The simplest answer to this common question – does changing web hosting impact your website’s SEO is – yes, mostly. In many cases, shifting to a new web hosting will have an impact on your website’s SEO, long-term strategy, and its visibility across search engines, which may be positive or negative. Everyone hopes it to be a positive one, however, this might not be the case always. Sometimes, the process and action of switching hosting do not work as planned, leading to a drop in rankings on the SERPs, which further translates to decreased website traffic and poorer performance.
Moreover, in some cases, switching to a new server location may even impact the user experience negatively. We’ll discuss this in detail in addition to other effects of changing web hosting on the website’s SEO in the points below.
Impact of Changing Web Hosting on Website’s SEO
1. Lower ranking due to changed server location
Google, ever since its inception, has been making every effort to organize search results based on relevance – one of these being the location from where the search originates. In essence, the results that a search would produce in a certain country will prioritize the websites located in that country.
Initially, Google was relying on Top Level Domains (TLDs) to accomplish this, however, now it has also started using IP addresses for determining the websites’ location. Doing so has enhanced the quality of search results dramatically (in terms of location).
While changing web hosts or hosting locations, it is best to consider your server’s location. If your website is focused on a certain country, such as the UK, your host and its infrastructure and servers should also be located there. Otherwise, your rankings may be affected significantly. However, if you are changing to a web host that is in the same country, then this should not affect your website.
2. Drop in ranking due to reduced page loading speed
When it comes to rankings, Google considers page loading speed, which can be measured using PageSpeed Insights. If your page takes more than a few seconds to load, you may observe a drop in your website’s ranking on SERPs (Search Engine Results Page).
When changing web host, scan through the strengths and weaknesses of the new web host carefully. Especially, if you want to sign up for a shared hosting account, it becomes even more important to scrutinize your web hosting provider and ensure that they provide high performance and security, and do not host a large number of websites on a single server.
3. Dip in ranking due to downtime
Changing your website hosting can result in downtime if not executed properly. Usually, this happens when a website is waiting for the DNS (Domain Name System) to propagate, which could take anywhere from 24 to 72 hours.
If your website is down during this period, then you can expect that its ranking has already been affected. The best way to prevent this is to have your website running on the old host while you are building an exact website on the new host. Once the DNS has been propagated fully, your website will continue to run smoothly without its rankings being affected.
4. Negative impact on SEO due to changing website structure
One of the significant reasons why you will need to create an exact duplicate of your website when moving to new hosting is – Google and other search engines may have a problem, or they may misinterpret the situation when it comes to changing the website structure. For instance, if you changed your CMS (Content Management System) and reconfigured your website’s structure, Google may see it as a new website, impacting your website’s SEO negatively.
If you are planning to shift your website to a new hosting, then it is best to consider and analyze the consequences before you take any step. The move may affect your website’s SEO positively, but again, there are chances that it may not, depending on the web host you choose. Therefore, it is important to choose a renowned web host provider like Bluehost that offers the required flexibility, and exclusive features like easy website migration, managed services, 24*7 expert support and more, all at an economical cost.