Imagine, in a sea of millions of websites, yours exists, however, you want it to do more than just exist – you want it to thrive, to be visible, to have people interact with it. And so, you decide to invest in SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). It’s a cost-effective, credible solution to get your website ranked on Google. Sounds great right? What’s even better is that you can add to your efforts by using Cloudflare – it actually helps boost your SEO efforts. So, let’s break down what that means by answering some simple questions.
What is Cloudflare?
Cloudflare is one of the world’s largest Content Delivery Networks (CDN). However, it does a lot more than that. Cloudflare also provides services like DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) mitigation, distributed domain name services and internet security services.
How does it work? Well, between the visitor and the Cloudflare user’s hosting provider sit the Cloudflare services. These services act as a reverse proxy server for websites. What does that mean? A reverse proxy server, like Cloudflare, sits in front of web servers and basically forwards the visitor’s request to those web servers, acting as a middleman.
To go a little further into reverse proxy servers, we first need to understand proxy servers. A proxy server, also known as a forward proxy, is a server that handles the client/visitor machines. Say, for instance, there is a client and they are initiating a request to a server, the request may first go to one server (a proxy server), before being sent to the actual backend server. The backend server will process the request and send it back. However, the client is unaware that there was a server in between while sending the request to the final server – this is known as a proxy server. For the backend server, it will assume that the proxy server is the client and that the requests are coming from that particular server.
For reverse proxy server, a client might initiate a request to the intermediate, proxy server. However, the difference is there are multiple backend servers, and the request from the proxy server will go to only one of them. The backend server will process the request and redirect it back to the client. The client doesn’t know how many servers are there. Each time a request is sent, it could be to a new server. In a proxy server (or a forward proxy server) it is a single setup, of multiple clients with one server. A reverse proxy has single (or multiple) clients with multiple servers. The customers are the clients, who only see the website, however, our requests will go internally to different servers based on where we reside.
So, what are the benefits of Cloudflare?
To begin with, Cloudflare is simple and easy to install. Furthermore, Cloudflare boosts your security and enhances your protection from attacks. By acting as a reverse proxy server, your website never needs to reveal the IP address of the origin server. This means that hackers can’t attack the server. It only allows genuine users the opportunity to access your website so that the resources of your website don’t get drained and the speed of your website remains intact. It protects your website from DDoS and DoS attacks. If the speed of your website slows down, it will save the cached files until your site speed returns to normal. Finally, it provides free SSL certificates.
Now, you’ve probably noticed that speed and security are 2 of Cloudflare’s largest benefits. It’s these two factors that contribute to your SEO efforts. Before we tell you how to, let’s also run through the basics of SEO.
SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimisation, is the practice of increasing the quality and quantity of traffic to your website through organic results via your search engine.
- Quality of traffic: Quality traffic basically refers to having the right audience reach your website – those who are genuinely interested in the products you offer.
- Quantity of traffic: Once you’ve accessed the right kind of audience, you want to increase the numbers so that more people are engaging and interacting with your website and the services you offer.
- Organic Search Results: Organic traffic refers to the traffic that you didn’t have to pay for.
How does it work? Well, when you access Google (or Bing, Yahoo or any other Search Engine) and type in a request, it responds by sending you a long list of websites that could answer your request. However, there’s a method to the madness. The links that Google offers are decided on the basis of a crawler that it uses. This crawler goes out and collects the information related to what you typed in the search bar. The crawlers then bring back all that content to the search engine to build an index. The index is then run through an algorithm, which tries to match the data with your request.
The Optimisation part of SEO is when content writers on the web, design that same content to help the Search Engine find them. Optimization can take the form of title tags, meta tags, the right keywords, internal links – all of which help the crawler move through and understand your site structure quickly.
So, what would it take for your page to rank highly on the index? Here’s where we return to Cloudflare because speed and security are 2 factors that help determine your ranking on the page. Let’s see how:
Speed: Google has stated that website speed is an important factor considered in its internal algorithm to rank pages. This is because slow page speed means that the crawler goes through fewer pages, which could negatively affect your place on the index.
Page speed also becomes an issue of sorts. Those with longer load times, tend to have steep bounce rates and website users spend less time on the page. Load times also have a direct impact on conversions.
How can Cloudflare CDN help?
Cloudflare is one of the largest Content Delivery Networks in the world. This means that your site will be distributed amongst a large pool of servers, all of which will handle requests for your site. As a reverse proxy server, Cloudflare will balance the incoming traffic evenly amongst the servers so that none of them become overloaded. In the event that one server fails, another can take its place. The reverse proxy server will also cache your content resulting in quicker performance. All of these factors can drastically improve your site speed – a key factor in determining your ranking on the index.
Security: Google is looking to make the web a secure and safe place and has advocated for websites moving to HTTPS, by acquiring an SSL certificate. The reason is simple: data is encrypted in transit and therefore private and sensitive information isn’t misused. It is said that HTTPS websites will achieve a boost in ranking, while also gaining the optimal level of security. In essence, Google looks to reward secure and peak performance websites by increasing their ranking on the index.
Also, threats and attacks can affect your rankings. Although there are no direct penalties, your ranking does tend to suffer and with repeated attacks, Google can flag or even blacklist your website for Malware – thereby obliterating your spot on the rankings.
How do CDNs, like Cloudflare, help with these problems? Firstly, Cloudflare provides its users with SSL certificates. Secondly, CDNs like Cloudflare offer reverse proxy, which keeps a website or server’s IP address hidden. This makes it harder for attackers to target them with a DDoS attack. These threats will instead be routed to the CDN, which comes equipped with the resources to fend off an attack. Therefore, your site remains secure, safe and should rank more consistently.
At ResellerClub, Cloudflare acts as a proxy between your visitors and our servers. As a result, you’ll be able to fend off malicious visitors, save bandwidth and greatly reduce page load times. We deploy high performing Cloudflare CDN and security so that you and your customers stay secure. With our packages, you can easily set up your Reseller Hosting business, because we offer robust infrastructure, a fantastic team of support executives and effective management of your web hosting accounts.
If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to comment below!