What is SEO Hosting?

Hosting a website is relatively simple but so many website design companies get this so wrong!

Simply publishing a website from a web server is child’s play but hosting the website in a manner that the search engines deem appropriate and optimised requires a little more effort.

Search Engines HATE duplicated content

The search engines have made it quite apparent and even openly declared that they heavily penalise sites offering duplicated content, unfortunately many website owners are unaware that they actually have this problem due to their hosting provider. Here are a few tips:

Does your website display for http://www.yoursite.com and http://yoursite.com ?

Your website should always direct to one or the other and NEVER both. For example if you go to http://designer-websites.co.uk you will see that it redirects you properly to http://www.designer-websites.co.uk

If you allow the website to be shown for both addresses then your website content is effectively available as 2 websites, which will almost certainly incur a penalty from the search engines.

Also redirecting the domain appropriately from one to the other needs to be done correctly, many companies attempt this and get it wrong. The redirecting needs to be completed as what’s called a ‘301 redirect’, which simply tells the search engines that it is a permanent redirect. Again a mistake with this usually forces a ‘302 redirect’, which again will likely incur further penalties.

Do you have multiple domains?

If so do you allow your main website to be displayed at these domains? Many companies make this mistake or have been ill-advised about this subject. As with the point above your main website should only ever be displayed for 1 domain; you can have multiple domains redirecting to your primary domain but it MUST be done as a ‘301 redirect’ so that the content of the website is not displayed for multiple domains, otherwise your site will incur yet more penalties.

Your website MUST handle errors appropriately

The search engines need your website to handle errors properly so that it does not index broken links, but also to ensure that your website offers its users appropriate navigation through your website. Here are a few tips:

Does your website display an appropriate error page for incorrectly entered web addresses or broken links?

If you go to any of the following you will see an appropriate error page:

  • www.designer-websites.co.uk/gobledegook
  • www.designer-websites.co.uk/blahblah.htm
  • www.designer-websites.co.uk/nopagehere.aspx
  • www.designer-websites.co.uk/blahblah.html
  • www.designer-websites.co.uk/nopagehere.php

When an error occurs not only do you want to offer assistance to your website users and direct them back to the main site but you NEED to prevent the search engines from creating indexed pages for non-existent pages. If you are appropriately handling the errors you will be completing a ‘301 redirect’ to your error handling page, which informs the search engines that they should not index that page.

There are many types of errors that can occur when hosting a website; these MUST be handled appropriately so as not to incur further penalties.

Search engines love fast, reliable and professional dedicated hosting

The quicker your website downloads the better it is for the end user (client) and also the better for the search engine spiders. Search engines index website pages by sending spiders to your website to scan the content and report that back to their indexing servers. When these spiders visit your website they have a limited time to get what they need, if your website takes a long time to load then the spiders may never index all of your website content. So you need a website that can serve that content quickly and respond to the users and spiders very quickly, thus a powerful web server is required with a large amount of bandwidth and processing power.

Hosting can be very cheap, some companies offer hosting for as little as £5 per month, but this usually offered on a bulk shared hosting server ,potentially hosting thousands of websites, all competing for the bandwidth and processing power. However there is one MASSIVE drawback with cheap hosting solutions.. who do you think these scam sites, porn sites, illegal gambling sites etc. use for hosting, more expensive dedicated hosting or cheap-as-possible solutions? Usually these sites are only around for a couple of months before being banned, so what do you think happens to your site if it is sharing a server with these types of sites? Yes.. outright bans on the IP Address of the server or at the very least more penalties.

Cheap hosting solutions don’t include backups and disaster recovery. Cheap hosting solutions don’t allow proper handling of domains, errors and redirecting.

If you are serious about your business and really want search engine optimisation you should not use cheap hosting solutions; it could be the most detrimental decision you make.

Search engines prefer URL rewriting

URL rewriting is simply changing a website URL from something like “www.designer-websites.co.uk/myfantasticwebsitedesign.aspx” to something like www.designer-websites.co.uk/website-design. There are 2 reasons we would do this:

  1. It is easier to remember for regular users of the website (search engines like this)
  2. It allows the website to utilise keywords for your business

As with all technical aspects of hosting, this type of URL rewriting is often implemented incorrectly. You need to ensure once again that this is done as a ‘301 redirect’ (permanent).

Testing proper redirecting methods

If you want to test your website to check if it’s utilising proper techniques for redirecting and URL Rewriting you can do so here: http://www.seoconsultants.com/tools/headers.asp

Final piece of advice

The search engines simply want to provide a good service to their clients (search engine users) and want to push the best websites onto these clients. They are not really interested in your business on an individual basis, after all your website is not their primary concern, their goal is simple, when someone types “website design in Cardiff” into their search engine they want to show them the most appropriate results wherever possible. As business owners we know how valuable the top spots in these search engines are, thus we simply must adhere to the guidelines and preferences of the search engines and hope that they pick our sites to display for the appropriate searches.

