There are more than 200 SEO factors in the Google algorithm, but you don’t need to learn them by heart or be aware of all of them.
In this text you will find the most relevant items and how to optimize each variable in a practical and fast way.
If you read the entire guide and apply most of the tips, you will exponentially increase your traffic.
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What factors influence SEO?
When positioning the website of your company, personal brand or entrepreneurship on the first page of Google, knowing what factors the search engine analyzes to make its rankings is essential.
If you know what the teacher cares about, you will be able to post better answers.
In the same way, if you know in depth what is relevant to the Google algorithm, you will be able to draw up a strategy to fully comply with each of its guidelines.
The exact formulas and methodologies used by the most relevant search engine in the world make up classified information that no one can access.
However, there is some consensus in the SEO industry that there are around 200 ranking factors .
The best article on this subject was written by Brian Dean in English and has since been translated by various sites on the Internet.
The intention of the text you are reading, however, is not to detail each positioning factor one by one, but to explain, clearly and concisely, what are the most important aspects that you should take care of and what you can do to optimize each of them. .
Throughout this piece you will find items that are not necessarily part of the Google algorithm, but that are highly correlated with your website doing well in the search engine.
If you follow these practices, yes or yes you will succeed on the Internet.
Main factors of SEO [Most important]
Below we will explain, according to the teachings of teachers Cyrus Shepard , Rand Fishkin and Brian Dean , together with our own experience and the best market practices, the most important positioning factors to conquer the first page of Google.
The variables are divided into 5 large areas:
- Page factors and content quality.
- Domain authority factors.
- Link factors (links) and off page.
- On-page factors and technical aspects.
- Site factors, user experience and design.
You can affect some items directly (internal SEO factors) and others indirectly (external SEO factors).
At the end of each point you will find a practical tip for you to apply on your website and improve your positioning.
Page SEO factors and content quality
The most important thing for Google is that your content answers the questions and solves the problems of users.
If you manage to do that with a unique style, you will have part of the way gained.
What SEO factors influence the quality of the content?
Respond to real queries ( keywords )
Despite the fact that the Google algorithm has evolved a lot during the last decade, it is still extremely important that you use keywords in your texts .
It is useless to write a very good content if nobody is going to find it.
Not only must you produce attractive, useful and valuable pieces, but in those articles you will have to incorporate the phrases with which your target audience makes queries on Google.
In a very comprehensive study , Brian Dean determined that most of the content that ranks on the first page has the exact keyword for which it ranks in the title tag.
Conduct keyword research so you can determine how people are searching for things related to your company, your industry, your products, and your services.
Satisfy user intent
It is not enough to write texts that contain the keywords with which you want to position yourself.
In addition to this, you must ensure that your content responds to the user’s intention .
What does this mean?
As we explain in our article What is SEO? :
If someone searches the internet for “democracy definition” it is likely that the person behind that query is a student who wants to complete an assignment.
Your goal is to know .
So if you want to solve that problem for them, if you want to produce an article that ranks high on Google for that kind of search, you’re going to have to explain that concept in as structured a way as possible, and you’re going to have to add the perspective of a number of renowned academics, as well as recommend relevant books on the subject.
Try to put yourself in the user’s shoes: ‘What problem do you want to solve? What question do you want to answer?’
In addition to this, do searches with the keywords with which you would like to rank and see what Google is positioned on the first page of results.
The search engine is very good at reading the user’s intent.
If for a certain phrase Google is placing articles in list format in the first positions, it means that people enjoy that type of content for that particular query.
So, in a nutshell: behave like a consumer, then move on to being a seller.
How do you differentiate yourself from so much competition? What do you have that the other doesn’t? Why should Google put you first?
To get to places where no one has gone, you will have to do things that no one has done.
As we explain in our Guide to Making SEO Content , there are three ways to produce original content:
– Expose the topic in a creative, simple and sustained way .
– Offer exclusive information and unpublished content .
– Use your brand voice and style to dramatically differentiate yourself .
Depending on the type of query and the topic, Google usually rewards recent texts.
In addition, the search engine also likes that content creators constantly update their articles.
This is so because the California company knows that much of the information that is shared on the Internet can expire from one day to the next.
Therefore, make sure your content is fresh, so that you do not give users something expired to try.
