#526 SEO Hosting, Why you need it! (Interview w/ Top Sys Admin)
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Video Transcript
speakerMatt Bertram·00:12

Hi, welcome to the SEO podcast, the unknown secrets of internet marketing. My name is Matt Bertram. I am your host for today. Chris is out, but I have a special treat for you today. We’re going to be discussing, hosting with someone I admire and someone who has now joined our team formerly from Google, formerly from GoDaddy, we’ve actually spun out a division of EWR to launch it’s all our own hosting platform because we feel it’s so important. I want you all to welcome, William, how are you doing William? 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·00:53

Happy to be here. 

speakerMatt Bertram·00:55

Awesome. So I know you don’t get in front of the camera much or on podcasts, but I think that this is a unique time to be able to ask what the experts in the field questions that are burning in. Maybe a lot of digital marketers minds. I can tell you hosting is something that I’m sure comes up frequently and problems and issues with hosting and how to deal with things is something that I think all marketers and agencies want solved so they can get back to doing what they do best as marketing, because it certainly is a whole separate thing. Now, when you look though from the standpoint of marketing and hosting and web maintenance of all these other things, they really come together. When you look at like server side technical SEO or server side SEO or suicide optimization, sorry, and technical SEO. 

speakerMatt Bertram·01:57

I’m like mincing my words here a little bit, but I thought we could maybe explore some of those topics and maybe get into the nitty gritty for people. That aren’t interesting. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·02:09

Absolutely. What, what part do you want to cover first? 

speakerMatt Bertram·02:13

Well, first I want to back up and say that this episode is sponsored by Ahrefs. Ahrefs is a powerful and free tool to, for website owners who can’t afford a marketing budget and professional SEO tool, but needed organic traffic to the website. They also have great functionality on keywords and they’re updated very frequently versus other competitors. So you can stay up to date with what’s going on. There’s some great auditing and analysis tools. They also do have a completely free tool that is where you get most of the functionality, right? And it’s Ahrefs Forward slash webmaster dash tools. Or you can go to AH refs.com forward slash AWT search engine journal, which I write for wrote that it’s hard to believe that something as useful as this as free Ahrefs with managers tools is a killer service. And I would certainly agree. 

speakerMatt Bertram·03:49

So if you’re out there and you’re starting to get into SEO, or you want to see how your website’s doing, I would certainly encourage you to go check it out. All right. So William, I want to start asking you some SEO softball questions and maybe we’ll get a little bit more difficult. All right. So I would say that from a standpoint of where someone should spend their money first. Okay. When you’re looking at your marketing budget, I would argue to say that hosting is the most important thing that you should be doing, right? Why is that? Well, from an SEO standpoint, speed plays into the mix and user experience plays massively into the mix, right? 

speakerMatt Bertram·04:41

And so if you’re going to be spending, you know, thousands of dollars, hundreds of dollars, whatever, have you on marketing, you should work into optimizing and making sure your website is up, stays up and runs efficiently first and foremost. And that’s where I think the dollars should go. Can you talk a little bit about user experience and speed of why hosting might be important? 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·05:12

Yeah. So Google looks at the speed of a website, as well as the content layer ship to the website are the two big things that they’re looking for to determine where to rank. And we’ve seen this in sort of like unquestionably cut and dry situations with clients that had something malfunctioning with their website, such that it loaded slowly. And when that thing was malfunctioning on another provider, they went from literally middle of page one to middle of page four, over the time span of two or three days, like nothing else could possibly tank a website tracking that fast. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·05:55

And then once we got the website speed issues fixed, they went right back to middle of page one again, I mean, Google has made it abundantly clear that speed plays a heavy role in ranking as well as a mobile experience, as far as what they look for. I think a little bit of a misconception is that they are all about the page speed score and while they don’t release the exact details of what they use to rank and only use a page speed is kind of a north star. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·06:34

What they have come out and said is a therapy focused on core web vitals and page speed tips you off into what those two primary core web titles are, which are largest content, full paint and content leadership content layer shift is kind of a more complicated one and is basically as the webpage is loading, is content jumping around on the screen, such that you’re about to tap on something and then it suddenly moves out of your way. Largest content, full paint is how many seconds does it take to put up on the screen? 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·07:10

The majority of whatever’s supposed to be above the, as far as hosting plays, rule into all of that, having an efficiently structured website, having the right kind of optimization plugins and having a server that is able to respond to incoming connections to the website quickly is what’s going to make the largest difference on, especially that largest content pool paint. 

