SEO is critical if you want your website to rank among the top pages in a search engine. There are many strategies that can boost your Search Engine Optimization. One of the devices that most people don’t know can improve SEO is a CDN (Content Delivery Network).
In this post, we’ll define a CDN, highlight its benefits, and tell you how to use a CDN network to improve SEO for your website.
Let’s get started!
What is a Content Delivery Network?
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A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a collection of servers linked together across different geographical locations. The purpose of this server system is to deliver content to website visitors using the closest server to enhance web page speed.
How Do Content Delivery Networks Work?
Now that we’ve defined a Content Delivery Network (CDN) let’s look at how this system works.
We know that a CDN can distribute website content to searchers in different locations. But how does this happen?
CDNs feature caching algorithms that allow different servers to have a similar copy of content that they can quickly deliver to searchers upon request. A cache, in our context, is a copy of website content stored in a CDN server allowing a page to load faster when a web user needs it.
Not all content is easy to cache using a CDN. There are two main types of content when it comes to CDN caching. They include dynamic and static content.
Dynamic content changes according to the location, user’s device, or time of visit. It’s website information that is personalized according to the “profile” of the visitor. Since it changes from user to user, this type of data is challenging to cache in a CDN.
On the other hand, there is static content which is data that is the same for every website visitor. This data doesn’t change form according to the characteristics of a searcher. It’s generalized and won’t appear in different forms for different users.
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Static content is like the information in a newspaper which is the same for everyone who buys the same copy regardless of geography. Dynamic content is like a newspaper website that delivers various news according to your location and other factors.
Content Delivery Networks can store static content as a cache and distribute it according to user requests. When you search for static data stored in a CDN, it’s like going to a preloaded page. Examples of static files include:
- Image files
- Video files
- HTML files
Benefits of Using a CDN in SEO
There are various ways CDN can affect SEO. If you are not convinced that a CDN is a great investment, let’s discuss some benefits you should consider.
1. Increased Page Load Speed
Content Delivery Networks can help websites deliver content much faster than usual. Here’s why.
When a searcher makes a request on a search engine, the results page will show many websites offering a solution. Once the searcher clicks on a website for the information they need, this request travels to the origin server and back to the user’s device.
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The distance the request travels to bring back the information a user needs is one factor affecting loading speed. Instead of relying on routers to facilitate the information exchange, you can look for a good CDN provider.
CDNs can reduce the time it takes to deliver information to a web user by sending stored website data from a nearby server. Instead of waiting for the information from the origin server, a CDN allows you to have a copy somewhere close.
This means that even if the request is coming from another country or continent, a CDN can deliver the information in less time.
There is another way CDNs can reduce load speed. These server networks can reduce file sizes to make web pages load even faster using minification and file compression.
Search engines like Google have an algorithm that assesses your website load speed. This is one of the metrics that determine rank on the results page. In a situation where your website offers the same content quality and keywords as your competitors, site speed could be the tiebreaker.
How does CDN affect SEO in terms of page load speed? User experience! Pages with slow loading speeds have high bounce rates, while those with fast speeds have low bounce rates. You can get a higher rank if you reduce your website bounce rate.
You can find out your site performance using Google webmaster tools.
2. Traffic Load Balancing
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Network congestion and hardware challenges can make it difficult to maintain your content availability. This can easily happen if you have a popular site that receives many requests simultaneously.
A CDN can distribute the user requests across multiple servers to balance traffic load. As a result, you can provide an efficient and reliable experience to web visitors even when traffic exceeds the usual standards.
In case a server stops working for some reason, a CDN will ensure the web visitors using that server are redirected to the closest alternative. This guarantees web users don’t have to go to your competitors to get what they need, even when a server fails.
If you want a way to ensure traffic remains consistent even when there are hardware issues, a CDN is the best solution. It’ll prevent service disruption by rerouting requests from an overwhelmed server to other data centers.
When there’s too much website traffic for one server to handle, web users will experience delays. If this situation remains unchanged, your website will have increased bounce rates, which could affect your search engine rankings.
Fortunately, a CDN service can ensure you have a fail-safe in case there’s network congestion.
3. Reduce Bandwidth Costs
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Another advantage of getting a CDN is cutting the cost of bandwidth. We can define bandwidth as the transfer of data and page content to and from the origin server. If you have a website hosting plan, you regularly pay the web host a fee for this data exchange.
Since CDNs store website content in several servers, they reduce the need to get a lot of data from the origin server. This, in turn, leads to lower bandwidth charges from your web host.
If you don’t have a CDN, any request from your website visitors will be handled by the origin server. You’ll incur higher bandwidth costs when all your content is moving from the origin server to your target audience.
4. Safety from DDoS Attacks
DDoS, short for Distributed Denial of Service, is an attack on a server, service, or network that aims to overwhelm a target with a tsunami of internet traffic. It’s like creating highway traffic on the road to prevent people from getting to their destination.
These attacks come from computers and devices infected with malware. The attacker controls these devices and directs them to the target to overwhelm the network. As a result, the website experiences a Denial of Service (DoS) because the attack exhausts your website resources.
A CDN offers security features against these malicious attacks. If the DDoS targets a server, the CDN will reroute the traffic across different servers, preventing an overload of traffic.
How to Add a CDN to Your Website
There are different ways you can add a CDN to your website. You can get a CDN from any of the following:
1. Web Hosting Provider
The first place you can find a CDN is from your web host. It may be a free or paid feature built into your system. You only need to enable the function, but in some cases, it’s enabled by default.
If your web host doesn’t offer CDN services, you should check out the next point.
2. Content Management System (CMS) Plugins
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If you use a Content Management system like WordPress or Squarespace, you can install a CDN as a plugin. You should find out if your CMS can support CDN plugins and check out your available options.
3. Self-Hosted CDN
If you are hosting your website, you have more CDN options. There are many CDN providers on the internet. The only challenge is that the CDN setup for a self-hosted website is more tedious than downloading a plugin or extension.
Google Cloud CDN is a good example of a CDN you can use for a self-hosted website. Here are some ways you can use a CDN to improve your website’s SEO.
Set Up the CDN using Your Own Subdomain
You should create a custom domain to ensure the CDN service is in your subdomain rather than the subdomain of your CDN provider. Using your subdomain to set up the CDN will boost SEO rankings and add authority to your main site.
Configure Your DNS to Your CDN
Previously, you’d have to manually change your website’s URL resources to avoid 404 errors when you set up a CDN. Fortunately, you don’t need to do this with modern CDN providers.
Modern CDNs can manage your DNS records and redirect web users to the CDN URL without making any changes.
Use Webmaster Tools
Search engines like Google and Bing offer webmaster tools that you can use to get better accuracy for your geographical target audience. Sometimes, your content may be better for an audience in a particular location, and web admin tools can help you get the content where you want it to go.
It can be challenging to keep up with the best SEO practices since they keep changing all the time. A Content Delivery Network is one of the assets that can boost your SEO performance. A solid CDN-SEO strategy will ensure you can outrank your competitors when all other factors are uniform.
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