Once a year, review everything you have posted on your website and make strategic adjustments.
Changing the date of your content and putting the current year in the titles can help you get many more visits.
Author Reputation: Expertise, Authority, and Trust (EAT)
As we will see later, the algorithm not only evaluates the product, but also analyzes which brand is behind it.
That is, it is not only important that you have good content: it is vital that you are a person with experience and authority on that topic.
Produce credible information, earn the respect of your industry with quality work, and publish in media outlets where you can gain exposure.
Also remember that to build a good reputation in the online world, it is very likely that you have to do something really valuable in real life.
You are a doctor? Continue your studies and produce academic papers.
Did you graduate as an architect? Design better and better plans.
Do you have a journalism degree? Write the most attractive chronicles in the industry.
Do things that positively impact your environment and the rest will follow.
Under each content, place a small biography of the author and add a hyperlink that goes to a page where your resume or that of the person who produced the text is detailed.
Use of images and videos
Due to its operation, the most suitable format to position yourself in Google is text (the search engine does not accurately read what is inside images or videos).
However, adding audiovisual material to your content can improve the experience of your users and, therefore, improve your average position on the results page.
Complement what you write with attractive designs (infographics, unpublished images, concept maps).
Convert all your texts into videos and then insert them into your posts.
That’s part of what we’ve done with the Pencil Speech YouTube channel .
If you cover the entirety of a topic, the user will not have to return to the Google results page to investigate it further.
In addition, since in your article you will attack several vertices of a topic, your content will be positioned for tens (or even hundreds) of words, since all the subtitles will rank on their own .
If you touch on a subject in depth, it is also likely that this piece of information will be valuable for a long time, which is why you will receive high traffic without the need to be producing new texts every so often.
Brian Dean determined that this type of text far outweighs the others. In addition to this, he confirmed that websites that retain the user for a longer time tend to rank above those that fail to hold the visitor’s attention.
Increasing the retention time by 3 seconds could take you up a position on the results page.
On the other hand, in his extensive guide to the Google algorithm , Neil Patel stated that before the Panda update shallow content used to rank very well. Today the opposite happens.
Forget about producing brief articles with the intention of positioning yourself.
The average text that ranks on the first page of Google contains 1,447 words ( source ).
Do Google searches to determine all the questions people are asking around the topic you are writing about.
The Related Questions box and the Related Searches section will give you insights into subheadings that should be within your content.
Supplemental Content Quality
In its guidelines, Google points out the importance that the central text of a page is accompanied by information that is useful to the user, instead of annoying the consumer with, for example, advertisements that have nothing to do with their interests.
Add to each of your pages a good navigation that includes easy and direct access to the other sections of your website.
Add your best-selling products or your most read articles in strategic places, so that they have greater visibility and, therefore, a higher number of visits.
Use of semantic content
What are the words or phrases related to the main topic of your article?
If your text is about a laptop, it’s normal for the user and Google to expect terms like:
Semantic content is what Google relies on, for example, to know when an article about “Madrid” is about the city and when it is about the football team.
Some advanced SEO concepts that you should keep in mind:
1.- TF*IDF : it is a formula used by Google to determine the relevance of a piece of content according to the query made by a user.
TF stands for term frequency and refers to how often a word is repeated in a document.
IDF stands for inverse document frequency and refers to how common a word is in Google search results.
How does this translate into practice?
The term “RAM”, the word ‘RAM’ is much less common than ‘Memory’.
Therefore, if Google has to decide between a text that only has the word Memory vs. another that only contains the word RAM, it is likely to decide on the latter.
2.- LDA (Latent Dirichlet Allocation or Dirichlet Latent Assignment) : it is a model that helps Google to contextualize a content and know when it should show it for the user.
The search engine has more and more expertise when it comes to identifying what we really want to find.
Rand Fishkin uses a great analogy with “The Stones” query.
When someone does that search, Google knows that the content that should rank is those that include words like Mick Jagger or Keith Richards and not those texts that contain the terms ruby or emerald.
The search engine knows that because it establishes that “The Stones” have a greater connection with the rock band than with the rock types.
So it doesn’t matter that in your rubies and emeralds text you mention the term “the stones” 5,000 times, Google will put the band first when people put that term in the search box.