speakerMatt Bertram·07:40

Okay. So let’s break that down maybe into some different parts, right? So speed is important, right? Speed is important. How can you optimize or why do you need a good web hosting company? Like when you talk about SEO hosting, like what’s the difference between normal hosting and say SEO hosting? 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·08:03

Okay. So there are a number of different things that we do differently from what you would call a normal web hosting company on several different levels. And so the first one I’ll get into is going to be a pretty common practice called over provisioning web servers. This is something that almost every web hosting company does out there to some degree or another, and is kind of like a airline flight where they usually all sell a few more tickets. And the airplane actually has room for the differences that with web hosting, they don’t give you a voucher for a later flight, if you choose to volunteer for it. And instead they say, Hey, you three people are all going to have to share this one seat in economy. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·08:55

And then, so that’s what happens when things get over probation, they basically will put up a web server with thousands of customers on a single server and essentially hope for the best. And it just connections will happen when they happen, but your page will load slowly because of that. And so the first thing we did, 

speakerMatt Bertram·09:15

That’s shared hosting, right? That’s what shared hosting would be when people sign up, they have a business that they’re launching and they’re like, Hey, I’m getting hosting for, you know, seven bucks or 12 bucks or whatever. It’s because they’re on a server or on a plane with thousands of other people that have different amounts of traffic that are going in and on the website. And depending on how many people, what time of day it is, what type of websites, all that sort of thing will dictate how fast or they might throttle the website, right. From a speed standpoint. One of the things that I have questioned about that might be good to know is if you’re on a server with like in a neighborhood, right. 

speakerMatt Bertram·10:03

In a, not so good neighborhood with not so good traffic, you know, is that something that Google might look at from like a, you know, a hosting standpoint, or can Google parse that out? Like, or is that something that you need to worry about? Do you need to worry about who else you’re being hosted with? 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·10:23

I would say that a couple of things on that, I don’t think that Google strongly ranked based on if you will, the neighborhood, as in like, you’re on the same IP address as these other websites that are also on this IP address that have been behaving problematically, therefore we’re going to play your rankings. I haven’t seen a whole lot of evidence that Google does that. And there are a number of situations where it would be too complicated for them to practically do that. This such as any sort of like cloud-based firewall or CDN sort of provider, all of those use technologies that show is, you know, having a million websites behind the same quote unquote IP address. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·11:13

So I don’t think that Google ranks based on that having been said, one thing that is worth considering is that if you are in a neighborhood that is, let’s say, you know, experiences, a lot of break-ins, there’s probably things about that neighborhood that are also going to have your house as being one of the ones that’s broken in, as opposed to say, being in a gated community. And if none of your neighbors are ever getting their houses broken into you, probably not going to be worrying too much about whether or not your house is going to be at risk for getting broken. 

speakerMatt Bertram·11:57

So you’re talking about web maintenance. You’re talking about keeping everything on the server side up-to-date. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·12:04

Right. Well, so web maintenance and web security, both, and keeping things up to date is both a performance aspect and a security aspect. But on that security aspect, there’s certainly nothing that’s going to hurt rankings faster than having Google throw up a little tagline by your website that says proceed with caution. The site may be hacked. So that’s what I’m getting at is our, is a, the bad neighborhood thing goes it is sharing a server. It, if your website is running perfectly fast, is sharing a server with other websites going to in and of itself be a problem. No. Is sharing a server with other websites going that are regularly getting hacked. Cause for concern about what’s on the horizon for your website. Absolutely. 

speakerMatt Bertram·13:04

So, yeah, I think a lot of people don’t think about that. Don’t think about like, if they think about a property, they maintain that property. They might not think about a website in the digital space that way maybe you can talk a little bit about, you know, just basic best practices for, for web maintenance and web security. I know that from the web security standpoint today in today’s world, it blows my mind all the ways that things can get hacked. I know we saw a client that came to us that was luckily paying with PayPal. Right. So, so they were pushing it to a portal, but they had a functionality to be able to collect credit cards, but they weren’t doing it. 

speakerMatt Bertram·13:50

Someone had written a hack to actually catch those credit cards at like, as it kind of wasn’t like man in the middle, right? Like we’re not necessarily Capturing it, putting it in there. Right. You know? 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·14:03

Yeah. Basically what it was is if there hadn’t been using PayPal, the way this code would have acted is when you click the complete order button, it copies whatever you have in the credit card fields and sends it off to the bad guy. And that’s definitely the highest and most impactful sort of risk, you know, a perfect example of what can be catastrophic, especially because that kind of hack is not as likely to get flagged by Google. Mostly Google is looking for the kind of things where it’s like you click on this link and then as soon as you try and click anywhere on the page, it redirects you to some foreign website. What have you? 

