Does CDN help SEO? – CDN, Google, Page speed and ranking factors

Content Delivery Network (CDN )  is in talk for the last few years and it has got more attention when Matt Cutts of Google presented its importance during SMX West 2010 (Check Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1iuqHdNfGo) and how Google treats Page speed as  important criteria for search rankings.

With and Without CDN

With and Without CDN

 

As  discussed earlier, some of the best practices for SEO in 2014, and I believe we can add “Setting up a CDN” as another good SEO practice too.

Since site loading speed becomes a standard for search engine rankings, webmasters have to consider ways to speed up web site loading, and CDN is one way which Google recommends too.

What is Content Delivery Network (CDN)? A CDN consists of multiple servers at different data centers with the capability to provide content to users all over the world. CDNs are used by media companies and content owners to ensure continuous up-time of the availability of content, data, and files to end-users. Based on the geographical proximity of the visitor to the site the nearest server is invoked to send the files and content to the user’s computer and address sudden surges in Internet traffic. The technology is an effective answer to the huge storage and demand posed by big sized multimedia files – streaming videos and IPTV for some instances. There are many popular CDN systems available for secure and robust delivery of cached content. Of these, CloudFlare and MaxCDN have a deep market proliferation in terms of subscriptions. Each has their own strong points. A business needs to see which of these aligns best to their growth and media objectives and then select one of the two. Some of the salient features of the two are as below

  1. While CloudFlare was conceived as a security product, MaxCDN has a well thought out infrastructure setup build solely for CDN
  2. Cloudflare has a good free version in addition to the paid versions – a good choice for beginners. MaxCDN provides only paid CDN services
  3. Cloudflare users can mix different plans for different websites all clubbed under a single account. MaxCDN billing is done based on total bandwidth dealt by its servers.
  4. Cloudflare’s 23 data centers spread over the world helps fast page loads. MaxCDN partners up with peering partners in 53 location across Europe, North America, and Asia

Which CDN we use? We use Cloudflare for our business site Macronimous.com and we found a considerable increase in site loading speed. Their free plan is a good place to start and they are good enough for simple business sites. Moreover setting up this CDN is just less than 10 minutes work – you do not require much technical knowledge, all you require just the DNS changes. With CDN and without CDN - How cloudflare or any CDN works You get the full flexibility to try out the free plans first in case you want to gauge the efficacy of the Cloudflare. In case you feel that the competencies of Cloudflare are well suited to meet your business and IT objectives, then you can opt for a ‘Pro’ plan that provides enhances features, speed, and security. We also use their CDN for many of the popular .js files such as backbone.js, jQuery validation engine etc using CDNjs. CDN for WordPress and Bootstrap If you are a WordPress fan you might have heard about Yoast SEO plugin and Joost de Valk (the arm behind Yoast) who recommends MaxCDN. As W3 Total Cache and MaxCDN go hand in hand it should be an easy choice for your WordPress sites. BootstrapCDN is a free CDN available on public domain.  If Twitter’s Bootstrap is your choice of framework, then BootsrapCDN should put an end to your search for a CDN. It can be used well for an emerging business with rapid content delivery needs and wider connect with a global audience. This CDN allows loading of CSS and JavaScript pages. It also facilitates loading of remote images from other servers. Using this CDN for your WordPress site, you can achieve the significant benefits associated with BootstrapCDN based WP sites –

  • Faster load speeds,
  • Lesser server requests, and
  • Lower bandwidth consumption.

Why is proper content delivery important for SEO? Many SEO practices need rigorous adherence to ensure maximum visibility of top of search engine results pages. Proper implementation of CDN systems boosts SEO of the website considerably. Some of the ways in which CDN helps your SEO campaign are as under –

  1. Businesses can utilize CDN to provide content to site visitors in a rapid way, thus helping global reach and expand their coverage
  2. One of the best SEO practices is the amount of time taken by a site to load content. Lesser load time enabled by CDN is SEO friendly
  3. CDN setup and hosting follow SEO practices, thus reducing the need to align the overall website to the industry SEO practices

Search Engines and CDN Setup and deployment of CDN systems calls for the development strategy that appeals to Google. The configuration of an effective CDN service system helps distribute content and data from the nearest server to the site visitor, thus improving overall user experience, reducing page load time.  Also setting up and shaping up the CDN subdomain to Bing webmaster tools and Google webmaster tools can work wonders to boost your SEO experience and bring more traffic to your website. Google even launched their own CDN service, and currently (as on Dec 2013) it’s on invitation based mode. You can sign for your invitation  here and wait for your turn or use some other commercial CDNs which are already available in the market. General CDN advantages CDN is a preferred way to proliferate the online segment with faster page loads through the content replication mechanism employed by CDNs. These systems spread the availability of web pages and content across different geographies and the site visitor will be served the pages from the nearest server. CDN offers remarkable gains to an organization in terms of

  1. Caching and image optimization to boost time taken for page loads
  2. Use of multiple servers to host content
  3. Minimal lag time in accessing content
  4. Quick loading of jQueries and heavy scripts

These factors add up together to improve user experience and enhance SEO friendliness – a potent combination that guarantees online success. Make Google Happy For emerging businesses, setting up a CDN would make not only your site visitors happy (in terms of faster page loads, web page caching, and enhanced user experience), but also make Google happy (in terms of use of multiple servers, negligible delays in page loads, and image optimization), a combination needed to score highly in SEO and improve site traffic.