Is a CDN right for your business, and how can it affect your Search Engine Optimisation performance?
Firstly, what exactly is a CDN? It’s important to know because for many web-based companies it’s soon not only going to be advantageous to use a CDN, but it will be essential to keep up with the competition. Several reputable companies allow you to quickly and easily set up a CDN; for instance if you’re using UK2 website hosting, and the potential benefits are immediately apparent.
Essentially, a Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a series of servers scattered around the world. A copy of the files you use for your site is kept in different locations, meaning that when someone accesses your website, they receive the data from the server closest to them. So, say you’re an American company, based in California, and someone in New York is accessing your site, you want the copy of your webpage to be sent to them from your East Coast server rather than your West Coast one.
But why? There are several benefits, but here is the one to keep in mind:
Closer servers = lower latency and fewer routing issues
That means pages loading faster, and consequently greater customer satisfaction, and higher levels of traffic.
Using a CDN significantly lessens the impact of DDoS attacks, and gives your site more uptime, because if one server should fail, your pages can still be loaded from other servers. It will just take that little bit longer.
So where does Mobile SEO come into it? Well, believe it or not, a lot of us are now using mobile devices to browse the web and buy stuff. So the speed at which pages load on smartphones and tablets is increasingly important, particularly as we can be an impatient bunch, and a few seconds waiting for a page to load can be enough to make a lot of us hit the Back button and head for a different site.
Search engines like Google and Bing, therefore, are naturally looking at page speeds as part of their algorithms for rankings, so if you’re using a CDN to get your site moving faster, then that’s going to give you a bit more of an edge.
That all sounds pretty good, right? Moving to a CDN makes your website faster, more reliable, better protected from spam and hackers, and it also helps with your SEO. There is a small cloud on the horizon, however.
Because a CDN means that you’re hosting your website on different domains. What does that do to your rankings on Google? Well, with some hosting companies, such as those which use Cloudflare, the impact is pretty much zero, and you’ve nothing to worry about. With others, you need to be aware of the potential implications for SEO because the best hosting companies will be able to assist you so that any disruption is minimal. Steps can be taken, such as keeping filenames and file paths the same as your principal website.
But generally, if a CDN is right for your business, then it’s worth the SEO hassle.
So what companies have need of an SEO?
Anyone with a wide geographic spread of visitors, for a start. If you sell online in the UK, Europe, the USA, Australia, Canada, then a CDN will be a big help. If your customers are concentrated in a relatively small area though, then there’s little advantage here.
And if your site is image or video-heavy, and you’re using just the one server in your London office, then someone trying to access your pages in Sydney on their phone may be waiting some time before they see the full picture, so a CDN would be a plus there too.
If you’re not already seriously looking at a CDN for your business as a way of expanding, then you probably should be.