speakerMatt Bertram·14:52


speakerWilliam Heimbigner·14:54

But that having been said, as far as what’s actually directly impactful to our business, you know, recovering from the, this site may be hacked thing. That’s a difficult and tough road that probably is going to hurt your rankings for potentially six or 12 months. After That, having that, having been said, having to be the guy that says, Hey, it’s my bad that all of you are having to change your credit card numbers. Now, that’s you, that’s far worse around business. I I’ll take six months of not being able to show up on Google over having to try and explain why I’m responsible for, you know, hundreds of instances of credit card fraud type of customers. 

speakerMatt Bertram·15:44

I think they’re both bad. I don’t, I don’t want to deal with either of those things. You know, I, I, I also think, you know, web security is good to bring up. There wasn’t there a hack that you found on another website that looked really benign, but was so intricate that you were connecting with the security professionals because it was kind of like a day zero hack or whatever, like no one had ever seen it before. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·16:13

Yeah, there was. So it was interesting because the version of this hack, the I’ve found was actually simplified and streamlined over what had been documented previously. Like this was a new iteration of code. It sort of like imagine that you have all of the computers in the world with like windows 98 on ’em and then suddenly you come across the first computer to ever that has windows seven on it. And you’re like, whoa, what’s this right? It’s the same authors clearly, but a, a newer version of that code. And yeah, what they had been exploiting was there was a popular WordPress plugin, the provides like add ons, you know, it’s in the same vein of things. There’s like element or Debbie, that kind of thing. And then there’s always ad-ons for these page builders. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·17:08

And it was one of those that I believe was free. And if you were to just look in WordPress plugins listed show you, it was up to date, which was accurate in the sense that it was on the latest version of the plugin that had come out four years ago, but that plugin had a vulnerability in it that allowed malicious actors to upload basically whatever code they wanted into the website. And so not only did they drop some of these redirection scripts and things like that on the website, they also use their own sort of custom backdoor for the website. So that even if you went and removed the redirection code, it would pop right back up because they’d just log right back into the WordPress site and put it right back there. 

speakerMatt Bertram·17:59

See, you know, I think that’s something that’s not talked about as much WordPress is open source, so anybody can write code and put code out there. And, you know, from an SEO standpoint, sometimes WordPress, depending on theme, depending on the plugins creates a lot of bloat, a lot of extra code on a website that really slows it down. So one of the really best practices we talked about is, you know, use as few plugins as possible also ha you know, find some ways to kind of look at reviews or something, you know, when was the last time they updated, like to make sure that plugin is current and a lot of scripts that run are unnecessary, right? 

speakerMatt Bertram·18:45

It’s like, you know, it’s like people buying a, a really fancy race car and then they’re just driving around, like on the street with it. Right. They could do all of this stuff, but what do you really need? All that? And you sacrifice, you know, day-to-day performance by not by having the stuff that, that you don’t need. Right. So one of the things that is really important is you need to keep all your plugins up to date. You need to be vetting your plugins on the end. And, you know, like you need to find ways to speed up your website. So images, right. Optimizing images is certainly important. Web P is now out there, how things load. Let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about server, callbacks, how panes load like websites. 

speakerMatt Bertram·19:39

I know a lot of people go to those websites and they’re trying to click on a button and the button keeps moving. Right. And, and that creates a bad user experience. And that’s certainly a big no-no from what I’ve seen from what Google stated. Can you talk a little bit about that? How maybe on the back end or on the server side, you can optimize to improve some of that experience. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·20:04

Yeah. So there that’s a very multifaceted issue, but if we get into kind of the core of what a web page is in general, a webpage is HTML plus JavaScript plus CSS plus images. So we’ll go for the images aspect first, because that’s the easiest. If you’re on our, any of our web hosting plans, one of the plugins you can use is called light speed cache. That’s something proprietary to our servers. And that includes a lot of image optimization. There are two aspects that image optimization. The first one is it makes sure that the images are compressed to a format. They need to be the other thing that it lets you do. However, that is helpful for your wet vital metrics is called a low quality image placeholder. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·21:05

And what this looks like is essentially it turns any of your images into a super small only takes up maybe a few hundred bytes and looks like the most blurry image you’ve ever seen in your life. But it tells the browser like this is how big this image it needs to be. This is kind of the gist of more or less what color it’ll look like. So it doesn’t create that jar and visual experience. So image optimization, that’s sorta the easiest one to address as far as content jumping around. Usually the way that happens is that you have your HTML layout, that specifies how wide and call each portion of the page needs to be. And then you’ll have CSS that loads on top of that is called in from like a external script that says actually elements with these IDs. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·22:05

