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Is Cloudflare good for ranking on search engines

I wonder if it is good in terms of SEO to switch to a CDN. Cloudflare only caches some static data. Even HTML data will generally not be cached. So what's the benefit of using this service? Can anybody tell me if a CDN like Cloudflare can help to rank a international website better?

shah's picture

It has both positive and negative side

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You may know that CDN may help your SEO in following ways-

  • improving site load time
  • which will ensure a good user experience
  • short load time for search engine bots as they will access your site from a local server

Page load time is a factor for PageRank in Google. Even google explained it on one of its webmaster's blog. Google published the article titled Using site speed in web search ranking in 2010. If you read carefully, you will see that site speed is not a major ranking signal. From the post-

While site speed is a new signal, it doesn't carry as much weight as the relevance of a page. Currently, fewer than 1% of search queries are affected by the site speed signal in our implementation and the signal for site speed only applies for visitors searching in English on at this point. We launched this change a few weeks back after rigorous testing. If you haven't seen much change to your site rankings, then this site speed change possibly did not impact your site.

And like the saying, every magic comes with a price. Now let me tell you what damage CloudFlare can do to your sites. CloudFlare would set a specific IP for a bunch of sites. When search engines try to crawl sites detects multiple sites are coming from the same IP, they ease the process to slow down. CloudFlare also claimed on their blog that they have worked on this and solved the problem. In their words from here -

First, we invented a new technology that, when it detects a problem on a site, automatically changes the site's CloudFlare IP addresses to isolate it from other sites. (Think of it like quarantining a sick patient.) Second, we worked directly with the crawl teams at the big search engines to make them aware of how CloudFlare worked.

I have heard many people who are satisfied with their years of experiences with CloudFlare with no or meager downtime and many left the service for the same reason saying that CloudFlare's uptime track record is awful. In an answer about this downtime issue, Matt Cutts explained that little time interval may not cause any issue with PageRank. But long downtime may remove your site from the SERP. From the experiences of people, I would say little downtime for using CloudFlare is acceptable then.Because it is not a big issue for PageRank as search giants Google say so. Like I said, I have heard people with satisfactory services and the opposite about the downtime issue with CloudFlare. But the question is, are you ok with this downtime issue for your users? Will they be happy if this happens so often? But at the same time, it will protect you from DDoS attacks. CDN needs to be well configured. If you cannot configure it right, it may be a boomerang for you.

 If you think your site's load time is too slow and needs to be improved, you may go for it. But before that, try to ensure the uptime track with the service provider.