SEO Advantages of a Virtual Server

The temptation to use free web hosting poses several problems to a website owner, especially when it comes to SEO. In fact, it’s a flat out bad idea for entrepreneurs who are serious about their business and seek high search rankings. Despite cutting hosting expenses to or near zero, the main consequences are that the owner will not be completely in control of the site and that search engines may not take the site seriously.

Shared Servers

Now that search engines are consistently updating their algorithms to weed out useless or harmful sites, it’s important for serious web owners to not fall into the trap of being placed on a shared server with email spammers or hacked sites spreading viruses. A shared server that accommodates multiple free hosted websites presents problems for legitimate sites with expanding content. Limited web space and slower loading speeds work against SEO, which favors fast-loading sites with deep content.

Even though Google SEO expert Matt Cutts said in 2006 that PageRank is not affected by whether or not a site is hosted on a shared or dedicated server, much has changed since then as search engines have adjusted their algorithms. PageRank, for example, is no longer a big factor in Google’s search results. Meanwhile, Google has penalized “black hat” sites. While they still don’t release information on over 200 factors that affect their rankings, it’s clear that it’s not a good idea to be anywhere near sites operating black hat schemes.

Virtual Managed Hosting

A safer approach for business is to upgrade to a virtual managed server, which provides much more web space and will likely load much faster. The biggest advantage to having unlimited web space is that it allows the website to grow indefinitely, which is partly what search engines are looking for. Sites that are constantly updated while retaining  historical evergreen content tend to rank much better than small sites that rarely update.

Using a virtual managed hosting plan will likely be more secure and give the owner more flexibility and control, such as owning the domain name. Sites that stay up to date with SEO and offer fresh content are seen as more authoritative in search engines and have a better chance of high rankings. One way of testing this theory is to enter keywords in search engines for various subjects and see what shows up the best. Chances are, the top ranked sites have their own dedicated domains.

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