These need to be half the page width instead of this many pixels wide. And then finally, you’ve got Java script that will sometimes do a little bit of shifting as well. Carousels are an easy one that are almost always done in Java script, where you have images that site across the screen, and as it loads, each of those things, it’s getting like more details of instructions about how the page needs to look there way you generally optimize for that is by prioritizing something called critical CSS on a lot of web dot web optimization plans. Other web hosting providers, et cetera, critical CSS is usually a third-party service you have to pay for with us. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·22:52

It’s a third party service it’s free, but with critical CSS that looks at your website and says, okay, now that this webpage is fully loaded, I understand that these are the 2030 rules. What have you, that the browser needs to understand right away in order to display this webpage. Right? And so it includes a detail at the very top of the list, rather than essentially, you know, kind of having a project with 10 revisions done to it on the fly. Every time you do a load up a webpage instead, it’s like having a hard copy of the first page of the project. So that as you’re starting to read that your browser is getting the other nine pages ready in the back. 

speakerMatt Bertram·23:39

Yeah, no, I think, okay. So like, I think everybody kind of has seen that or understands that, or has been to websites recently that are still doing that. Google is dinging people for that, cause it produces a bad user experience. Right? And so there’s probably a lot of in-house or freelance, digital marketers out there that are saying, man, my hosting sucks. And you know, they probably deal with a lot of more of those types of issues than they want to deal with. And maybe they might not be as technically savvy. And so like when you’re doing SEO, you’re doing off-page, you’re doing on-page and then this technical component in the server component get left out. And they’re so much of the mix that it really makes you have to work twice as hard and some of those other areas. Right. 

speakerMatt Bertram·24:40

And, and one of the things that I certainly believe in is web hosting should be the foundation before you do all those other things, right? Like that’s. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·24:54

Th there’s an easier way to explain that too. And I think a lot of businesses, unfortunately, the more I’ve seen it tends to be a, a bigger issue. The larger the businesses are, I think that the smaller businesses tend to do a better job of understanding. This is the importance of location when it comes to the digital aspect. So, you know, if you’re setting up a storefront to sell widgets in the real world, you probably aren’t wanting to have the grand opening of your store, be in a shed that’s in the middle of the farm and the middle of a farm in the middle of nowhere, because like no one will show up to your store. Right. And if they do, it’ll take them way too long to get there. And. 

speakerMatt Bertram·25:42

You talking about, are you talking about like where your servers physically located, people don’t think about where your servers physically located from your geographic location, or what are you talking about. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·25:53

Physically located to an extent, but also just the general environment that your server is in or the general environment that your website is in regards to your, and it goes back to that kind of bad neighborhood analogy. You don’t want to open up a store in a bad neighborhood either. And so the digital side of that is just as relevant in that your digital experience is not like a additional store on top of whatever physical stories you might have. Your digital website is part of your identity as a business in the modern day world. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·26:35

And so having that digital identity be maintained in a location and location, I mean, both the physical place that your server is in the world, as well as the kind of server your website is on having your digital identity, be in a, what is the digital equivalent of an aesthetically pleasing and safe location is key to half of your business. 

speakerMatt Bertram·27:08

Yeah. I think that’s something that not a lot of people consider. Right. They just imagine it’s somewhere in the cloud somewhere. Right. There was all those ads that Microsoft used to run as like, what is the cloud? Like, where is it like, what is it like? I mean, I think that frame of mind has perpetuated how people view a web hosting. Right. And also, I know that you have a background from some of the bigger web hosting companies out there, and maybe you can talk a little bit about what your role was there, because I think we need to paint a little bit of color on how important web hosting is and web maintenance and web security. 

speakerMatt Bertram·27:53

I think in today’s world, it is certainly under-discussed and is under thought about, and, you know, I think a lot of times I see that meme of like a system admin and it’s like the, you know, the business owners like, oh, you know, like, why do I pay you so much? Like nothing’s going wrong. Right. And then there’s another picture. And then it’s like, the business are going, oh, why do I pay you so much? And. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·28:24

Everything’s going wrong, 

speakerMatt Bertram·28:25

Everything’s going wrong. Right. Like you, like you have a very difficult job, but you can’t really win. Right. Because in every situation, a lot of this is obscured in the background to what a lot of people look at and see, and they’re only seeing the front end of the website. And so maybe you could talk a little bit about some of those things that for you want to kind of bring to the forefront. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·28:51