3.- Co-Occurrence (Co-Occurrence) : This measurement determines which terms normally appear together.
Continuing with the previous example, Google knew that “The Stones” was the band because the phrase appears many times next to ‘Mick Jagger’, ‘rock’ or ‘concert’.
Use in your content the terms and phrases that are closely related to the central topic you are dealing with.
Remember that if you address all the artists of a topic, the search engine will reward you with better positions, because it will assume that your article provides enough context to satisfy the user.
Not only the substance (what you want to communicate) matters, but also the form (how you are communicating it).
If what you write is not understood by your target audience, your effort will be useless.
In SEO copywriting: How to write a blog article? We explain 5 keys:
1.- Use simple words and short sentences.
2.- Write as you speak. Most people who are searching for information on Google do not want to be complicated by a super academic text.
3.- Separate large paragraphs to avoid huge wands of information.
4.- Use a font and font size that facilitate reading (Verdana, Arial or Raleway).
5.- The more white space your website has, the better.
Google has been concerned in recent years not to rank websites that are presenting incorrect information.
The search engine is interested in what is stated in a content being true, to prevent the user from making a mistake when making a decision in his life.
For this reason, in its ‘ Quality Raters Guidelines ‘, Google states that pages that offer inaccurate information will be branded as low quality and could be penalized.
Check what you post.
Check with reliable sources.
Click through rate (CTR)
What good is being on the first page of Google if no one clicks on your content?
The click-through rate is the percentage of clicks that a section of your website receives with respect to the number of times it has been viewed on the Google results page.
Although it is not known if it is a ranking factor per se, it is clear that having a good CTR makes more people enter your article, which is correlated with better rankings.
Optimize your SEO titles (title tags) .
Improve your descriptions (meta tags) .
Conquer the zero position .
Domain Authority SEO Factors
Google evaluates, above many things, the reputation you have on the Internet.
The searcher is interested in WHAT is said, as well as WHO is saying it.
Just like in real life, to get more attention on the web you need to build a solid reputation.
If you raise a good reputation, then you can go to sleep peacefully, since the respect you have earned will work for you.
What SEO factors influence domain authority?
You can’t get to Google and claim to be a respected brand in your industry overnight.
Even when in the offline world you have been working on a topic for years, in the most important search engine in the world you will have to work to build that prestige.
You must make your website a center of knowledge, a learning space, a useful place.
Then, you will have to wait for the word to spread.
In this way, many visits will fall and other companies will recommend you on their websites.
Write valuable content for your users (potential customers, suppliers, colleagues) and establish distribution channels that ensure that your texts will be read by the audience you are targeting.
By applying the rest of the tactics that we will mention in this guide, your articles will be positioned in Google and, if they are good, you will build an important reputation on the Internet.
Depending on your previous behavior in the search engine and your current need, Google chooses (customizes) which are the best results for you.
If you have visited a website before and stayed there for a long time, it is very likely that the algorithm will put you high up when you consult something related to what that portal offers.
Personalization also has to do with, for example, your location.
If you are making a query because you want to buy something for dinner, Google will offer you in its results the restaurants that are closest to you (and that have delivery).
In short: depending on who you are and where you are, what you have done before and what you want to do now, the search engine will return what it considers most useful at that moment.
Make sure that the people who visit your website satisfy their need and engage with you as a brand.
The more time they invest in you, the more opportunities you will have to appear again in the search engine.
On the other hand, if you are a local business, make sure that your company is registered in Google My Business, that it appears on Google Maps and that the NAP information (name, address and telephone number) is visible to the search engine and to your potential clients. .
Lastly, use your location in your titles and descriptions.
authority on the topic
It is not the same thing that ESPN writes about medicine than it does about sports.
In the first case, despite the fact that we are talking about a very prestigious media outlet, ESPN is not going to do so well on Google, since it is touching on a topic in which it is not an authorized voice.
The search engine knows what you do and how much experience you have in that matter.
Write about what your company is specialized in.
Choose a well-defined topic—the more specific the better—and dedicate yourself to writing deep and detailed articles on that subject.
Search volume with the brand name
ESPN is synonymous with sports.
CNN is synonymous with news.
YouTube is synonymous with watching videos online.
Work so that the name of your company is related in the user’s mind to a specific topic.
