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Smart Choices that Lead to Impressive Content and Copywriting Results

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“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” – J.K. Rowling That…

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Benefits of Cloud Hosting

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Everyone’s heard of “the cloud.”

Broadly speaking, the cloud refers to remote storage. For example, you can store pictures from your smartphone or documents on your computer to a cloud storage space like Google Drive.

This is different than storing files locally on something like an external hard drive. I’m sure you’re familiar with both of these scenarios, and you probably even use cloud storage for something in your digital life.

Now when it comes to web hosting, the cloud is a little bit more in depth, but the same principles still apply.

Let’s start with the basics. There are four main types of web hosting:

  • Shared hosting
  • VPS (virtual private server) hosting
  • Dedicated server hosting
  • Cloud hosting

To fully understand the differences between all of these options, refer to my guide on everything you need to know about web hosting.

But right now I want to put the primary focus on cloud hosting. Although it’s the newest way to host websites, the method has been growing in popularity over the years.

Cloud Hosting Popularity Chart

This graph shows the cloud computing and cloud hosting market on a global scale in billions of dollars.

While cloud hosting has been around for years, not many people know exactly how it is and how it works. So what is cloud hosting?

Basically, your web host isn’t connected to one physical location. That’s not the case with shared hosting, VPS, and dedicated servers.

Now that you have a basic understanding of cloud hosting, I’ll cover the benefits. You can use this guide as a resource to determine if cloud hosting is the best option for your website.

Easy to scale

Traditionally, when you’re picking a web host you need to have some idea of the type of website traffic you’re planning to get. This makes it easier for you to pick a plan to fit your needs.

It’s crucial that you get a web hosting plan with enough bandwidth, storage, and disc space.

But there is a common dilemma that new websites are faced with all of the time. They have to decide if they want to get the highest possible bandwidth, even if they probably won’t come close to exceeding those limits. Or should they start with a lower bandwidth plan and upgrade as their traffic starts to increase?

There are pros and cons to each approach.

One the one hand, a top-tier plan will come at a premium price. You’ll end up paying for a service that you won’t need until your site grows. But the second option will cause slower page loading times as your website scales until you upgrade.

Cloud hosting solves those problems.

Since your website is hosted on multiple remote servers, you won’t have to worry about exceeding bandwidth. If one server is maxed out, you can always pull resources from another.

All of this can be easily managed and configured in-real time. Here’s what that looks like if you’re using HostGator for cloud storage.

Hostgator Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting allows you to scale your server without having to get approval from the hosting provider, which you’d need with VPS, shared, or dedicated hosting.

Flexible pricing

If you use a traditional web hosting server, you’re going to a pay a fixed monthly rate based on the plan that you sign up for. You’ll be charged this amount even if you don’t actually use all of the resources on that server.

But cloud hosting is priced based on what you actually use.

Here’s an analogy. Let’s say you go to an all you can eat buffet, where the food options can also be purchased à la carte. The buffet price is $20 per person. So that’s the most you’ll have to pay, regardless of how much food you eat.

But if you only eat $10 worth of food, then you’ll only be charged $10 for that meal.

That’s how pricing is structured for cloud hosting.

The pricing also relates back to our previous point about being able to scale your resources on demand. For example, let’s say you just built a bunch of new backlinks and you’re expecting a particular blog post on your site to go viral.

Rather than upgrading your entire plan (which you’d have to do with another hosting option), you can just increase the resources needed during that traffic spike. Then you can put everything back to normal when your traffic levels out.

In this case, you’d only pay for the server usage that was actually being used during the surge.

Here’s a look at the pricing page for DreamHost cloud hosting plans.

DreamHost Cloud Hosting

As you can see, pricing is based on usage. Each plan has a maximum monthly rate. Even the fine print at the bottom of the page states that you’ll only be billed for what you use.

This type of pricing structure is standard for most cloud hosting services across the board.

Reliable servers

As I’ve previously explained, other types of web hosting options rely on a singular server.

So if something happens to the server that your site is hosted on, then your site would be offline until the server was back up and running. You’re essentially putting all of your eggs in one basket. This can be a huge risk when you’re talking about something as important as your website.

But cloud hosting uses multiple remote servers and resources.

If something happens to one, the others will still be able to host your site. This means that your website will have high uptime and availability rates.

In addition to potential problems with one server, cloud hosting will keep your site stable, even as traffic increases. We discussed this before when we covered the ability for you to pull resources from multiple servers to manage your site.

Cloud hosting is also extremely easy to set up.

For those of you who want to start hosting on the cloud right away, it can be a faster deployment option than something like a dedicated server or shared server.

Speed and performance

The majority of cloud hosting servers will provide lightning fast speed. They also increase the capacity of your website, which boosts your page loading speed.

