What You Need to Know to Improve SEO Using CDNs

Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) can improve page load speed and bring more traffic through better search engine positions. But only if you use it correctly. Network Optimization firm Incapsula, a provider of cloud-based CDNs that aid in defending and optimizing webites, has shared their in-depth knowledge of this topic in multiple posts on their blog. In this post I will summarize the points they made.

Debunking CDN SEO Myths

Let’s start with eliminating some common SEO myths. None of these are true:
  • Many sites on a single IP are bad for SEO; in this Google Webmasters official forum discussion the official Google rep stated “We generally do not treat sites hosted on CDNs any differently”.
  • CDNs create duplicate content; each copy of your content has exactly the same URL, so Google’s crawlers will not see multiple copies regardless of which location presents the content when they crawl it.
  • Bot blocking will stop Google’s crawlers; bot blockers only block bad bots; they never block crawlers from recognized search engines.
  • CDNs will hurt my ability to rank for my geographic location; the IP address is not the primary signal Google users to determine the location of the server that hosts your site; Google first looks at your Webmasters Tools setting and TLD country code. CDNs also whitelist their server locations to prevent any localization errors.

CDN Affect on Page Speed

We all know the importance of reducing page load times and increasing page speed. Moz has been very clear about how webite speed impacts search ranking. What many do not realize is that what really matters is “Time to First Byte” (TTFB). CDNs impact on TTFB Using a CDN will not improve your SEO unless you optimize not only how long it takes to load the first byte, but also what you load. Ilya Grigorik, developer advocate on Google’s “Make the Web Fast” team rejected a study claiming TTFB does not matter, explaining:
“It’s not only the time that matters, but also what’s in those first few bytes… Of course it doesn’t matter if you flush your ‘200 OK’ after 1ms vs 1s…. But if you know what you’re doing and craft the response right, then it can make a huge difference”.
The primary cause of slow TTFB is processor time required to dynamically generate html pages. Sites using any database driven CMS (WordPress for example) dynamically generate your home page for every new visitor. Loadtime comparison of html, javascrips, images and CSS An excellent solution would be to classify the HTML components as static and have them delivered directly from a CDN, with no processing and from the nearest possible location. Some CDNs are using advanced caching algorithms to identify and cache more html to store statically, thereby reducing the time and amount of html that must be dynamically generated.For example, Incapsula wrote in CDN SEO Benefits and Advantages:
At Incapsula we see a double (and event triple) digit site speed improvement among the websites using our service. This improvement is achieved not only by CDN content Caching and Geo Distribution capabilities, but also by clever uses of existing assets. Namely, we will automatically Minify your source code, GZip your files and even Cache your “Un-Cacheable” dynamically generated content (especially useful for websites with dynamic catalogs, on-site search features and etc). As a result your website will load faster, achieve higher SERP rankings and provide better overall User Experience, thus also improving Bounce and Conversion rates.

More advanced CDNs use various methods of compression to automatically Minify your source code and GZip your files for additional reductions in load time. CDNs can be used to improve on-page SEO and search rankings, but only if you choose the right CDN and take advantage of faster TTFB, reduced dynamic html, and increased compression.

How To Increase Google Trust

If you are a webmaster looking to increase rankings and organic traffic from Google, then this tutorial will definitely prove helpful. You may have heard of Google’s Panda / Farmer update affecting low quality websites – this tutorial will answer the questions of what does Google view as low quality – and more importantly – how do I make my website a high quality site?
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Google Page Speed Score vs. Website Loading Time

You might have read yesterday’s article titled “Average Page Load Time of Top Ranking Websites in Google.” It conducts a study on the average page loading times of top ranking URLs in Google. You may also be wondering how you can improve the speed at which your own web pages load. Keep reading; this article will show you how to diagnose your technical issues with Google Page Speed.
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