Yeah. So initially my role at I had been doing customer service and then I transitioned from customer service to security investigation and engineering. And in the digital landscape of things, I would compare it somewhat good editor, which makes that systems, administration reference all the more apt because it’s like, oh, what do we have at janitor for the bathrooms are always looking perfectly clean. Like, okay, there’s a reason for that. And that’s because the janitor’s going into him every hour, but in a, the web hosting role, it was mostly dealing with ha reports of hack websites in many cases, ones that were reported to us by external parties. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·29:45

So one of the most common things for a hack website to have is going to be what’s called a fishing kit, which is that, for example, your website.com forward slash OWA, instead of having loading up anything that has to do with your website, it looks like an office 365 login screen and is trying to get your credentials. Most email providers catch those kinds of URLs really fast. And so the malicious actors out there are also having to repeatedly set those up on tons and tons of different websites. My job at that was to deal with those all day and without going into details as to what kind of numbers that entailed. So high said to say it was a all day, every day thing for a number of people. Like a lot of websites got hacked. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·30:54

It amazed me the extent to which people would set up a website and then just not touch it. Like, you know, in, in the same way of thinking that they could install windows 3.1 on a computer and then just like, never worry about it. Like what do you mean I need to do upgrade on this 4 86? Like this is working fine for years. Right. And so, yeah. I mean, people would have ancient, you know, 10 years or more, or 10 years old versions of WordPress, they had just never gotten updated. 

speakerMatt Bertram·31:34

Yeah. I mean, people understand like upgrades, right. With, with maybe software, right. They understand like phone upgrade with security, like patches. Why do you think that on the website side of things that maybe gets overlooked by business owners or a website owners? 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·31:56

I think first of all, the, one of the things I noticed from the customer experience side of things is that I discovered a surprising number of business owners that don’t actually look at their own website, all that much. I, when I was doing customer support, it wasn’t a frequent thing, but it was not a totally unheard of thing to have someone, you know, asking why their website wasn’t working and turns out it was because their bill hadn’t been paid in four months and they only just found out. So I mean, there, yeah, I, I, I still don’t understand it, but a surprising number of business owners don’t pay attention to their own website. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·32:42

That much, the other aspect of that is that a lot of the malware that goes onto these websites is very deliberately designed to keep itself concealed from business owners, from the people that are working on the website, et cetera. And the two easiest examples of this that are very common on a lot of these malware problems that websites get. The first one is that the malware is coded in such a way that if you went directly to your website, it sets itself to not run. So if you go into your address bar and type, you know, www.example.com, it wouldn’t run. But if you were to google and search for your website and then click one of the search listings on Google, then the code would see this person didn’t come directly here. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·33:42

They arrived here from a search engine and then would flag to show them out. The other thing that would be very common on these, and there’s a number of different ways that these scripts would do it. Sometimes they do it by IP address. Sometimes they do it with cookies is a say, if this person has ever been to the website before, don’t show them that like, w we got to hit this person once we don’t need to hit this person multiple times or the malware code, because then it’s way more likely to get caught. So don’t show them the malware if they’ve ever been to the website before. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·34:19

And so with those two things, you know, if you’re not looking at the website under the hood, you aren’t having the right kinds of firewalls that keep your website from getting hacked in the first place. It’s actually pretty easy for that kind of thing to go on notice. 

speakerMatt Bertram·34:38

Yeah. I, I mean, I think that these codes are getting a lot more elegant. These hacks are getting a lot more elegant. And, and I think that, you know, people just don’t look at web hosting as a critical piece of their infrastructure since COVID right. Your digital storefront is like what most people will see. And it’s where most eyeballs will be. Right. And it’s like keeping your store in good working order and in good shape is to make sure you’re doing this in for SEO. If you get one of these hacks and Google picks it up, you’re talking six months or a year. Okay. Like, you know, it re indexes, it finds this Google seller can’t trust you anymore. Right. I can’t show to people. 

speakerMatt Bertram·35:37

I can’t show this to our visitors and you’re going to be put in the penalty box for a long time. And, you know, a lot of people drive a lot of business from their website or even e-commerce sites. Like, I mean, it’s a death blow, you know, to a large degree. And if you’re say a small business owner, a smaller, medium sized business owner, you know, your website going down, it’s going to cost you X amount of money, right? Like if you’re a bigger business every minute or every hour you’re losing w w whatever the multiple is of dollars based on how much you generate, right. And, 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·36:19