That way, when people want to search for something on that topic, they will put the name of your company directly in the search engine.
For example: our goal is that when people want to find out something about SEO, they put Pencil Speech on Google.
Be the purple cow :
Of all the content on the Internet on the subject of your company, how could you differentiate yourself?
The idea is that your website covers a topic in such a particular and complete way that people fall in love with the way you approach that topic and want to come back every time they have a question related to it.
Google has reported that domain age is not directly a ranking factor.
However, having an old website does correlate with better search engine rankings.
As the reputation (links) is not earned overnight, having several years in the market should help you get more positive references in your industry.
Also, Google does take into account the date your site was first archived in its algorithm.
Don’t wait any longer and buy your domain to design your website .
Business and site reputation
The search engine pays a lot of attention to what comments (reviews) people are leaving on your website or in your My Business account.
In addition, Google has mentioned that it is also very aware of how the customer service of each company is in the real world.
Therefore, care not only about how you look online, but also about what you do offline.
Gives good customer service.
It offers a first-rate user experience.
Ask your visitors to leave a small review of your product or service.
If you do well on social media, your company will feel the impact in a positive way.
Your brand will reach more people, the number of users who talk about your products and services will increase and your content will have a greater reach.
Social media, as GaryVee put it on Crush It , is a kind of word of mouth, but on steroids.
If you do things correctly, if you worry about nurturing your community with content, people will use their platforms to talk about you and your benefits.
If you want to succeed on social media, don’t sell.
Create a community around the topics that your company covers and add value to the point of exhaustion.
At Pencil Speech, we have an article on the best content strategy on social networks and there we explain, step by step, what you must do to generate impact.
To gain reputation and respect you require votes of confidence. You need the authorized voices of the industry in which you operate to affirm that you are good at what you do.
To measure this, Google looks at the links.
If many companies, educational institutions and government entities maintain that your content is good and link to your website, the search engine will have no other option than to give you that approval and reward you with better positions on the results page.
What SEO factors influence links?
Quality and quantity of links
The more reputable sites link to your website, the better.
Now, the quality of those links can vary depending on the following factors:
Authority : a link from The New York Times is not the same as one from Pedrito Pérez.
Location : a link on the home page is not the same as one in a section of the website that is very difficult to reach.
Anchor text : putting the link in a phrase that talks about your benefits (for example: “The best clothing store”) is not the same as putting it on a simple “here”.
Authenticity : Google has mechanisms to see if the link you earned came from some kind of commercial exchange or if you simply earned it because your content is very good.
Pages with lots of incoming links rank above pages that don’t have as many. In fact, Brian Dean says that the #1 result on Google has an average of 3.8x more backlinks than the #2 – #10 positions.
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Create content worth quoting, mentioning, reposting.
Making unique, relevant and creative texts will make more and more people want to share those articles on their websites.
Making infographics or unpublished studies on relevant topics for the moment will lead you to get many quality links (big media and industry voices).
In the SEO of 15 years ago, many people created hundreds of websites to put links that went to the portal they wanted to position.
That’s where the term farm came from.
This, of course, was considered a bad practice and Google began to penalize those responsible.
Therefore, make sure that the links you earn are authentic, genuine and comply with the search engine’s standards.
Do not pay anyone to put a link to your website on their portal.
Do not buy links or create ghost websites to earn links.
Let referrals to your portal come as a result of the great work you are doing.
If you write about medicine, you will want the websites that link to your portal to be from doctors or health centers (clinics, hospitals, outpatient clinics).
Let’s remember that to become an authoritative voice in your field you need to be approved by that same field.
Create resources that those institutions can use.
Do public relations. Connect with organizations with which you can form a bond in which both parties are nurtured.
Internal links to reputable websites
Not only matters the links you receive, but also the ones you give.
If you cite reliable sources of information, if you mention authorized voices in your content, Google will reward you.
Who are the most respected names in your industry? In marketing, for example, Seth Godin is a reference figure. The same can be said for Rand Fishkin in the world of SEO.
Identify the most valuable surnames and brands in your industry and let your consumers know that much of your work is supported by their contributions.
Speed in which you are receiving the links
If one of your texts is receiving a lot of links lately, Google can infer that that piece of content is relevant at the moment.
Therefore, it will reward you with better positions on the results page.
