Google On Content Delivery Networks & Search Rankings

Mar 15, 2011 • 8:54 am | comments (0) by | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google Cloud SEOA Google Webmaster Help thread has a Webmaster concerned that since switching to a content delivery network (CDN) his pagerank and search rankings declined.

A CDN is a way to host your site or parts of your site on servers that are more scalable in terms of server resources and bandwidth. Many large sites use CDNs to host graphics, videos and to scale up their database resources when needed. That being said, are they bad for search engines?

The answer is, it depends on how you have it configured. Google does index files on clouds and if you host files on the cloud properly, as described here you should be fine.

That being said, JohnMu from Google replied to the webmasters concerns:

I'm not sure how you're using a CDN, so it's hard to say for sure. My guess is that you're just seeing normal fluctuations with Toolbar Pagerank that can happen for a variety of technical reasons (and they generally jump back quickly too). On the other hand, if you're seeing significant changes in ranking, that wouldn't be related to a change like this.

By moving images to a new host (assuming the URL changes when they're moved to a CDN) you will likely see fluctuations with Image Search until it settles back down (it just takes a bit for the new URLs to be indexed in place of the old ones). As we generally wouldn't index JavaScript files, moving them to a different host generally has no impact at all.

At any rate, while moving to a CDN may result in small temporary fluctuations, making your site faster will frequently help your site much more. Some studies have shown that the faster your site is, the longer visitors will stay, and that's generally a good thing :-). As I mentioned above, if you're seeing significant changes in ranking, then I'd look for the issues elsewhere.

Overall, CDNs are fine as long as they are configured properly. They can actually lead to a faster site, which we all know Google is looking at.

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

Update: I have a new post named More Tips From Google On Content On CDNs.

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