And the loss on that is actually like relatively easy for a business to calculate. And I don’t think a lot of businesses do the math, but you take, for example, you know, what amount of business for your business, what amount of revenue do you have coming in per year of that revenue? What percent of it is coming in from your website? So we’ll say your business has getting a million dollars a year revenue, and for even numbers, 50% of it comes from your website. So that means your website’s responsible for $500,000 a year in revenue. Just looking at that math like that, just a going that deep with a math, that makes a pretty clear picture that your website is a lot more valuable than people initially think it is. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·37:18

But then going deeper into that, if your website is responsible for $500,000 a year and revenue, and it is out of operation per se, a day that’s $1,400 or so, and lost revenue from a day of outage. And if say, half of the people that get to your website are coming organically. And so you’ve been thrown back to page four for the next six months, that’s 250 grand or so in lost revenue. Like it ends up fast, you know? 

speakerMatt Bertram·37:59

Yeah. I mean, even bigger businesses, have we not seen that? They, from a infrastructure standpoint, I mean, w w you know, we’re going into black Friday, I know we’ve have a client that, you know, we’re not doing the, the web hosting for, and they don’t actually have anybody internally that did it. And during a sale period, their website went down for six hours. And I mean, the amount of revenue that they lost from that certainly can be calculated, but it’s more than enough revenue that they could be taking care of their web infrastructure properly. Right. And, and it’s, you know, it’s kind of like, why do you buy insurance? Right. You know, and insurance is incredibly important. 

speakerMatt Bertram·38:52

And, and so I think w you know, we’re, we’re touching a lot of facets here going a little bit beyond marketing, but they all kind of layer on each other and they all are interwoven. Right. And so there’s a lot of agencies out there. Let’s okay, let’s talk about this. There’s a lot of agencies out there that are using some of the bigger providers out there for web hosting, and they have very limited access to their seatbelt, to the backend of their website. They’re very limited on what they can do to affect the performance of the website that ultimately folds into SEO. If you’re, if you’re not working with a provider that is, has SEO in mind and is doing things to optimize the backend of your website and the, the server side of what’s happening. 

speakerMatt Bertram·39:58

I mean, that’s a critical piece. I mean, can you speak to maybe, you know, I know, and also like what, let’s talk about what, you know, to wrap up on the hack side of things, you know, how maybe, like, using CloudFlare might reduce some of these things. So maybe we can give some practical tips of what people can do and then have them maybe explaining. And so they understand, you know, what you’re giving up, essentially if you’re using some of these bigger providers. And not only that, like I can tell you, there’s certainly some headaches out there. So as you can see, I’m very biased okay. Of, of the current offerings in the marketplace. I think the current offerings in the marketplace are the same people that have been there kind of since the beginning, they’re well entrenched. 

speakerMatt Bertram·40:51

And there’s not a lot of, you know, development into helping service some of these issues. So maybe you could speak to some months. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·41:06

Yeah. So just to kind of do a ground up apples to oranges comparison, I think the majority of hosting providers out there are a shut-up of sure we’ll have a place for you to run your website and we’ll have our infrastructure set up in such a way that it’ll a bunch of websites more or less. Okay. 

speakerMatt Bertram·41:40

Or they’re a reseller, right. They’re just skin, right? 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·41:45

Yeah. Or there it’s seller. We’ve had a, there was one client that I remember left us. And when I looked at where they were going to us, like, I recognize this framework and you think you’re being hosted by your agency, but actually all they have is a reseller account for this other major web hosting or major web hosting company. But we’re from the ground up, you know, most web hosting companies operate off of pretty direct profit margins of like, how many people can we stop onto one server in a way that it won’t, that it will be up most of the time that we won’t have too many people complaining too loudly and we can bring in leftovers for that. 

speakerMatt Bertram·42:36

Sounds like it, 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·42:40

The, yeah, I worked for one of those in the past to, Hey, it is our approach to this is that, you know, we want first and foremost to be offering a valuable service. And this was something, you know, that were doing for our own agencies, customers, just as part of like a, Hey, this is one of the things that makes sense for you to be able to have good SEO on your other site. And we decided like, Hey, this is a service that everybody should be able to use. Not just people that are purchasing SEO services from us. And so that’s why we spun it off into its own brand like that. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·43:20

But from the ground up, what people need to be doing, you know, you need to be on top of the security of your website, the easiest and most straightforward way of doing that is a make sure all your themes, plugin and stuff like that are being kept up to date. And B how it, if you’re a web hosting company does not include any sort of security features with the web hosting beyond SSL certificates, SSLs do not stop you from getting hacked in any way. If you’re a web hosting company, doesn’t include security features have some sort of firewall type offering in front of your web hosting account that can be cloud flare. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·44:12

