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Aspiration Hosting ASPIRE™ plan
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Host Metro Business Max Hosting plan
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CoolHandle Starter plan
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What is SEO?

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the process by which owners of websites make their content as attractive as possible, in order to make it rank highly in relevant searches on search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

The internet is a very, very big place. In fact, it is so big that no one really even knows how big it is. The range of estimates vary widely, but they center on a billion. A billion websites. That's 20 times as many books as the entire collection of the New York Public Library. 

Search Engines use automated programs (sometimes called Bots or Spiders) to browse the internet, and then create a gigantic (a billion sites) index of their content. Then they use a number of techniques to figure out which of those billion websites might be the most relevant search results when someone opens up a web browser and types in "Vegetarian Chili Recipes" or "Best Web Hosting for WordPress." 

We can divide SEO practices into two general categories: On-page content SEO and off-site SEO activity.

On-page content SEO

The most important aspect of Search Engine Optimization is good on-page content. Search engines want to be able to look at a page and determine what the page is about, and how high-quality that content is likely to be.

Good for SEO

  • Single-topic articles between 500 and 1000 words, lots of them, on related subjects.
  • Relevant cross-linking between articles as well as links off-site to relevant content.
  • Clear keyword use in the title of the page, within section headings, and in the URL.
  • Fluently-written and original text. (Yes, they have algorithms that can detect this.)
  • Clean HTML markup.
  • Structured data when appropriate, such as the FaceBook's Open Graph protocol or's markup.
  • Images with relevant alt text, captions, and file names.
  • Semantically named structural markup. For example, labeling menus and footers as such.

Bad for SEO

  • Broken or incomplete markup.
  • Accidentally hiding content from search engines through Flash or AJAX features.
  • Deliberately hiding content from humans through things like hidden text and same-color backgrounds.
  • Outdated page structures, such as using tables for layout.

Off-site SEO activity

Search engines analyze your on-page content to determine what it is about and if it is likely to be of high quality. How do they determine that it is relevant? Primarily, by looking at who else links to it, and how they do so. 

When one website links to another website, search engines consider it a "vote" in favor of that website. They consider it a small sign that at least one person thinks that this webpage is worth looking at. The more links a site gets, the more credible it appears to be. On top of that, the more credible a site gets, the more its votes (links) count. If a very famous site links to your blog, that does more for your SEO than if a little-known site does so. 

Social media activity has an impact as well. If a lot of people share a link on Facebook, and then a lot of other people like that link, search engines consider this a sign that the link refers to a high-quality site that people want to see.

How can good hosting help SEO?

Search engines want to deliver excellent, highly relevant content, regardless of where it is hosted. There's no magic that a hosting company can do, but there are a handful of ways in which your hosting platform can help your SEO.

Speed: increasingly, search engines care about speed. They want pages to load as quickly as possible. Most of the speed improvements possible for "normal" content websites come from code, not hardware. If you don't have a great handle on how to (for example) optimize queries on a WordPress site, or how to use a Content Delivery Network, you'll get a lot more improvement from that than from trying to buy your way into a faster website by getting onto a faster host. 

On the other hand, some of the best, fastest hosting platforms also provide a number of tools and tricks for speeding up database queries and code execution. The difference between a standard WordPress install running on a discount host and an optimized WordPress deployment on a high-quality development platform can be astounding.

Stability: outages have a very bad impact on SEO. A good web host will maintain a very high level of uptime. Additionally, if you ever do make it to top of Google, or get a mention on the front page of BuzzFeed, you need your website to not buckle under the weight of a sudden influx of traffic.

Ease of Management: ultimately, SEO is about creating good content and helping the world find it. If you are spending so much time dealing with your web host, chasing down bugs and tweaking settings, that you lose focus on the important part of your business, you'll fall behind. The best web host for SEO is the one that will get out of your way and let you do your job.

SEO Tips

Despite its status as a mysterious strategy for marketing a website, search engine optimization is actually not that difficult to complete on your own - you just need to know the right fields to edit and the right keywords to put in there.

Below are some of the most important areas of your website to edit as you are optimizing your website for success in the search engines.