There are many other technical issues with professional hosting versus cheap hosting but that is beyond the scope of this document; maybe we’ll post more on that subject soon.

Designer Websites provide a free review for business websites, during which we examine your hosting solution and domain handling techniques. If you would like take us up on this no obligation offer contact us today.

Perhaps one of the most interesting observations about website  design is the way in which they have evolved over the years. Rather than being a linear progression, the changes in website design have varied and even come full-circle. Starting off by presenting text for the most part, they then went on to host images and animations as well as - or, in some cases, instead of - text. However in recent years, traditional text-based websites have made a comeback.

Of course, there’s a very good reason for this evolution, which looks somewhat unusual on the surface. When the World Wide Web made its debut in the 90s, Internet connection speeds were much slower than they are today and so websites were developed to contain mostly text: anything more and there could be long loading times. As things went on, Internet connections grew faster and could handle larger files, such as images and eventually animations. When animations entered the fold, multimedia platforms such as Flash encouraged companies and their designers to develop their websites to look pretty, eye-catching and - forgive the pun - “flashy”.

With the birth of Broadband Internet access, online browsing speed is even faster these days, yet many companies have dropped their animated-based sites in favour of more text-based websites. Why? Three words: Search Engine Optimisation.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of increasing traffic to a website via the search engines. There are many factors influencing how this can be obtained and therefore many different techniques can be implemented, but one of the most important factors is that search engines crawl text, so a text-based website will fair far better in the search engine results over those that focus heavily on animations.

SEO is on its way to becoming a standard practice for every business website - even for the big brands, who are scared of losing customers to higher-ranking competitors. Those who implement SEO into their website last will inevitably be left behind.

Even though many website designers prefer to create websites with animations instead of text it is foolish to do so at the cost of online enquiries. The key to perfect website design is a good-looking site that also performs well in the search engine, not placing too much emphasis on one and sacrificing the other.

Leading Catering Company 'The Producers' goes live with new website

The Producers Catering are a superb corporate and private function catering supplier. Designer Websites were contracted to design and develop a new website for the company, which can now be found live at http://www.theproducerscatering.com. we thoroughly recommend trying their delicious food!

What is Website Optimisation (SEO) ?

Website optimisation describes the process of making a website more popular on the Internet and more specifically the Search Engines like Google and Yahoo. In order to achieve good website optimisation we need to analyse the competition on the Internet in your business area, identify keyword phrases for your business, and then optimise your website for the chosen keywords. We also need to identify your target audience and potentially their location. Essentially if you want your website to be found by your chosen target audience, you must optimise your website appropriately.

As well as the keyword optimisation important considerations are: quality of build for your website, URL re-writing, domain handling, error handling, cross browser compatibility, website hosting etc. In fact these more technical issues are at least as important as getting the keywords right.

So why optimise my website?

The reason to optimise your website is simple; there are hundreds of millions of websites out there on the big bad World Wide Web, it is likely that your business will be competing with thousands of these websites. Just like any business it is difficult to compete globally or even nationally, yet the Internet provides exactly this level of coverage, but do you need to compete on this level? unless you optimise your website you will in fact be attempting to compete on this grand scale, to do that successfully requires lots of work and a large budget. Having said that it is sometimes a requirement to compete globally and simply understanding how difficult this can be is half of the battle. Competing in a more local business area is easier and can achieve fantastic results. 

Simple example: if you are a small business based in Cardiff and you type into Google website design, let's say you get ten website design companies; the top two are for companies in Scotland and the next two are in Ireland, but the next one is in Cardiff – which one are you likely to do business with?

Another example: in the scenario you are still in Cardiff and you have typed wedding cake designer and you have ten results for companies all over the country but none in Wales, what do you do next? You change that search to wedding cake designer Cardiff or wedding cake designers wales, in fact this is now how most people search.

So whilst competing on a global or national level is far more appealing, the reverse usually yields the best results in terms of sales. With that in mind in most circumstances we encourage our clients to be the best in its locality first and foremost, and then after achieving great results and a high level of exposure on the Internet we can look at a wider audience.

For this reason our website is optimised for website design Cardiff, which yields the best sales results for us. It does not exclude us from competing nationally and we have dozens of clients outside of Wales to prove this, however, it does give us a much higher profile in our locality.

We always look at each client individually and provide advice appropriate to their business, often this advice is governed by the level of competition for their business type in the UK and the local region. we offer our advice free of charge with no obligation. if you would like to have a chat with someone regarding website optimisation please call us on 0845 272 6813.