CDN SEO
29 Oct 2018

How CDN SEO Helps Improve Search Result Rankings

Any internet-reliant business strives to achieve good SERP rankings. While Google is constantly making tweaks and changes to its algorithm and improves the effectiveness of ads, nothing gets close to being as effective as organic traffic. CDN SEO is what you need in this case.

While the main ranking factors – compelling, top-notch quality content, link-building and social media coverage – remain unchanged, page loading speed is becoming increasingly important as time goes by.

Why is Page Loading Speed Important to Search Engines?

In 2010, Google started to pay a lot of attention to how fast websites load, and officially announced that page loading speed is a ranking factor. This has a lot to do with delivering the best user experience to the public since that’s what Google is all about. Moreover, page loading speed has been numerously confirmed to be of utmost importance to users:

  • 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.
  • 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.

While there is no concrete information on how exactly does page loading speed affect SEO, judging by the data, it will keep increasing over time.

How CDN SEO Can Help Improve Your Google Rankings

A content delivery network represents a collection of remote servers scattered around the globe. They are designed to host a copy of your static and dynamic content. When visitors land on your website, it loads from a server closest to them, which dramatically improves loading speed.

Keep in mind that a CDN isn’t the same as your native host server. CDN PoPs only hold a copy of your content. If the original host has issues, they will persist. This is why choosing a good host is still paramount.

Here is how businesses can benefit from CDN SEO.

Mobile Page Loading Speed is Now a Ranking Factor

The claim that page loading speed is becoming more important over time is further supported by the exponentially increasing mobile traffic, which currently accounts for over 50% of overall traffic for most websites in the world.

Mobile users are even more sensitive to page loading speed.

  • 73% of them have encountered websites that are slow to load
  • Oer 40% won’t think twice before jumping to a competitor’s site if they find yours to be too slow for their liking.

Starting from July 2018, mobile page loading speed officially joined the rest of the Google search ranking factors. While the so-called “speed update” impacted a small number of queries, and high-quality, relevant content is still prevalent, the mobile trend will inevitably increase the importance of page loading speed as time goes by.

Currently, the optimal page loading speed for an e-commerce website is under two seconds, but Google aims for 0.5 seconds. Moreover, since mobile browsing keeps overtaking desktop, a significant change in Google’s ranking algorithms is already in test-mode.

“To make our results more useful, we’ve begun experiments to make our index mobile-first. Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results. Of course, while our index will be built from mobile documents, we’re going to continue to build a great search experience for all users, whether they come from mobile or desktop devices.” – Doantam Phan, Product Manager at Google.

HTTPS is a Ranking Factor

Since most online businesses, in one way or another, involve over-the-internet purchases, HTTPS becomes an essential metric for site rankings. While traditional HTTPS websites have been rather slow, with the release of HTTP/2, a bunch of performance optimizations – multiplexing, HPACK compression, one connection per origin, server push – have become accessible, increasing HTTPS page loading speed by over 20%.

Now the interesting relationship between HTTPS and CDN is that you can deliver both static and dynamic content over HTTPS via the SSL certificate of your CDN vendor, without having one on your host server.

This practice has recently been popularized via Let’s Encrypt, an online authority that issues SSL certificates free of charge. Now, most CDN vendors can enable HTTPS on your website for free, and as long as they support HTTP/2, the HTTPS protocol will be fast enough to satisfy the current average of under 2 seconds page loading times.

 No Duplicate Content

Duplicate content has always been considered a “sin” by Google bots, primarily because it was abused by many websites back when search engines weren’t as smart.

A correcly set up CDN, it helps to make sure that no duplicate content is online at the same time, eliminating the risk of being penalized. This is achieved with the help of canonic headers, caching algorithms and Robots.txt files.

  • Canonic headers are an additional header setup above HTTP, designed to help crawlers understand the content you’re serving is a copy.
  • Caching algorithms are used to download the content for the user and store it, without having to repeat the process next time the visitor returns.
  • Robots.txt files are designed to give instructions to search engines. Usually, the bots scan the root of the website, looking for those files to accelerate the crawling process.

Fast Image Indexing

Google image search has always been an underdog in the world of SEO, with businesses prioritizing general search over everything else. However, statistics don’t agree:

  • Over 10% of all Google search traffic is accredited to images.google.com.
  • In 2010, Google had indexed over 1 billion images.
  • Daily pageviews of Google images is over 1 billion.

By hosting images on a CDN, you’ll get bots to crawl and index them faster, pushing the images.google.com results much higher in search engines.

100% Website Uptime

While not the most impressive ranking factor, reliable uptime is still crucial for SEO. Having explicit content is excellent, but if visitors can’t safely and consistently access it anytime, anywhere, the value starts diminishing. Also, since Google prioritizes customer experience above everything else, it will restrain from bringing your website to the top results if it keeps receiving crashing reports.

Due to most CDN vendors having 50+ PoPs around the world, it’s safe to say that your website will continuously enjoy a 100% uptime. If a server goes down, another one will be there to take its place instantaneously. Moreover, CDNs lower the chances of cyber-attacks due to multiple servers hosting a copy of your static and dynamic content.

Conclusion

These are the main ways how CDN SEO can be beneficial for businesses regardless of industry. Modern CDN vendors have highly affordable costs and include numerous perks with the plan.  If you’re keen on improving your search engine rankings, utilizing CDN SEO is a no-brainer.

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