Title tag

In search engine optimization, your title tag is one of the most important areas to tweak for ranking improvements of your website. A general rule of thumb for title tag optimization is to start the tag with the most important, most generic keyword phrase you want the page to rank for ("Web Hosting" or "Funny T-shirts," for instance) and then add a descriptive phrase or series for keywords ("For Wordpress Websites" or "For Adults And Children") to further describe the topic of the page.

Be sure to include your brand name in the title tag also and try to limit the number of characters to between 50 and 70 characters in length.

Content Headings

On the Internet, content headings and subheadings break up the text on a webpage. There are user benefits to this because it can make text easier on the eyes and help users to scan a page of information to read more efficiently.

However, optimizing your content headings with keywords can also provide benefits to help your pages rank better in the search engines. Consider writing your page headings and content subheadings with your target keyword phrases as close to the front of the headings as possible. 

For example, "Web Hosting For Wordpress: Reviews And Rankings Of The Best Web Hosts" or "Funny T-shirts: The Most Popular Funny Shirts For Adults And Children!"

Internal Linking

Most search engines crawl the links included in the content of your website and use the text of the links as a way to better understand the topic of a webpage. 

If your website is about a specific topic (web hosting or t-shirts, for example), it is a good idea for your SEO campaign to add links to your pages about "Wordpress Web Hosting" or "Funny T-shirts" in articles, blog posts, or other pieces of content where you talk about "Wordpress" or "funny" items.

SEO Hosting Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is SEO?

    SEO stands for "search engine optimization. It is a process to help webpages rank as highly as possible in search engines.

  • What are organic search results?

    Organic search results are listings on the search engine results page that appear solely because they are relevant to the search terms — as opposed to paid search results, which are essentially paid advertisements.

    The SEO industry revolves around affecting visibility of the unpaid listings in the SERPs (search engine results pages).

  • Where can I learn about SEO?

    Google isn't the only search engine on the web, but it is the most popular, and the most sophisticated. A good place to start is the Google Search Console.

    There are also a lot of websites dedicated to SEO like Moz.

  • What is the Google Search Console?

    Google Webmaster Tools, rebranded as Google Search Console in 2015, is a service to help you optimize a website.

    It gives you access to data, tools, and diagnostics to help you optimize your website for Google's web crawler. There you can find free SEO training, which includes technical advice on: hosting, keyword research, web development, and lots more.

  • What is Google Analytics?

    Google Analytics is the most popular analytics tool on the market. It is freemium tracking software available to anyone with a Google+ account. You can monitor traffic on your website, and view statistics on things like the number of daily visitors on a page.

  • Is affiliate marketing bad for SEO?

    Search engines do detect affiliate links, but it should not affect your page rankings as long as your page adds value and is not just affiliate links.

  • Is SEO for mobile different?

    The technical principles of optimizing a website for mobile devices aren't much different from optimizing for desktops.

    Two things you may want to consider optimizing is latency, and user experience (readability, responsive design).

    You can use Google's Mobile-Friendly Test to see if a web page is easy to view on mobile devices.

  • How important is link building?

    Crawlers analyze links to find new web pages, and to determine the rank of web page. Web crawlers like GoogleBot place high importance on links. Links from reputable websites can help you, while links to sites deemed untrustworthy can hurt your rankings.

  • Where can I test my site's performance?

    You can use Google's PageSpeed Tools to see how well your site performs on mobile and desktop. The Google Search Console also has a number of diagnostic tools you can use to determine what areas of your website you can improve.

  • Does Google's PageRank still matter?

    The Google PageRank Toolbar is no longer part of the browser. But the PageRank algorithm is still enormously important to a page's ranking.

  • Should I upload an XML sitemap?

    Yes, it is still good practice to upload an XML sitemap to a search engine. Modern search engines don't require a sitemap in order to index your web pages, but doing so can help search engines index your pages faster.

  • Do I need to submit my site to a search engine?

    No, you don't need to submit your site to a search engine, but it is good practice to do so — especially if you have a new website that isn't well linked. Search engines make this easy, all you need to do is enter the URL into a form.

  • How long does it take to see the results of SEO efforts?

    Your SEO efforts can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to reflect in the SERPs. Ongoing SEO marketing campaigns, and branding efforts can take much longer to materialize.

  • How has SEO changed over the years?

    SEO has become more intricate as web crawlers have evolved. Indexing is much faster, more accurate, and more detailed. The quality of links is more important than in the past, as well as the importance of having a mobile-friendly website.

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