It is no secret that a site’s load time impacts its search ranking. SEOs everywhere have stressed page load time and page speed must be considered, and Google has even admitted that page speed does matter.
CDNs play a huge part in optimizing page speed and many people aren’t familiar with CDNs or the process in which they can improve page speed.
What is a Content Delivery Network?
Contact Delivery Networks (CDNs) are a system of servers distributed throughout the world delivering web pages, and other web content (like video streaming) based on the users geographical location. This means that large amounts of content can be delivered quickly and without any interruptions.
For instance, if your website is based in Los Angeles, the people who are accessing it in San Francisco will receive the content faster than people accessing it from Shanghai. The farther away the person accessing the website or application is, the longer the load time and the more frustrating the user experience becomes.
CDNs have been a hot topic for businesses wanting to expand by reaching Internet users globally. It gives businesses the opportunity to reach out to millions of web users anywhere in the world in just seconds. Being able to put your company out in front of as many people as possible and quickly should be a priority for any business looking to grow, and when it comes to SEO, it must be a priority.
How do CDNs Work?
CDNs are made up of a network of servers referred to as “points of presence” or POPs. Each one of these servers (POPs) are spread out in locations all over the world. The CDN server that is located closest to where the user accesses it is called an “edge server.” When a user requests content from a website or application through a CDN, they will be connected to the closest edge server. This ensures the user will receive the best experience possible.
According to Incapsula, some of the benefits of using a CDN include:
- Faster load times for content on your site (this is especially useful for increasing performance of your mobile site)
- Image compression improves performance by reducing the size of images sent to the user
- Session optimization reduces the number of open connections to your web server
- Scaling quickly when there is increased or heavy traffic to your website
- Ensuring the stability of your website by minimizing the risk of traffic spikes at point of origin
- Better site performance and customer experience
CDNs allow you to cache (temporarily store) your websites content on a CDN so it is delivered from an edge server to the user faster than if it were to be delivered from the origin. This allows the content requested to travel from the nearest POP and back, instead of having to travel all the way from the website’s origin server and back.
Another benefit of using a CDN is that CDNs will remove and update (purge) your content regularly, to ensure the most relevant and current content is being delivered, even if the website content is cached. This process is referred to as content invalidation.
How do CDNs Help SEO?
CDNs improve the speed and quality of content that is delivered to the user. CDNs should be seen as part of the solution for search ranking as it is applied to page speed and efficient content delivery, but it is not the only thing that needs to be done to increase search ranking. Think of CDNs as a way to improve upon the technical ranking factors for SEO.
For instance, CDNs help to ensure each version of your website across several servers and locations are identical. CDNs use caching algorithms and canonical headers to help enhance SEO of your website by combatting duplicate content creation issues. Remember, as CDNs purge content so the most recent and relevant content loads first, they must do this across every cached version of a site.
How CDNs Make Your Site Safer?
Having the site load from several servers and from several locations will not only improve your site’s health, but again it is a huge benefit for SEO by increasing the load time of your website.
The risk of attack on your site will also decrease, because of the multiple servers located in multiple geographical locations. Having multiple servers will also help prevent your website from crashing by dividing the load time up among the various servers.
Should You be Using a CDN?
CDNs can benefit anyone with a website or mobile application that could be requested by multiple users at a time. CDNs are especially useful for websites that have a lot of content and varying content types, and complex websites with users from multiple geographical locations. Most importantly, CDNs will increase site load speed, which will increase your search ranking.
On the other hand, if you are going to implement a CDN, make sure that you implement it correctly. Contact a professional to help you implement your CDN, because an incorrectly implemented CDN can compromise your site’s SEO and usability.
How a Bad CDN Can affect Your SEO Ranking
One of the most ignored factors while choosing (or rejecting) a CDN is its impact on a website’s SEO ranking. Let us briefly discuss how a CDN can affect your search ranking by shedding light on the relevant factors.
CDN and SEO: How the two connect?
You should know, How your CDN’s positive and negative website imapact, There are multiple areas of your website performance that affect your SEO ranking, These includes:
1. Server Response Time:
The server response time is generally known as ‘Time to First Byte’ (TTFB) within the domain. TTFB is also called ‘waiting’ by Google (as it is literally a wait for the initial HTML response by a server). The ideal TTFB for a good search engine ranking is below 200 milliseconds. The faster it is the better.
CDNs enhance your TTFB through proxy servers (located close to the end-user) and web caching. It streamlines the response by differentiating full HTTP response and chunk HTTP response depending on the application. After initial caching, it can be further optimized to accommodate slow-loading images and dynamically populating the web page.
There has been a considerable emphasis on secure websites given the wide-ranging threats that a user is vulnerable to over the internet. In order to drive positive results, several search engines including Google have said that they will not penalize their platforms redirecting users from HTTP to HTTPS.
You can easily set up your HTTPS migration via your CDN. However, this process goes beyond merely changing protocols and you should meticulously plan it even if you are using a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
3. Mobile-friendly Websites:
There are more than 4 billion internet users globally. Out of them, around 3 billion are active mobile social media users. The point being is that internet adoption is largely driven through mobile devices. In India, internet penetration has already reached 566 million in 2018 according to a recent Kantar IMRB study. Out of this, 97% of people are using the internet via mobile devices.
Simply put, people prefer accessing web applications and websites via their handheld devices while they are on the go. So, if your website is not mobile-friendly, it will naturally have a lower SEO ranking, With several features such as device detection, network optimization, CDN logic (to decrease the network bandwidth usage), and site migration (redirecting a user to a mobile website), CDNs can help you make a sizeable difference in this regard.
4. Lower Downtime:
Higher downtimes can considerably decrease SEO ranking and can even bump your website out of the search results, a CDN with minimum to negligible downtime with predefined SLAs can ensure this doesn’t occur. Otherwise, your page rank might eventually bear the brunt since search engines badly rate unreliable websites.
Make sure to take all these factors that affect your SEO rating into consideration before extending the service period of your existing CDN. If you are not using one, doing so can help avoid negative impacts on your website and search traffic. The digital market is fast-expanding today. Make the most out of it by developing a positive and all-encompassing strategy.