content remains the core of SEO related tuning and strategy, cloud hosting and the features it provides can themselves help improve the effectiveness of your SEO strategy by leaps and bounds.
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