That’s because all of your content will get loaded from multiple server environments.

This approach doesn’t put as much strain on a singular server, the way it would if you had a dedicated, shared, or VPS plan. If your website has lots of resource-intensive data such as videos, images, sound, and other media content, this is something that you need to prioritize.

Another benefit of cloud hosting is that content can be delivered from the nearest remote server, which is another reason why loading times are so fast.

At the end of the day, your website visitors don’t care what type of web hosting you’re using. They just want your site to be responsive and load quickly. That’s why your loading times will have such a major impact on conversion rates.

Loding Time Conversion Rates

By prioritizing page loading speed with cloud hosting, your website will ultimately perform better from the user end.

Security

Cloud hosting is very safe from a security standpoint. Here’s why.

Your website is isolated from any potential problems with a physical server. That’s because everything is handled remotely. This won’t be the case if you’re relying on a singular dedicated server that’s hosted locally.

If a local server was compromised, then your website would be at risk. You won’t need to worry about that happening with cloud hosting.

For example, let’s say something went wrong with one of the servers in your cloud hosting network. Maybe it was hacked, had a system overload, or hardware failure.

Your site would be fine because it could just continue using one of the many other remote servers in the network. Everything would stay up and running without any downtime or delays.

Best cloud hosting services

Now that you know the top benefits of cloud hosting, I want to show some of the best cloud hosting services available on the market today.

SiteGround

Siteground

SiteGround is second to none in terms of reliability for cloud hosting. Their team fully manages your cloud, so you won’t have to worry about any maintenance for your hosting.

SiteGround guarantees that you’ll have enough resources on the cloud to power your site. It will be fully optimized in terms of speed and efficiency based on your traffic and usage.

Their platform makes it easy for you to add RAM or CPU on-demand with just one click. SiteGround also has an auto-scale feature, which adds sufficient resources to your site in times of where traffic spikes. I would definitely take advantage of this. That way you won’t have to manually add resources and track your traffic.

Your cloud service with SiteGround also comes with powerful tools like a dedicated IP, free Cloudflare CDN, free SSL, private DNS, and daily backups.

SiteGround cloud hosting plans start at $60, $120, and $160 per month.

HostGator

Hostgator

HostGator has unmetered bandwidth and storage for all of their cloud hosting plans.

They offer automatic daily backups as well as daily scans to protect your site from hackers, viruses, and malware. Their cloud system has integrated caching to ensure that your pages always load as fast as possible.

HostGator’s intuitive dashboard makes it easy for anyone, regardless of their tech background, to manage the performance of a website. You’ll also be able to appropriately allocate any additional resources that your site requires based on usage and traffic.

HostGator cloud hosting plans start at $4.95, $6.57, and $9.95 per month.

DreamHost

Dreamhost

DreamHost is a great option for those of you who are price-sensitive. They offer plans that are are charged strictly based on usage. The maximum you’d pay each month is either $4.50, $12, or $48, depending on the plan you choose.

You’ll have full root access and control over your cloud servers, so there are no restrictions for software or operating systems.

The only downside of DreamHost is that they don’t offer live chat and phone support. But since their platform is so straightforward and easy to use, I’m willing to look past that for the bargain rates.

Conclusion

Cloud hosting is growing in popularity. It’s become a reliable and flexible way to host websites in the modern digital era.

There are lots of great benefits to cloud hosting. I highlighted the top ones in this guide.

Overall, cloud hosting should be taken into consideration if you have a website that’s growing. The flexibility of the resources and pricing structures ensure that your site will have high uptime rates and fast loading speeds, even during unexpected traffic surges.

But with that said, cloud hosting isn’t necessarily for everyone. If you have an ecommerce website that always has high traffic and want to make changes to your server based on the software you’re using, you might be better off with a dedicated server.

For those of you who think cloud hosting is right for your website, I’d recommend using one of the three options that I covered in this guide.

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How to Unleash the Secret Superpowers of Numbers in Your Copywriting

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There are all sorts of rules about writing. Grammar and style guides tell us how we should write. Especially how…

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The Professional Dangers of Subterranean Creative Regret

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When I was a teenager, I was a prolific poet. Not a good one — not even close — but…

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What Type of Links Does Google Really Prefer?

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links

We all know that links help rankings. And the more links you build the higher you’ll rank.

But does it really work that way?

Well, the short answer is links do help with rankings and I have the data to prove it.

But, you already know that.

The real question is what kind of links do you need to boost your rankings?

Is it rich anchor text links? Is it sitewide links? Or what happens when the same site links to you multiple times? Or when a site links to you and then decides to remove the link?

Well, I decided to test all of this out and then some.

