Does using a CDN improve rankings?


Google search attorney John Mueller answered a question in an SEO-office hours video about whether a CDN can improve rankings.

Mueller responded with a detailed answer that discussed page speed, crawl, and also touched on SEO.

Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A content delivery network (CDN) is a service that provides a global network of servers that expedites the delivery of web pages by serving them from a server located near the site visitor trying to access a web page .

The closer a server is to a website visitor, the less the webpage has to travel the Internet to reach that visitor.

This means that a CDN can significantly improve the speed of web pages.

Does a CDN help search rankings?

The person asking Google a question wanted to know if there was a ranking advantage to using a CDN over traditional server hosting.

The question asked:

“Does putting a website behind a CDN improve rankings?

We receive the majority of our traffic from a specific country. We have hosted our website on a server located in this country.

Are you suggesting to put our whole website behind a CDN to improve page speed for worldwide users or is it not necessary in our case? »

CDN and SEO effect

Mueller replied that a CDN has no SEO effect.

Muller replied

“So obviously you can do a lot of those things.

I don’t think it would have a big effect on Google when it comes to SEO. »

Although Mueller says he doesn’t think it would have much effect, he comes back to this point and clarifies it.

Mueller continued his response:

“The only effect I could imagine something could happen to is what users end up seeing.

And, much like you mentioned, if the majority of your users are already seeing a really fast website because your server is there, then you’re kind of doing the right thing.

But of course, if users from other places see a very slow result, because the connection with your country may not be very good, then that’s something where you might have opportunities to improve that .

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

Whereas if your website is fast enough for other users, at least they have a chance to see a reasonably fast website, which could be your website.

So from that perspective, if there’s anything you can do to improve things overall for your website, I think it’s a good idea.

I don’t think that’s critical.

CDN and effect on exploration

Mueller returned to the topic of SEO and this time addressed the issue of crawling and the benefits of a CDN.

Mueller continued his response:

“It’s not something that matters in terms of SEO in that Google also has to see it very quickly or something.

But it’s something you can do to grow your website beyond your current country.

Maybe I should clarify one thing, if Google’s crawl is really, really slow, it can of course affect the amount of crawling and indexing from the website.

This could therefore be an aspect to be studied.

The majority of websites I’ve looked at, I haven’t really seen this as a problem for any website that doesn’t have millions and millions of pages.

So, from this perspective, you can double-check how fast Google crawls in Search Console in the crawl stats.

And if that sounds reasonable, even if it’s not super fast, then I wouldn’t really care.

A slow or underpowered web server, especially on a shared server environmentmight not be able to handle intensive crawling by bots, both legitimate and malicious.

This kind of situation on a shared server can cause the server to abort and respond with 500 server response codes because the server is unable to serve the requested web pages.

I’ve seen this happen on a shared server where the host recommended upgrading to a dedicated or virtual server environment.

A CDN mitigates the effects of a slow shared server by serving web pages from the CDN and not the server where the actual pages are hosted.

CDN and Google Ranking

Mueller’s answer indicates that there is no SEO effect of using a CDN.

He said difficulty crawling a site isn’t a common problem (outside of large sites with “millions and millions of pages”).

There are many good reasons to use a CDN, but an SEO benefit isn’t one of them, according to Mueller.


Watch Mueller answer a question about the SEO effect and using a CDN

Video at minute 2:50

Featured image: Screenshot from, June 2022.


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