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.