Over the last 10 months, I decided to run an experiment with your help. The experiment took a bit longer than we wanted, but we all know link building isn’t easy, so the experiment took 6 months longer than was planned.

Roughly 10 months ago, I emailed a portion of my list and asked if they wanted to participate in a link building experiment.

The response was overwhelming… 3,919 people responded, but of course, it would be a bit too hard to build links to 3,919 sites.

And when I say build, I’m talking about manual outreach, leveraging relationships… in essence, doing hard work that wouldn’t break Google’s guidelines.

Now out of the 3,919 people who responded, we created a set of requirements to help us narrow down the number of sites to something more manageable:

  1. Low domain score – we wanted to run an experiment on sites with low domain scores. If a site had a domain score of greater than 20, we removed it. When a site has too much authority, they naturally rank for terms and it is harder to see the impact that a few links can have. (If you want to know your domain score you can put in your website URL here.)
  2. Low backlink count – similar to the one above, we wanted to see what happens with sites with little to no backlinks. So, if a site had more than 20 backlinks, it was also removed from the experiment.
  3. No subdomains – we wanted sites that weren’t a Tumblr.com or a WordPress.com site or subdomain. To be in this experiment, you had to have your own domain.
  4. English only sites – Google in English is more competitive than Google in Spanish, or Portuguese or many other languages. For that reason, we only selected sites that had their main market as the United States and the site had to be in English. This way, if something worked in the United States, we knew it would work in other countries as they tend to be less competitive.

We decided to cap the experiment to 200 sites. But eventually, many of the sites dropped off due to their busy schedule or they didn’t want to put in the work required. And as people dropped off, we replaced them with other sites who wanted to participate.

How the experiment worked

Similar to the on-page SEO experiment that we ran, we had people write content between 1,800 and 2,000 words.

Other than that we didn’t set any requirements. We just wanted there to be a minimum length as that way people naturally include keywords within their content. We did, however, include a maximum length as we didn’t want people to write 10,000-word blog posts as that would skew the data.

Websites had 2 weeks to publish their content. And after 30 days of it being live, we looked up the URLs within Ubersuggest to see how many keywords the article ranked for in the top 100, top 50 and top 10 spots.

Keep in mind that Ubersuggest has 1,459,103,429 keywords in its database from all around the world and in different languages. Most of the keywords have low search volume, such as 10 a month.

We then spent 3 months building links and then waited 2 months after the links were built to see what happened to the rankings.

The URLs were then entered back into the Ubersuggest database to see how many keywords they ranked for.

In addition to that, we performed this experiment in batches, we just didn’t have the manpower and time to do this for 200 sites all at once, hence it took roughly 10 months for this to complete.

We broke the sites down into 10 different groups. That’s 20 sites per group. Each group only leveraged 1 link tactic as we wanted to see how it impacted rankings.

Here’s each group:

  1. Control – with this group we did nothing but write content. We needed a baseline to compare everything to.
  2. Anchor text – the links built to the articles in this group contained rich anchor text but were from irrelevant pages. In other words, the link text contained a keyword, but the linking site wasn’t too relevant to the article. We built 3 anchor text links to each article.
  3. Sitewide links – they say search engines don’t care for sitewide links, especially ones in a footer… I wanted to test this out for myself. We built one sitewide link to each article.
  4. Content-based links – most links tend to happen within the content and that’s what we built here. We built 3 content-based links to each article.
  5. Multiple links from the same site – these weren’t sitewide links but imagine one site linking to you multiple times within their content. Does it really help compared to having just 1 link from a site? We built 3 links from the same site to each article.
  6. One link – in this scenario we built one link from a relevant site.
  7. Sidebar links – we built 3 links from the sidebar of 3 different sites.
  8. Nofollow links – does Google really ignore nofollow links? You are about to find out because we built 3 nofollow links to each article.
  9. High authority link – we built 1 link with a domain score of 70 or higher.
  10. Built and removed links – we built 3 links to articles in this group and then removed them 30 days after the links were picked up by Google.

Now before I share what we learned, keep in mind that we didn’t build the links to the domain’s homepage. We built the links to the article that was published. That way we could track to see if the links helped.

Control group

Do you really need links to rank your content? Especially if your site has a low domain score?

control

Based on the chart, the older your content gets, the higher you will rank. And based on the data even if you don’t do much, over a period of 6 months you can roughly rank for 5 times more keywords even without link building.

As they say, SEO is a long game and the data shows it… especially if you don’t build any links.

Anchor text

They say anchor text links really help boost rankings. That makes sense because the link text has a keyword.

But what if the anchor rich link comes from an irrelevant site. Does that help boost rankings?

anchor text

It looks like anchor text plays a huge part in Google’s rankings, even if the linking site isn’t too relevant to your article.

