Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is important to your site's relevancy. It reflects how easy it is for search engines, like Google, to find your site.
Each search engine uses bots to crawl websites and gather information about them. The search engine uses this information to build an index. The index uses algorithms that determine what sites show up in results and where.
Using a CDN can improve your site's loading times and enhance your SEO rankings. Using the WAF can improve SEO rankings as well by improving the site's security. There are a few settings in the StackPath portal that can be adjusted, which can improve SEO even more. This article will serve as a guide to explaining SEO and how using the CDN and WAF can affect it.
SEO and the CDN
SEO is the process of how search engines crawl and index sites so they show up organically in results. There are many factors that go into a site's SEO ranking that the CDN can't control such as keywords and phrases, but there are a few factors that it can affect that deal primarily with optimization.
A CDN improves loading times for static assets by caching the content in servers located around the world. When a visitor makes a request to your site, they are pulling the content from cache in the servers closest to their location which reduces latency. This method of speed optimization is great for improving your SEO ranking because a slow site will definitely bring rankings down. You can test out and compare the speed at which your site loads before and after integrating with the CDN using tools such as Pingdom or PageSpeed Insights.
Duplicate Content (Canonical Header)
SEO rankings are negatively impacted if bots crawl your site and find that there is duplicate content. If you are concerned about this, then using a canonical header should ease your worries.
A Canonical Header should be specified if there are multiple URLs that serve identical content. For example, domain.com, www.domain.com, and https://domain.com are all crawled as different sites with identical content. To avoid any negative impact on SEO rankings, a Canonical Header can be set in your StackPath portal. In the example below, we are setting domain.com as the authoritative domain we want our site to be crawled as.
A robots.txt file will help to improve your SEO rankings by specifying what bots can and can't crawl your site. This security measure not only protects your site from harmful bots, but it can specifically tell good bots, such as Googlebot, which pages it can or cannot crawl. If you have a login page, for example, you might not want bots to crawl this portion of your site, so it's good to have one of these files set up.
StackPath honors the robots.txt file on your origin, but there is an option in the Control Portal if you'd like to create one there. This will save the custom version in cache to be served instead of the current robots.txt file on your origin.
Redirects forward one URL to another URL. If you need to set up a redirect, the 301 redirect is the most common and recommended redirect method to prevent any negative SEO hits.
Redirects can serve multiple purposes. You can redirect visitors to another domain, subdomain, path, even robots.txt file. The possibilities are endless with redirects and the best part is that you can easily set these up in your StackPath settings with Edge Rules. In the example below, we are using a 301 redirect to redirect visitors from the www subdomain to the apex domain. If you'd like more information on how to do this, please reference our EdgeRules: Redirect WWW to Apex domain guide.
SEO and the WAF
Security is crucial to SEO rankings. Sites prone to malicious attacks are not likely to be recommended to users in search results. StackPath's WAF is recommended if you're trying to improve upon SEO because of the high level of security it offers.
Full-site integration, which is required when adding the WAF to your site, will allow all of your content from your domain to load securely. To do this, you will have to add an SSL to your StackPath portal. We offer a free SSL certificate that you can generate, or you can upload your own. Please reference our StackPath SSL Options Explained article for more information on how to upload an SSL to your portal. This certificate, in addition to the one that you probably already have on your origin, will keep your site secure, which is another way to boost your site's SEO rankings.
Allow Known Bots
The WAF gives you the ability to whitelist bots from the Allow Known Bots section. Whitelisted bots are allowed to crawl your site without being blocked. It's recommended that you scan this section when you activate the WAF to allow and disallow bots of your choosing. To learn more about the WAF's bot protection policies, please reference our StackPath WAF Bot Protection Explained guide.
If you don't see the bot you're looking for on this list, please feel free to reach out to support, StackPath is always looking to keep this list updated with the latest SEO tools.
If you have any questions or concerns about any of the topics mentioned in this article, please feel free to reach out to support.