If you’re a business you should have a website, and if you have a website you should be making some effort to optimize it for search. Recently cloud hosting has been added to the plethora of SEO tips out there, but is there anything to it? Check out the three points below to find out. In essence, even if cloud hosting doesn’t have a significant direct impact, you should probably be using it anyway.
1. Page load speed
Since 2010 Google have included site speed within their search algorithm. Though general consensus agrees that site speed is not the most critical factor when it comes to SEO, a really slow loading time is likely to lose you brownie points in the eyes of Google. Remember that Google is trying to encourage websites to deliver the best user experience; slow sites are disliked by internet users and therefore Google too.
To put this into some context, Amazon.com increased its revenue by 1% for every 100 milliseconds of load time improvement. According to Strangeloop, just a 1 second delay in page load time leads to 11% fewer page views and a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction. 57% of online customers will abandon a site after waiting just 3 seconds for it to load and 80% of these people will not return to the site. Speed is clearly very important to internet users and therefore is likely to affect your SEO.
According to webpronews.com, quick loading times don’t always affect ranking, but when it does it can affect it quite dramatically. Collated anecdotes from around the web tell stories of load time issues resulting in drops in organic referrals, whilst solving site performance issues resulted in traffic increases.
How is cloud hosting quicker than traditional hosting plans? To be clear, the cloud isn’t inherently quicker than an alternative, but the benefits it offers often mean that the limitations which can slow down websites aren’t an issue. Cloud hosting can function to put your site in multiple locations across the globe which speeds up access. It’s also scalable, so the issue of overstrained servers during traffic spikes is erased. Sure, you might be charged more by your cloud provider if you have an unusually high volume of traffic, but your site won’t slow down or stop responding.
2. Better for mobile
The rise of mobile technology has been rapid and far-reaching and now a visitor to your site is just as likely to be accessing it on a mobile phone as they are a desktop or laptop. This presents a new challenge for websites. Mobile users will generally be accessing the site on 3G which doesn’t offer much data compared to the size of most websites. That means you need a responsive, well-performing site to combat this (and a site designed for mobile).
In comes cloud hosting which can generally guarantee better uptime than other sites and gives your site the best chance of performing well on mobile. 50% of the average global mobile web users now use their mobile device as their primary or exclusive means of going online; you simply can’t afford to not optimize your site for mobile.
3. Because of Matt Cutts Magical Seal of Approval
If you know anything about SEO you will know that much of what’s going on at Google is shrouded in mystery and that every so often Matt Cutts will publish a video on Youtube which makes some vague allusions to what you should and shouldn’t be doing with your website. When Matt Cutts speaks the world of SEO listens, and he’s been promoting cloud computing for some time now. He’s published blog posts on “why cloud services rock” and during a video about “Big Changes to search in the next few years” he says:
“As more people get comfortable with online computing, more of them will choose to store their data from onsite hard drives and store it in the ‘cloud’. As a result, searching in the cloud for relevant information will become increasingly important.”
Of course, no one’s arguing that this is the primary reason you should switch to cloud hosting (Cutts says a lot of things), but paying attention to what Cutts says and following his advice isn’t likely to do you any harm when it comes to SEO.
And all the rest…
The main advantage of cloud hosting is that it offers reliability and scalability so that the hard work you have put in to developing the authority of your site isn’t threatened by poor performance and the chance of downtime.
All the generic benefits of cloud computing, which the IT industry has been shouting about for the past couple of years apply to cloud hosting. Couple that with the benefit of improved performance and you have a solution that may well serve your SEO needs better than alternatives.
Author: Richard Thompson, founder member and sales director at IT Support Company Central Technology. www.ct.co.uk