While it’s still open to debate on any given day, up to a third of Google searches are for local businesses. The search engine provider has also stated that local searches on mobile devices are growing fifty-percent faster than other types of queries.
If you own a local small or medium size business, you could be losing hundreds, even thousands of potential customers if your web hosting isn’t up-to-par. Considering we’re in the middle of yet another online boom period (ie., local search), you need to make sure your SEO plan is leaving nothing to chance.
What’s up-to-par mean when considering hosting providers?
Both factors matter regardless of whether you’re a brick-and-mortar or a strictly online enterprise. However, for the small business local SEO specialists out there, all it takes is a second or two of lag in your host’s servers, or straight up downtime, and you’ve just lost a customer who’s currently in your geographic area looking for what you offer!
Google has clearly stated they no longer give weight to the physical location of your host server IP address. This was a limiting factor prior to 2012, when the need to have a country-specific server IP prevented local businesses from seeking out the fastest and most reliable hosting plans they could – unless they were lucky enough to be surrounded by bullet-proof data centers!
While Google does state that server IP is a very ‘low-weight’ signal of some sort, they also recognize that the availability of laser-fast, geotargeted Content Display Networks (CDNs) often makes it more practical for any and all businesses to seek out the fastest servers possible, regardless of their physical server locations (source):
“Some websites use distributed content delivery networks (CDNs) or are hosted in a country with better webserver infrastructure, so it is not a definitive signal.”
The point I want to make here is that who you host with makes a huge impact on your business, and since Google really only cares that your host server is fast and offers excellent up-time there’s no reason not to find the very best choice possible. A host who can satisfy your need for lightning fast page load speed, and 99.9% uptime, such as Bluehost, HostGator, or GreenGeeks – you name it.
Local businesses don’t have time to babysit their host
Listen, you just don’t have the time or resources to waste on a host that can’t offer superb speed and excellent uptime. Local businesses have enough to worry about from an SEO perspective, doing anything and everything they can to rank better, get great reviews, etc. For instance, things like auditing everything you’re doing and keeping up on all the changes Google and her minions are constantly rolling out.
By the way, were you affected by the Possum update that rocked the local SEO world late last year? If so, and I’m assuming you were, did you end up on the winning end of the SERPs, or were you left running around like a chicken with their head cut off looking for answers?
Basically, the actual SEO grunt work falls on you and your team. There’s simply too much of it to outsource everything. And, you still need to run your actual storefront while people are searching for and trying to connect to your site!
You don’t have time for a laggy host whose only available by email from 9 – 5 GMT, who only offers canned excuses whenever they go down, and can never really seem to get their crap together.
I don’t care how much you’re saving, you’re losing untold profits and brand building opportunities!
Say a prospective customer is in your area of town looking for a great place to take their family out for some pizza, fish and chips, fine dining, buy some clothing – whatever. You offer that service, and you’ve crossed all the I’s and dotted all the T’s with respect to mobile optimization, keyword optimization, local citation building, pandering for reviews, social signals, and more.
So why can’t that user find you on the top of Google maps or via local search listings?
It’s because your host has been letting you down. People search for and find your site, only to get kicked off because your host just went down. They click on your site then get tired and click off to another site because your site won’t load after 5 seconds.
There are more reliable and affordable hosting solutions out there than have ever existed in the history of the Internet
If your current host isn’t cutting the mustard, they might as well be robbing directly from your cash register while one of their partners in crime stands out front telling people they can get better quality than what you offer across the street!
How does your host stack up?
Or, have you even been paying attention?