If you’re okay with managing your DNS settings and updating our servicings like that can be a security, which I believe has since been purchased out by GoDaddy security is a very reliable firewall provider for websites, but how does something so that, like, you’re not just leaving your wide open in a bad neighborhood I’m from, and those are the two simplest things you can do. I think from a security standpoint and without knowing a lot of ins and outs of code, that’s really the only thing I think people, an average business owner can reliably do with that kind of side of things. I mentioned hosting providers that don’t include security. A lot of our emo is to how we designed all this is that if every business owner should be using this, we’re going to include it as part of the package. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·45:15

So for example, with the posting accounts that are on our servers, there’s a component of the server that looks at the person requesting the webpage and determines based on this IP addresses reputation, are they a good person or a bad person? And then it looks at the nature of the request, like, are you here to ring the doorbell or are you approaching a window with a rock on your hand or a rock in your hand? Right? Like one of these is okay in one of these, we need to stop. And so we include that kind of security. And then we also have a real time scanning any time your hosting account is changing the files or anything like that. Any virus software looks at that identifies it has bad code, just been written somewhere. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·46:08

And if it hasn’t stopped, so that I think is the most directly actionable KIPP before security. 

speakerMatt Bertram·46:16

What about backups? 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·46:18

Backups? Yeah, that’s a, that’s another thing that I was kind of floored with. How many people just didn’t have any sort of plan in place for that. And of those that did the most common mistake I saw people making was putting that back up inside of their hosting account. And that’s kind of like if you’ve got, say really important documents that you need to make sure you don’t lose, that don’t get destroyed in a fire or whatever. And so you take those documents to your all-in-one printer, you make a photocopy of them. And then you set that stack of photocopies right next to the original ones, such that the stack or the copy catches fire just as fast as the original smack does. Yeah. Th that’s why I see a lot of people doing with the back of something we’re hosting. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·47:19

We do two things with backups through one externalized, separate location in the country space. We keep a daily backup for 30 days. So at any sort of point in the past 30 days, you can say, I need the way my files looked like in my hosting account to be from the 20 days ago, I need the databases to be the way they looked 17 days ago. And I need my DNS zone files to look the way they did 13 days ago, what happened. And so you can get very granular with that backup. And then we also do a disaster recovery backups, the disaster recovery backups. We take a full archive of your account, compress it back it up and put that again in a third different, unrelated, different company, different data center, all of that. And we keep those around. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·48:19

But before twice a month for five years, that’s not really something that I see that I know of any other hosting provider that really does that sort of retention on. And the way we have that done, it’s set up in such a way that it’s fairly pricey to retrieve that data if we ever actually need to. But I saw far too many people that didn’t have any sort of backup. And so they lost their entire website is like the best way that they could be helped was like here, go to archive.org, use this as sort of a frame of reference and best of luck as you try and rebuild. Right. Which is kind of like saying, you know, my house burned down. Well really sorry to hear that here’s Google earth go use these satellite images and do your best to rebuild it. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·49:15

You know, it doesn’t work very efficiently. And so we keep these backups around just because, like, we know that there are a lot of things that can go wrong. There are cases where someone, maybe there’s a new type of hack that comes out, that security features don’t catch. Maybe there was something that you realized was on your website and got wiped out. It must’ve been two, three months ago, but if we need to recover those sorts of backups, we can. And so that’s our backup procedure is we keep daily for 30 days and twice a month for five. 

speakerMatt Bertram·49:54

So what are the big boys do? Because people are probably listening and saying, man, that’s phenomenal what you’re doing. But like the big boys got me taken care of, right? Like, you know, I’m with whoever. And if my website goes down there, they’re going to find it. They’re going to fix it. No problem, no extra costs. Like, you know, how does that compare from what you’ve seen with the bigger players? 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·50:19

What I’ve seen from the bigger players, if you read through their hosting agreement and the terms of service and all of that has legalees that basically says you’re responsible for your own web hosting. And we make no promises that stuff isn’t going to explode. We make no promises that we’re not, that we’re ever going to be able to recover stuff for you under any circumstance. If you don’t have your own backup of it sucks to be like you’ll, you look, look at your contract with a bigger hosting providers. And it makes it very clear that like, even if you’re purchasing a backup solution from them, they make no promises about anything, dude, a loss or anything like that. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·51:18

It’s sort of a, if you don’t, w we’ll do this as like a hopeful convenience for you, and if you’re paying for the service, maybe we make that convenience a bit more frequent or a bit easier, but they don’t really provide any sort of assurances back. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·51:41