Now, I am not saying you should build spammy links and shove keywords in the link text, more so it’s worth keeping in mind anchor text matters.

So if you already haven’t, go put in your domain here to see who links to you. And look for all of the non-rich anchor text links and email each of those site owners.

Ask them if they will adjust the link and switch it to something that contains a keyword.

This strategy is much more effective when you ask people to switch backlinks that contain your brand name as the anchor text to something that is more keyword rich.

Sitewide Links

They say sitewide links are spammy… especially if they are shoved in the footer of a site.

We built one sitewide footer link to each article to test this out.

sitewide links

Although sites that leverage sitewide links showed more of an increase than the control group, the results weren’t amazing, especially for page 1 rankings.

Content-based links

Do relevance and the placement of the links impact rankings? We built 3 in-content links that were relevant to each article.

Now the links were not rich in anchor text.

content based links

Compared to the baseline, rankings moved up to a similar rate as the sites who built rich anchor text links from irrelevant sites.

Multiple site links

I always hear SEOs telling me that if you build multiple links from the same site, it doesn’t do anything. They say that Google only counts one link.

For that reason, I thought we would put this to the test.

We built 3 links to each article, but we did something a bit different compared to the other groups. Each link came from the same site, although we did leverage 3 different web pages.

For example, if 3 different editors from Forbes link to your article from different web pages on Forbes, in theory, you have picked up 3 links from the same site.

samesite links

Even if the same site links to you multiple times, it can help boost your rankings.

One link 

Is more really better? How does one relevant link compare to 3 irrelevant links?

one link

It’s not as effective as building multiple links. Sure, it is better than building no links but the articles that built 3 relevant backlinks instead of 1 had roughly 75% more keyword placements in the top 100 positions of Google.

So if you have a choice when it comes to link building, more is better.

Sidebar links

Similar to how we tested footer links, I was curious to see how much placement of a link impacts rankings.

We looked at in-content links, footer links, and now sidebar links.

sidebar links

Shockingly, they have a significant impact in rankings. Now in order of effectiveness, in-content links help the most, then sidebar links, and then sitewide footer when it comes to placement.

I wish I tested creating 3 sitewide footer links to each article instead of 1 as that would have given me a more accurate conclusion for what placements Google prefers.

Maybe I will be able to run that next time. 🙁

Nofollow links

Do nofollow links help with rankings?

Is Google pulling our leg when they say they ignore them?

nofollow

From what it looks like, they tend to not count nofollow links. Based on the chart above, you can see that rankings did improve over time, but so did almost every other chart, including the control group.

But here’s what’s funny: the control group had a bigger percentage gain in keyword rankings even though no links were built.

Now, I am not saying that nofollow links hurt your rankings, instead, I am saying they have no impact.

High authority link

Which one do you think is better:

Having one link from a high domain site (70 or higher)?

OR

Having 3 links from sites with an average or low domain score?

high authority

Even though the link from the authority site wasn’t rich in anchor text and we only built 1 per site in this group… it still had a bigger impact than the sites in the other group.

That means high authority links have more weight than irrelevant links that contain rich anchor text or even 3 links from sites with a low domain score.

If you are going to spend time link building, this is where your biggest ROI will be.

Build and removed links

This was the most interesting group, at least that is what the data showed.

I always felt that if you built links and got decent rankings you wouldn’t have to worry too much when you lost links.

After all, Google looks at user signals, right?

remove links

This one was shocking. At least for sites that have a low domain score, if you gain a few links and then lose them fairly quickly, your rankings can tank to lower than what they originally were.

I didn’t expect this one and if I had to guess, maybe Google has something programmed in their algorithm that if a site loses a large portion of their links fast that people don’t find value in the site and that it shouldn’t rank.

Or that the site purchased links and then stopped purchasing the links…

Whatever it may be, you should consider tracking how many links you lose on a regular basis and focus on making sure the net number is increasing each month.

Conclusion

I wish I had put more people behind this experiment as that would have enabled me to increase the number of sites that I included in this experiment.

My overall sample size for each group is a bit too small, which could skew the data. But I do believe it is directionally accurate, in which building links from high domain score sites have the biggest impact.

Then shoot for rich anchor text links that are from relevant sites and are placed within the content.

I wouldn’t have all of your link text rich in anchor text and if you are using white hat link building practices it naturally won’t be and you won’t have to worry much about this.

But if you combine all of that together you should see a bigger impact in your rankings, especially if you are a new site.

So, what do you think about the data? Has it helped you figure out what types of links Google prefers?

The post What Type of Links Does Google Really Prefer? appeared first on Neil Patel.

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