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While content and links can affect your website's search engine visibility, your web server can also play a big role in how search engines view your website. The key here is to make sure that you're serving up pages fast and you're serving them up reliably. Remember, a search engine is trying to give its users the best experience possible, and sending them to a page on a server that's down half the time, or that takes an eternity of load, is not going to be a quality experience. First and foremost, a web server is just a computer. And the performance of any computer relies in part on the hardware and the resources that it has available.
Things like the number and type of processors, the amount of memory, the quality of the network, and the connection to the Internet can all be important. You'll want to talk to the people responsible for hosting and managing your web server to make sure the resources are appropriate to serve pages quickly and minimize any downtime. The physical location of your Web server can also affect your search engine visibility. As visitors interact with your website, search engines will often collect data around how fast all the elements of your pages are loading for them. If a visitor is in one country and your web server is located on the other side of the world, the page may be loading very slowly, which is a concern for search engines.
This might seem crazy, but it actually happens quite often. Hosting your site halfway across the world might offer financial benefits, but it also might hurt your ability to quickly serve pages. Generally, you'll want to make sure that your Web server is geographically located where most of your potential website visitors will come from. If you expect your visitors to be coming from all over the world, you may want to consider a web hosting solution that can help distribute requests for your pages across a global network of computers. And even if you're serving up pages locally, you may want to consider speeding things up by using content delivery networks, or CDNs, to help serve big files, like images and videos, from these servers located all over the world.
Another thing that will help your pages load quickly is caching. Your website may be configured to pull content and other information from a database on your web server every time a user requests one of your pages. Content management systems like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla!, and more work this way, and virtually every product page you've ever seen on an ecommerce site is being constructed from calls to a database. One way to minimize the time-consuming database workload in these situations is to enable server-side caching.
This is where your web server interacts with your database only once in order to generate a given page. And then it saves a copy of that content on the server for a period of time. Once that copy has been made, each subsequent view of that page will load the content that's been saved on the server bypassing any redundant database work. Many content management and ecommerce systems have plug-ins or settings built in to help you accomplish this. Last, but not least, you'll want to make sure that your web server is consistently running and never experiencing any downtime.
If your server is constantly down, search engines will consider your site unreliable, and they won't want to suggest it to their users. Remember, search engines are emulating people, and they're trying to reward what we like and penalize what we don't. And one thing that people don't like is a slow loading page or a server down error message.
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