SEO 101: The Complete Guide to Digital Assets & Content Delivery Networks

The importance of a Content Delivery Network (CDN) is indisputable in the world of SEO. It can significantly impact your site’s load time, which is directly linked to SEO success. It also increases user experience. Optimizing your site with a CDN is an excellent way to provide the best possible experience for your customers by

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The importance of a Content Delivery Network (CDN) is indisputable in the world of SEO. It can significantly impact your site’s load time, which is directly linked to SEO success. It also increases user experience. Optimizing your site with a CDN is an excellent way to provide the best possible experience for your customers by improving the speed and reliability of your site. Content Delivery Networks are a type of technology that stores web content at multiple locations (locations strategically located close to end-users) and transmits it from the nearest available server.

What is a CDN?

A CDN is an infrastructure that takes your content and spreads it out across various servers. This reduces server load time because it’s sending information from one server instead of many, which means that media will be delivered faster, resulting in better site rankings. 

Many SEO experts agree that an online presence without using CDN is, at best, unproductive.

Why is a CDN important for SEO?

A CDN is essential for SEO as it can significantly impact your site’s load time, which is directly linked to SEO success. A CDN will store copies of your content in servers across different geographic locations, so when someone requests content from your site, they’re more likely to be close enough to one of those servers that there’s no delay in how quickly they get access.

Google stated in 2010 that site speed is a ranking factor. Nobody knows just how much weight this ranking factor has, but you can bet that since it drastically impacts the user’s experience that this weight will most likely keep increasing as time goes on. Especially now the mobile devices are sometimes accounting for over 50% of a website’s traffic.

Alert! Render-blocking scripts

While a CDN can drastically increase the speed of your website, it is also important to remember a CDN is not a magic wand. It delivers your assets the same way they are set up on your page, meaning that you might still face delays if you have many render-blocking resources. Render-blocking resources refer to assets such as JavaScript and CSS that are blocking the DOM and preventing the webpage from rendering until they are downloaded and processed by the browser. A CDN will not fix this for you. 

Here are a couple of recommendations on how to fix render-blocking JavaScript:

  1. If your JavaScript is small, you can inline it
  2. Load your scripts asynchronously by using the HTML async attribute
  3. Defer your JavaScript
  4. Move JavaScript to the footer (not always the best solution)
  5. Alternate methods to defer JavaScript

Here are a couple of recommendations on how to fix render-blocking CSS:

  1. Properly call your CSS files.
  2. Use media queries to mark some CSS resources as not render-blocking
  3. Lessen the number of CSS files (concatenate your CSS files into one file, noting that this becomes less important with HTTP/2)
  4. Minify your CSS (remove extra spaces, characters, comments, etc.)
  5. Use less CSS overall.

Keep in mind HTTPS is also a ranking factor. You can serve your assets over HTTPS with a CDN while not running your main website over HTTPS. However, you cannot do this in the opposite direction as you’ll run into mixed-content warnings. A web server and a CDN each require their SSL certificate, which is an entirely separate process.

Tips for choosing the right CDN for your business

Choosing an appropriate CDN is vital for any online business and can be difficult when you don’t know what you’re looking for. A good rule of thumb is to consider what type of content your site has. If it’s primarily static content that does not often change, like images and HTML pages, it may be best for you to choose full site acceleration. Some CDNs concentrate on large file delivery and rich media – like CacheFly while others focus on dynamic site acceleration. You will want to choose a CDN that is focused on the regions where your users are. Some CDNs are fast in high-traffic areas like North America and Europe, while others have also invested in emerging markets.

Here are the questions you’ll want to ask yourself before picking a CDN: 

1. What type of content will you deliver?

2. Where in the world are your most important users?

3. Do you want a reliable “legacy” CDN or an innovative one?

4. Will they be easy to work with?

5. Do they support personalized content delivery?

6. Will they help with implementation?

How can you use your CDN to increase organic traffic?

Speed is a ranking factor. Your site’s webpage load times are critical, affecting everything from bounce rate to time on your website (dwell time), conversion rates, and the overall user experience. By improving speed, optimizing images, and increasing reliability and availability, you will rank higher on google, driving more organic traffic to your site.

What is a content delivery network, and how does it work?

A content delivery network, or CDN, is usually defined as a globally distributed network of proxy servers deployed in multiple data centers that serve content (media) to end-users with high availability and high performance. In other words, it’s an infrastructure of caches placed near end users. A CDN offers several advantages over traditional hosting arrangements. By placing copies of content closer to end-users and connecting those copies via high-speed network links, CDNs can provide highly reliable content delivery.

The basics of setting up your own CDN

If you are looking for ways to take your SEO game up another notch, setting up your own CDN could be just what you need. To set up your own CDN, there are three key components that you will need. These include traffic sources, content delivery servers, and security. CacheFly already has these bundled and ready to go, but we offer bespoke solutions if you are looking for a custom option!

Switching CDN Provider?

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Our CDN experts will work with you to design a custom set of solutions to fit your technical and budgetary requirements. Simply tell us the traffic performance and terms you need, and we’ll make it happen.

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