Hosting in the target country:
One thing small businesses sometimes do is, understandably, to cut costs on the hosting, and go with the cheapest deal out there. On the face of it you may think “well, they all do the same thing”, but for a couple of reasons, that is no the case.
On easy thing to check, which can decide your host company preference, is whether the host’s servers are based in the country you will be targeting your audience to.
So rather than going for a low-cost host in the USA, if your audience are in the UK, go for a cheap host in the UK, and you will be considered more for UK search results.
Server speed can be an important issue, although the degree to which Google thinks it is important is yet to be entirely cleared. But you can safely assume that if when you load up your website, it takes enough time for you to notice it is slow, then Google will notice too, and decide that the user experience would not be high enough.
Regardless, spending too long waiting for a page to load (even 4+ seconds), will likely see visitors disappear and try another site without waiting to watch your site load and see what it has to offer.
Shared or Dedicated hosting:
All low-cost hosting options are priced economically because you are sharing the hardware/the server, with usually hundreds of other sites of a similar size. This isn’t always a problem, however if another site on your server is breaking rules, for example, is full of viruses to infect others, then being on the same IP address, you could find yourself punished too.
Hosts are usually pretty quick to spot these and remove them, however for peace of mind, and an even faster site, a dedicated server may be the best option. This is really only for high traffic sites, or high profit, as prices start at around £350pcm.
Google takes great interest in who links to your site – the sites linking to you are seemingly saying “Their content is appropriate so us, and are linking to them as they seem authoratative on the subject”. But what if the site linking to you is that virus filled site, and nothing to do with you? Google could, possibly, see you as mixing with a ‘bad neighbourhood’, and punish you.
You can spot these links in Webmaster tools, and it is possible to Disavow links that you feel are not suitable and could cause issues. They could also be just sites that are not related to your field. A web designer on your site years back may have collected many links from all sorts of places, as was fine back then, but now those are not necessarily good to have. Try contacting the sites to ask them to remove them, and if you get no response, Disavow them (You can Google this term for instructions).
Domain name choice:
As regards domain endings, or Internet top-level domains (TLDs) as they’re also known, some of these will be self-explanatory. If you want to rank in the UK, you are best off with a .co.uk, .com, or .net. If you are trying to rank throughout Europe, you’re best off using .com or .net, and not a country-specific domain.