This has to do with the Freshness factor , mentioned above.
Update your content constantly: add discoveries, update them with best practices, add images or videos that complement what is written.
Write pieces that do not lose relevance over time , articles that serve today, tomorrow and for the next 10 years.
SEO factors on page and technical aspects
Although highly intelligent, Google is still a robot.
For this reason, there are a handful of technical elements (some more complex than others) that you must take care of so that the algorithm understands what to do with your website.
What factors influence Technical SEO ?
Use of relevant words, phrases and topics
Despite refining its algorithm year after year, Google still behaves like a machine.
The search engine is a robot that works by sending spiders to record all the content that is published on the web.
When those spiders land on your site, you want to make sure they have a good understanding of what you’re doing.
Therefore, keywords remain essential.
Use your keyword in:
-The title tag (Google title).
-The H1 (header or internal title of your pages).
-The text in general, but without abusing it.
-The images (alternative texts).
Remember to use in your content phrases and terms that are related to the central theme of your article (semantic content).
Crawlable and accessible by search engines
There is no use putting keywords if you deny spiders access to your website.
With a robots.txt file, you can decide what you want Google to put in its library and what not.
Make sure you don’t block anything you want to be ranked.
Also, take into account the following:
Google can only read and understand content that is in text format.
For this reason, as we explain in Technical SEO: How to make Google know what your page is about? , you must ensure that all the information that you want to be positioned appears in writing .
Do a crawl of your site to see how much information from your portal Google is accessing.
A good way to know how the search engine sees your website is with the Web Developer extension.
With this tool, disable all styles and then view your portal .
That’s how you know what Google is adding to its library.
Also, so that the search engine knows what your images are about, use the alt-text (alternative text).
Apart from what is written on your web page, you can report additional things to Google to help the search engine rank your website better.
That is, you can report that your content is a recipe or a book, for example.
In our text on Technical SEO: How to make Google know what your page is about? We detail what Google says about it:
“Google Search goes to great lengths to understand the content of a page. You can help us by including structured data on the page to give Google explicit clues about its meaning. Structured data is a standardized format for providing information about a page and classifying its content; For example, on a recipe page, it would be the ingredients, cooking time and temperature, calories, etc.” ( Source )
“A rich result can include design elements, images, and other interactive features that could help your site stand out more in Search results. Use structured data on your page to provide specific information about its content, thereby improving the way Google interprets it and displays its rich results in Search.” ( Source )
However, in the study by Brian Dean that we have mentioned, the company Backlinko states that this is not a ranking factor per se.
Here is a list of the structured data that helps Google display the correct information on the results page.
At schema.org you will find several tags that you can add to your content.
And here you have a structured data testing tool.
Security certificate (HTTPS)
If your website URL has HTTPS at the beginning, it means that it has an SSL certificate.
This certificate is, as we explained in our article on How to create an SEO website? , a kind of shield that secures the data of your portal on a server and protects the site from possible attacks.
Having an SSL certificate tells Google that your site is trustworthy and that you are who you say you are (authentication).
Check that your URL starts with a padlock.
If you don’t have an SSL security certificate, you can purchase one from one of these companies .
hreflang tag for internationalization
If you want the content of your site to vary according to countries and languages, you must put a special tag on it so that your portal knows when to display each type of information.
This is what Google says about it:
“If you have multiple versions of a page in different languages or targeting specific regions, please let us know. This way, Google Search can show users the most appropriate version of your page based on their language or region.”
Let Google know what it should display on its results page.
You can do it in three ways, which are explained here .
Your URLs speak volumes about you because they indicate how tidy your house is.
They can help you:
-Optimize the user experience (the person will be able to know what the page they will click on is about).
-Make Google’s job easier (the search engine will know what that section of your site is about).
-Improve your location on the results page (although of little weight, it is a positioning factor).
-Increase the value of the links of your pages that appear on other websites (Google is very interested in what the URL says, in order to determine how much quality that link is).
Having short URLs is correlated with better search engine rankings ( source ).
Modify the structure of your URLs so that:
-The keyword appears in them.
-In your site there are not so many levels of depth. That is to say: www.empresa.com/ropa is preferable to www.empresa.com/tienda/merchandise/national/clothes.
