Overlooked Step In SEO

    April 5, 2006

Imagine spending countless hours optimizing your website only to discover that it’s still not ranking any higher.

What could possibly be holding your site back? After all your code is search engine friendly, the content has been rewritten to ensure its topic relevancy, and you’ve managed to score some pretty good links to your site.

If everything seems to be in place, you may be surprised to find out that you’ve overlooked a crucial step in the SEO process.

Just when you think you’re site is performing at its best you learn the awful truth – your web server is hindering your search engine ranking.

Selecting a server is often overlooked as a step in the SEO process. However, it is a crucial first step that each SEO professional should address when beginning any project. There are seven key areas that search engines now consider when ranking websites that could be affected by your web server.


Your web server’s guaranteed uptime is a major factor that can affect your site’s ranking. The uptime of your site is so important because if it isn’t up and running then there is no way for the search engine spiders to crawl your pages. To ensure that your site is at its best availability don’t settle for a web server that offers anything less than 99.9% uptime.

Name Servers

Do you know who else is on your name server? Well, even if you don’t know all of the major search engines do. They can identify all of the domain names with which you share a name server. This can be bad news for you ranking if you happen to share your name server with a large number of spam sites.

IP Classes

Search engines group websites into neighborhoods based on their IP addresses. A search engine can detect what types of websites are hosted on a Class C IP address, and you could be penalized if your site is mixed into a bad neighborhood.

Sharing an IP Address

Chances are that you are just one of the many clients that your web server has assigned to a single IP address. This could mean that you are in some bad company if one of those sites breaks the rules of one or more search engines then you run the risk of being banned with them. You see it is much easier for a spammer to obtain a new domain name than a new IP address so many search engines choose to ban the IP address instead of the domain name.

Response Time

Search engine spiders are busy programs and therefore have very limited time to crawl through each site. If your website has a slow response time then it will take longer to read each page and the spiders will have to move on before crawling all of your pages.

Date Modified Attribute

Another aspect of your web server to keep in mind is whether it supports the Date Modified attribute or not. Major search engines like Google are constantly checking the dates that documents are created to determine the average age of the documents on your site and how frequently pages are updated or changed. If your web server doesn’t support the Date Modified attribute then the search engines are unable to collect this pertinent information from your site.

301 Redirect Capabilities

Search engines see the www domain and the non-www domain as separate sites, but 301 redirects help to avoid the possibility of duplicate content penalties. Ideally, your server should automatically issue a 301 server site redirect to any request made for a non-www domain that forwards users to the www domain.

Check out your web hosting server to determine if your host is keeping your ranking down. Ask them about these important factors to see where their service stands. Were they selective when you signed up for hosting or were they willing to give up the space without asking any questions?

On the other hand, if you are a web host keeping these criteria in mind can help you to provide a better quality service to your customers. Services that determine whether or not your servers are SE friendly are available from SEO Certified Servers.

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Elizabeth Catalanotto is a representative of SEO Certified Servers, http://www.seocertifiedservers.com. Increase the reliability of your hosting server with the services of SEO Certified Servers.