Are CDN’s Really Good for SEO?
This week I went out shopping for a new CDN for elite-strategies.com. Our blog has doubled in viewers 2 times since January, and we are starting to feel the effects. We’ve set up a lot of CDN’s for our customers in the past, but we thought it was finally time to give ourselves some much needed love.
I thought about upgrading our host but realized we were not nearly at our bandwidth or hardware capacity. So a friend told me that a CDN would give us a nice speed boost without having to make crazy modifications to our newly designed site.
The first question I asked myself was: isn’t my site too small for a CDN?
I had the opportunity to speak with a representative from Edgecast by the name of Charlie. Edgecast is one of the top CDN’s on the market right now. Here is basically what he told me:
“While CDN’s are primarily designed for larger websites, it certainly cannot hurt smaller sites. Having a CDN on your website will ensure that your data will arrive to your visitors via the shortest route possible.”
That statement right there was a huge green light for SEO. I knew that this meant that our website would load faster for our visitors than anything else I could do. It also means that there is an added layer of redundancy if something were to go wrong.
What if I don’t get that many visitors?
My mentality is always to “act as if.” It is important to have a site that loads fast weather you have 1 user or 10k users on your site.
You aren’t going to get more visitors if your site loads slow, or is always down. It is important to have the same mentality with a small site as you would with a much larger site.
Aren’t CDN’s only good for dynamic content?
Not at all. Tons of sites that have static content use CDN’s. There are also tons of sites with all sorts of dynamic content that do not use a CDN.
It is really a matter of preference.
My only warning
Stay away from free CDN’s. Just like free hosting, nothing good can come out of something free.
Max CDN is a great option for those of you who have small sites (under 1000 unique visits per day) or under 1TB per month and want to pay under $40.00 per month.
For those of you who are over that 1TB threshold or doing 1000+ unique visits per day, check out Edge Cast or Amazon’s Cloud Front. Really, there are pros and cons to all of them but it is better to go with a big name that hosts sites that you’ve heard of than someone you haven’t heard of.
CDN’s are big business. Like hosting companies there are CDN’s and there are resellers. Don’t sign up with “Jim’s CDN” because it is probably just like it sounds: some guy in a basement that is racking up coin counting his affiliate dollars.
No matter how you slice it, CDN’s are great for SEO, and here is why:
- they improve the overall user experience by delivering your site faster
- they improve your user experience by adding a layer of redundancy
- many CDN’s will give you some great tips on how to improve your site speed. If you get the right person on the phone they will give you a quick assessment from their point of view, which is always good to have.
- your site won’t get scraped as much. A lot of scrapers will get thrown off by adding the CDN layer to your sites equation.
- I have also heard that a CDN can reduce comment SPAM, which I have not confirmed.
If you have any questions, or would like some help setting up your CDN feel free to shoot us a comment or an email, we would be glad to help!