How Does Cloud Hosting Affect SEO?

June 27, 2017 Off By Hoofer
Finding any way to give your website an edge against the competition is a top priority for many businesses and brands. While the fundamentals of search engine optimization remain the same over time, many minute changes lead to shifts in how – or if – select pages are ranked in search.

While Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines all have their specific algorithms and formulas, most imitate one another to some extent. Because of this, improving your SEO performance across all search engines is relatively straightforward. Nevertheless, it still takes time and patience to produce noticeable results.

One area where many brands have wondered about the implications of SEO is in cloud hosting. What are the ramifications of using a cloud-based hosting system and what are the potential benefits? Today, we’ll review the ways that cloud hosting can affect your broader SEO strategy so that you can decide whether making the switch is worth it.

Better Geographic Targeting

For those familiar with the aspects of local SEO, awareness about the need for geographic targeting is a prerequisite. What some do not know is that the same broader tenets affect SEO as a whole as well.

A seemingly countless number of websites can be found with any given search, but what you’re delivered by search engines is only a fraction of the potentially relevant results. Search engines automatically filter results (without additional prompting) to those that are both geographically relevant and country-specific. This means that you’re not likely to see results containing Indian-based companies when searching for a service provider while located in the U.S.

Cloud-based hosting can be one way to ameliorate this problem and reach a broader audience. Due to the fact that many cloud hosting services offer servers all over the world, your website can be served up through any number of available servers. This means that your website – if optimized in all other aspects – will be more likely to rank for results outside of an otherwise limited geographic search zone. Reading through testimonials for a variety of SEO firms like HOTH Reviews reveals that an increasing number of clients are specifically requesting cloud-based hosting for this benefit.

Faster Loading Pages

Most search engines consider page loading speed a top priority in how they rank various websites in their SERPs. While page loading speed may not produce a direct correlation in the ranking of your website, it does by default affect things indirectly.

Since search engines are opting to provide users with the most pleasant and relevant experience possible, they tend to reduce visibility for websites that fail to serve up an adequate experience. Page loading speed – particularly on mobile devices – can be a big deal, affecting how people view your brand. The longer a page takes to load, the higher your bounce rate becomes. This increase in bounce rates indicates to search engines that people – in some way, shape or form – are not "interested" in your website after having arrived. This negatively impacts your standing.

Likewise, we can assume that a fast loading time improves SEO by reducing these negative metrics. Cloud hosting utilizes the efficiency and distribution of resources across a wide area to always serve up every page in the fastest possible time. Much like we touched on earlier, somebody accessing your page from a given country will be routed through a server closest to them, reducing loading times by a relatively small amount. However, even milliseconds can make a huge difference in user experience scores that search engines assign to websites based on this metric and others.

Increased Security

With more websites – and would-be hackers – than ever before, website security is arguably one of the most important elements of online brand management. One slip-up or vulnerability can wreak havoc not only on your internal operations, but on your ability to effectively reach customers and visitors via search engines.

With cloud-based hosting, you are likely to have added layers of security that do not come standard with other hosting providers. For starters, one of the most common website attacks – DDoS attacks – are usually thwarted by cloud hosting resources dedicated to shifting available resources around between servers. This means that even if your site is attacked, it will still be accessible due to the numerous servers being operated by the cloud hosting company.

Another form of protection that most cloud hosting services provide is protection from unwanted bots and crawlers. While some crawlers are absolutely necessary for indexing purposes, other "visitors" may have more malicious intent. One example is scraping bots, which aim to rip the content off of your site as soon as it is published and repackage it as their own. This can harm your SEO standing and leave you appearing to be the one who duplicated the content. It is definitely a good idea to verify whether any cloud hosting solution provides this protection before signing any commitment.

Potential Negatives

With three of the biggest advantages of cloud hosting covered, you may be wondering what negatives exist. As it turns out, there are a few.

The first is sheer cloud hosting cost: cloud hosting can be quite more expensive than standard forms of hosting. For the smallest of businesses, switching to the cloud may not yet make sense from a financial standpoint.

Another potential downside is reliability. If your hosting provider has a prolonged period of downtime, then your website is completely unavailable to the world, unlike in situations where you host your own website locally.

Lastly, some cloud hosting companies do not provide flexibility to clients with respect to what apps and infrastructures can be used. You’ll either have to figure out a way to make various functions work without them or do without entirely.

For a lot of businesses and brands, cloud hosting is a great idea. Even when factoring in cost, downtime and flexibility concerns, the fact that it can provide faster loading times, increased security and better overall reach makes the service appealing to a large swath of webmasters.