And that, and that frankly, I will say is, you know, regardless of who your company is that you’re hosting with, whether it’s us or anyone else, the kind of the mortality I’d say of that situation is a bit something like if your website is such a key component to your business, you should have on your own USB drive or whatever, some sort of backup you go into your hosting account and you manually take a backup of it once a month or something, but you should have, if something is so critically important to your business, you should have some Chrissy drin place that you can be a hundred percent sure that you can take 100% control over recovering your data. 

speakerMatt Bertram·52:39

Yeah. Well, you know, I, I know we’ve kind of jumped around and talked about a couple of different things, right? And I didn’t have much of a agenda for this call, but certainly I think that what I am trying to communicate, because we talk a lot about marketing is this needs to be a wake-up call. I think there’s a lot of people out there that gloss over some of that stuff. And also they’re working on other aspects of SEO and digital marketing. And they’re not focused on, or really paying attention to the core asset in digital marketing, which should start with your website. And so making sure that your website is fast, it’s hosted properly, it’s optimized is as you explore digital marketing, it’s really where you should start, right? And, and you shouldn’t be getting to Francy. 

speakerMatt Bertram·53:45

There’s a lot of shiny objects out there in digital marketing. There’s a lot of new things that are always around the corner that you think might be a silver bullet, but I’m a big proponent of really laying a strong foundation and having a good hosting provider that is taking care of you, looking out for your best interests and has the technical capabilities to help optimize your website. And if there’s an issue they can get you out of the ditch is certainly important. I believe that the team that we’ve built, the team that you built is invaluable. And I think it’s something that a lot of other agencies, a lot of other business owners, a lot of other freelancers have been jumping around from hosting provider to find the right solution. 

speakerMatt Bertram·54:39

And, and not only that, you talked about offering a hassle-free guarantee. Can you talk maybe a little bit about that? 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·54:50

Yeah. So there are a lot of hosting providers that will, you know, moving a hosting account is a lot of work. Like it is not an easy process in most circumstances to move a website from one provider to another. And most of the hosting providers I’ve seen will have sort of a, if you want to come over to us, we’ll charge you for the work of moving that website. And if you want to leave us, here’s our help documentation and Godspeed. We, we take that approach a little bit differently. We’re not really looking to run a prison system of web hatching. And so we do charge for the work of moving a website over, but on the other hand, like we want our customers to be happy. We don’t want our customers feeling like they’re stuck with us. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·56:00

And so if you come to us, if you have a website with us and say like, Hey, this isn’t working out, I want to go elsewhere. You can buy a hosting account with any other web provider. We’ll help you move it away for free. Because we think that’s just sort of like the ethical way to run a business, right? Is like, if you don’t want to keep doing business with us, we will do our best to make it as seamless and painless for you to go elsewhere. 

speakerMatt Bertram·56:36

Got it. Got it. Well, you know, I know we covered a lot before we go, William, is there anything that we didn’t cover that you want to make sure that’s maybe communicated to our audience? 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·56:51

Cut co-host to.com go there. If you have questions about what Mae might be able to do for your website, open up a ticket, you don’t even have to create an account to open up a ticket with us and just mentioning your website to us, tell us what’s going on. And we’ll give you some pointers if you’d like as to what we can do to help. And if you’re ready to have your website run fast, the plans are listed on our website. 

speakerMatt Bertram·57:18

Fantastic. Thank you so much Williams. So if you’re out there and you’re dealing with a web hosting issue and you’re frustrated, or you think you need to be doing better technical optimization of your website, if you’re an agency out there and you want access to our team, we have the best team in the business. We are offering those services to the public. And so that’s really, I think exciting for a lot of people, because this is again, the most critical part of digital marketing and should be the foundation of what you start with. And that’s why it’s called co-host data, right? Because we’re, co-hosting it with you. And we’re going to work with you to optimize that backend. So if you are looking for SEO hosting, go to cohost.com and check it out. 

speakerMatt Bertram·58:17

I can tell you, we wouldn’t be where we are as an agency, without you and your team, William. So we very much appreciate you and wanted to give you a platform to connect and communicate your value to the rest of the world. So thank you so much for coming on the unknown secrets of internet marketing. I know that this was a different format for a lot of you listening, but I think it was good to change it up. So thanks so much for coming on, William. 

speakerWilliam Heimbigner·58:52

Thank you for adding. 

speakerMatt Bertram·58:53

Alright. And we’ll see you next time. Bye bye. For now. 

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