If you’ve ever tapped your fingers with impatience when a webpage takes forever to load, you’re in good company. Since a stellar user experience (UX) is critical to both SEO and positive attitudes about your brand, using a content delivery network for content marketing can help boost your brand in both search rankings and in the minds of your audience.
What Is a Content Delivery Network (CDN)?
Google and other search engines place a high priority on page loading time. Rightly so, since it’s their reputation to lose, should they put a slow-loading website atop the search results.
The same goes for your reputation. As Search Engine Journal’s Kevin Rowe puts it, “Speed equals money,” especially when it comes to user experience.
A new Portent study illustrates that truism. According to their research, “blazing fast sites” – those that load in 1 second – have 3 times higher conversion rates than sites that load in 5 seconds. And, a site that loads in only a second converts at a rate 5 times higher than those slow-as-molasses sites that take 10 seconds to load.
Image via Portent
A content delivery network (CDN) fixes all that. Instead of using one server to deliver content to your website’s visitors, a CDN uses servers throughout the world to deliver your content. Since the time it takes to deliver content to a user depends on the user’s distance from the server, having servers nearby allows users worldwide to access your content quickly.
As Semrush’s Erika Varagouli points out, it will take an Asian user 3 seconds to access your website from a US-based server. However, with a CDN using a server in Europe, that Asian user can access your site in a mere second.
Image via Semrush
The ability to deliver content at lightning speeds is essential for multinational corporations – or even companies that want to expand geographically in the future. Content operations and governance teams in such companies need to make it a priority to switch to a CDN as soon as possible if they haven’t done so. Otherwise, they’re leaving a ton of potential conversions on the table.
How Does a CDN Work?
CDNs work by caching and then loading the content assets on your site’s webpages upon user demands. They require less bandwidth than a single server but increase your site speed, a key ingredient in the technical side of SEO.
When a user tries to access one of your webpages, the CDN reads their IP address, which provides it with the user’s location. Then, the nearest CDN server will send the cached version of the page’s content to the user at lightning speed, decreasing the chance that they’ll contribute to your bounce rate, also a factor in technical SEO.
Many web hosting companies already offer CDNs as an option since having a CDN service is almost a necessity in today’s digital universe. If your hosting company does not provide such a service, you can use a standalone CDN service, like Cloudflare CDN, HubSpot CMS Hub, Canto’s CDN, or Amazon CloudFront.
A CDN is especially valuable when you have a content marketing campaign that goes viral and generates a ton of traffic. Without it, the extra traffic might shut down your site. With a CDN, the traffic will flow to several servers, keeping your site live – and raking in all the benefits your content teams’ collective brainpower contributed to the campaign.
CDNs Augment Your Website Security
Not only does a CDN deliver better user experiences – and the resultant boost in search rankings – it also helps protect your website from DDoS attacks.
DDoS attacks occur when a shady entity tries to harm your company by flooding your website server with too much traffic than it can handle. Doing so prevents actual users from getting through to your website.
As Insights for Professionals, a journal for IT professionals, advises, a CDN can help avert these kinds of threats by “distributing your traffic to various servers around the world,” allowing legitimate traffic to reach your site with little delay. However, having a CDN isn’t a foolproof guarantee against such attacks. It’s only one tool in your website’s security arsenal.
To have the best chance at defeating a DDoS attack, choose a content delivery network with the following features:
- Specialized DDoS protection packages
- Distribution worldwide
- Intelligent caching
- 24/7/365 customer support
- Frequent data caching and security checks
- Documentation that instructs you what to do in case of a breach
- Redundancies in case a server fails
- Analytics and insights reports
Once you’ve chosen your CDN provider, keep your SSL and TLS certificates up to date to maintain tight security. Work closely with your security teams to ensure the utmost protection for your content.
Augment Your CDN by Addressing Internal Site Issues
While a CDN will lower your webpages’ load speeds, there are other steps you can take to optimize your users’ on-site experience even more. Task your SEO teams to fix common website issues, such as minified CSS, sitemap errors, large HTML page sizes, or poor implementation.
Although they’re not as “sexy” as clever wordsmithing and dazzling design, these backend factors have a massive impact on your SEO and user experience. Call them your content strategy’s nerdy cousins.
Turbocharge Your Users’ On-Site Searches with Content Categories
While using a CDN loads your webpages onto your users’ screens at near light speed, you need to speed up the process of finding the exact content they want. Organizing your content into topical categories does just that.
Using those categories in your URLs can help users in two ways. First, search engines will be more likely to steer your content their way when you make the category part of the URL, since search bots use the words in your URL to guide search results.
Second, grouping these categories on your website allows someone to use your website’s search box to find even more content about each topic without needing to go back to the search engine. Keep them on your site longer, feed them valuable content, and they’re likely to come back for more.
DivvyHQ’s content platform is all you need to add even more speed and efficiency to your prospects’ searches for information and tools that can help them solve the challenges they face.
With robust metadata management, customized integrations with all the other platforms you use (including most CDNs), and white-glove analytics, you have everything at your fingertips to provide your users with an incredible experience all the way through their buyer’s journeys. But don’t take our word for it – take it for a free 14-day test drive today!