Need to improve your website’s SEO? Think CDN.
Swiss Army knives. A helmet that holds two cans of beer. A dog with short enough legs that his belly fur sweeps the floor. Everyone loves things that serve multiple purposes. They’re convenient, efficient and get you the most bang for your buck.
When it comes to your website though, one of the ultimate multi-purpose services you can invest in is a content delivery network, or CDN. Not only does a CDN make your website faster and more efficient for a far better user experience, but it can also give your SEO a major boost.
The ABCs of CDNs
Let’s cover the basics. A CDN is a network of servers located across the globe that store your website’s content and deliver it to users. It’s used in addition to your single hosting server, not in place of, and it enables your website to load faster and more efficiently for each user because of the variety of geographic locations of the servers. The closer a user is to a server, the faster a website will load, so with a CDN when a user visits your website he or she will be redirected to the server nearest their location. Having a number of servers also enables a CDN to load balance, distributing traffic evenly across servers to keep servers from becoming overwhelmed.
In terms of actually delivering content, all CDNs cache static content for faster loading, and more advanced CDNs can even cache dynamic content for the period of time in which it remains unchanged on your website. If you have multimedia content, a CDN is excellent for managing how your website’s resources are used.
Lastly, but certainly not least, CDNs help protect your website from malicious traffic. The multi-server environment already makes your website less vulnerable to the illegitimate traffic influxes that come from DDoS attacks, and high-quality CDNs will also offer built-in DDoS protection to prevent costly downtime. High-quality CDNs will also offer protection from malicious bots, including content scrapers.
What does all this mean for SEO?
You’ve probably already surmised that a CDN is a good thing, even without SEO involvement. After all, CDNs are designed to keep your users happy, which keeps them on your site longer, clicking and converting. As mentioned above though, CDNs are major multi-taskers, and all of the things a CDN does improve your SEO as well.
Search engines are suckers for fast sites
Page load time is an important factor in SEO. Not only is excellent page load times the mark of a quality site, but it also does wonders for user experience, which search engine algorithms take into major consideration. The longer users stay on your website, and the more pages they visit, the better search engines are going to rank it. And nothing will get a user clicking away from an otherwise quality website like lagging load times. A delay of even just one second has been shown to cause a 16% drop in customer satisfaction and a 7% drop in conversions.
Nearly everything a CDN does is done in the interest of speeding up your site and helping it operate more efficiently. Boosted page load time = boosted search engine rankings. Simple as that.
Search engines like sites that keep it clean
There are a couple of factors that can harm your SEO rankings that are largely no fault of your own, instead coming courtesy of malicious bots that make their way onto your site. These factors include duplicate content and link spamming, both of which harm your site’s trustworthiness in the eyes of Google and other search engines, marking your site as one that internet users may need to be protected from.
A great CDN will act as a shield, providing “bad” bot protection that keeps content scraping bots – the bots responsible for duplicating your content on other websites – and link spamming bots – the bots that crowd your comment sections and discussion forums with spammy links for link-building purposes – from ever even accessing your site or reaching your content.
As security firm Imperva Incapsula’s experts say, a Cloud CDN is a must-have for SEO professionals thanks to its easy setup, low cost, and promise of speed and protection against malicious bots. Basically, a CDN provides a bunch of things your site probably needs anyway, and does it all in one fell swoop. If you know of something else that can protect your site from DDoS attacks and malicious bots while speeding it up, greatly improving user experience, and improving your SEO, then congratulations, you know a wizard. An excellent multi-tasker, but hardly a practical solution.