You can make these changes in two places within your WordPress admin:
-In the ‘Settings’ tab (click on ‘Permalinks’).
-In each Post or New Page (just below the title, you can modify the address of that page).
Just as you want Google to be able to crawl most of your website, sometimes you want the search engine not to archive certain pages, because they are not relevant.
This can happen with pages:
-For premium users or company staff.
-With private information.
-Of little value.
-With duplicate content.
Plugins like Yoast SEO allow you to select on each page the option to enable or disable the presence of that content in search engines.
At Pencil Speech we wanted to change the default author pages that our WordPress theme brought. So, we created a new one and made the others disappear from the browser.
A sitemap is a blueprint of your website. By creating it, you make it easier for Google to crawl your site . If your portal were an apartment, the search engine would already know where the bathrooms are, where the bedrooms are and where the living room is.
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Create a sitemap and upload it to your Search Console .
The Rank Math plugin can do the sitemap for you.
Like the hreflang tag, the location of your server will allow you to gain more visibility in the territory where it is hosted.
At your hosting provider, go into your account details and see where your server is hosted.
Ask them to change that location according to your preference and your business vision.
Site SEO factors, user experience and design
Although it is true that Google is a robot, we cannot forget that it works to satisfy the needs of human beings.
And human beings like to feel good, they love to enjoy themselves and to know that they are cared for.
Therefore, taking care of your users’ experience is a key aspect for your SEO efforts to be truly successful.
What SEO factors influence the design?
Adaptability to multiple devices
Your website should look good on the screen of a PC, a laptop, a cell phone, a tablet and any other device that can connect to the Internet.
If you want to save time and effort, design your portal in a content manager like WordPress.
The platform will make sure that your pages are functional in any context.
However, you will still have to test and adjust things along the way.
To improve mobile performance, download an AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) plugin to make it easier to read and increase the loading speed of your site’s content.
Appearance (layout and design) of the site
The task, for those of us who work in marketing, is not just to fulfill, but to delight.
The brands that make the difference (Apple, Starbucks, Nike), more than offering products or services, make the market fall in love.
In short, your website must be pleasing to the eye and it must be very easy to use.
Do not complicate yourself.
Be unique , but at the same time follow the conventions of the web world .
Structure of the pages (texts and articles)
As we always say : on the Internet, users do not read, they scan.
Therefore, the way you present the information is almost as important as the information itself.
Your content should be organized with titles and subtitles.
You must take care of the hierarchies and make use of italics, bold, lists and tables, when necessary.
Also, keep in mind that the most important part of each text, the central idea, should be in the first paragraph.
As we explained in our article on SEO On Page: 7 steps to apply it [+ tools and success story] :
Mainly, your site must be very intuitive. You should not make users think.
They must guess how to do each thing within your website and predict, in a simple way, where the information they are looking for is.
Make navigation simple: use the header and footer to make it easy for the visitor to move to the different sections of your site.
Organize the information according to topics and categories. Connect your pages with hyperlinks.
Leave breadcrumbs that explain to the user where they are standing.
Make sure that all your information is within reach of no more than three clicks.
If the same content (article or product section) has several pages, it is important to make this clear to the search engine.
On the right side of the editor of any of your website sections, you will find an option that says ‘Page Attributes’. There you can indicate to which mother content that particular text belongs.
How to make content for SEO? [Complete Guide 2020 + PDF] is a mother content with four children:
– Writing SEO texts: How to write an article for a blog?
– SEO titles and descriptions to attract customers [13 examples]
– SEO and user experience: Tips that will increase your traffic .
– Technical SEO: How to make Google know what your page is about?
More information on pagination, here .
Your website may be beautiful and functional, but if it doesn’t load quickly you will inevitably lose visitors who could have turned into customers.
As we mentioned in our SEO On Page article :
According to Kissmetrics , 1 second delay in load time results in a 7% loss in conversions.
On the other hand, on mobile, if you reduce the load time by 1 second, your conversion rate could increase by 27%.
However, just because your website is fast doesn’t mean you’re going to rank higher, as Brian Dean claims .
Therefore, it is not a success factor when it comes to positioning yourself, but it is when it comes to offering a good user experience.
Don’t use heavy resources.
Download plugins that compress the quality of the images.
Hire a good hosting service so that server response times are not high.