Does Content Delivery System (CDN) Help Improve Ranking? Google Answers.

3 min read

In Google’s Office-hours Hangout, which was recorded on June 3, 2022, Google’s John Mueller addressed whether utilizing a Content Delivery System (CDN) impacts a website’s search rankings. This query came from a viewer who mentioned that a significant portion of their web traffic originates from a particular country, and their website is hosted on a server in that same country. The viewer inquired whether placing the entire website behind a CDN could enhance page speed for users and, in turn, influence its search rankings.
Mueller’s response was comprehensive. He extensively delved into CDNs and touched upon issues such as page speed, crawling, and related SEO considerations. Now, as we enter 2023, let’s revisit this discussion to see how it remains relevant in the ever-evolving landscape of SEO.

First things first, what is a CDN?

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) consists of servers and data centers strategically dispersed across various locations. Its primary purpose is to optimize content distribution by minimizing latency. Simply put, when a user in Australia attempts to access a webpage from your website, having a server located in Australia ensures that the page loads with minimal delay. The closer the server is to the user seeking access, the higher the likelihood of a smooth and glitch-free experience. This accelerates page loading speed and contributes to a reduced bounce rate for that specific page. Ultimately, these factors are pivotal in enhancing your website’s overall search rankings over the long term.

So, does CDN improve a website’s search rankings?

Here’s what the viewer asked.

“Does putting a website behind a CDN improve ranking? We get the majority of our traffic from a specific country. We hosted our website on a server located in that country. Do you suggest putting our entire website behind a CDN to improve page speed for users globally or is that not required in our case?”

To which Mueller replied.

“The only effect where I could imagine that something might happen is what users end up seeing. And, kind of what you mentioned, if the majority of your users are already seeing a very fast website because your server is located there, then you’re kind of doing the right thing.

But of course, if users in other locations are seeing a very slow result, because perhaps the connection to your country is not that great, then that’s something where you might have some opportunities to improve that.

And you could see that as something kind of in terms of an opportunity in the sense that, of course if your website is really slow for other users, then it’s going to be rarer for them to start going to your website more because it’s really annoying to get there.

Whereas if your website is pretty fast for other users, then at least they have an opportunity to see a reasonable fast website, which could be your website. So from that point of view, if there’s something that you can do to improve things globally for your website, I think that’s a good idea.

I don’t think it’s critical.”

In light of this, employing a CDN may not yield an immediate, direct impact on your search rankings. However, it is a worthwhile endeavor to enhance your website’s global presence and overall user experience. Slow-loading websites are generally less favored by visitors, and while this may not be a critical factor for your search performance, it is undeniably a wise move.
Additionally, if users in a specific country encounter prolonged page load times when accessing your website, it’s prudent to consider switching to a different server in that region. This adjustment presents another opportunity to improve user experience and your website’s performance.

Does CDN affect Google’s crawl speed?

That’s another aspect Mueller shed light on and is something that states about the potential benefits of using a CDN.

“It’s not something that matters in terms of SEO in that Google has to see it very quickly as well or anything like that. But it is something that you can do to kind of grow your website past just your current country.

Maybe one thing I should clarify, if Google’s crawling is really, really slow, then of course that can affect how much we can crawl and index from the website.” So that could be an aspect to look into. The majority of websites that I’ve looked at, I haven’t really seen this as a being a problem with regards to any website that isn’t millions and millions of pages large.

So from that point of view, you can double-check how fast Google is crawling in Search Console in the crawl stats. And if that looks reasonable, even if that’s not super fast, then I wouldn’t really worry about that.” concluded John.

While an enhanced search ranking may not be the primary motive for utilizing a CDN, as John clarified, several SEO benefits are associated with its use. To understand these advantages comprehensively, it’s recommended to watch John Mueller’s complete response to the question, starting at the 02:50 minute mark. Additionally, sticking around for the remainder of the discussion may yield valuable insights.

Source: Search Engine Journal