Cloudflare has multiple features that can help boost your sites rankings in Search Engines, this guide will cover some useful tools offered by Cloudflare to improve your SEO performance. Undoubtably having great site content that is regularly updated is key to improving SEO, however Cloudflare contains a number of technical tweaks that can optimise search engine rankings.
Not only does SSL improve site speed (by taking advantage of HTTP/2) but search engines now use HTTPS as a ranking signal, therefore it is vital for SEO that your site is HTTPS ready.
In order to enable HTTP/2 on your site, ensure that your site is loaded over HTTPS.
After enabling SSL you must also ensure that users are redirected to the HTTPS version of your site. You can do this using an "Always use HTTPS" Page Rule:
Use Dedicated SSL Certificates
By default Cloudflare uses shared SSL certificates, it is however possible to enable a dedicated certificate on a Cloudflare zone. A zone with this certificate will be the only zone specified on the common name, we have heard reports that dedicated certificates increase SEO rankings.
In order to enable this, navigate to the Crypto tab of the Cloudflare dashboard:
You can then scroll down the Edge Certificates section:
You can then choose what type of certificate we want to order and click through on the wizard to enable the certificate:
We have a dedicated article on Dedicated SSL Certificates where you can learn more about them.
Improve Site Speed
Search engines often take account of site speed in ranking. Cloudflare offers multiple features to improve site load speed. Within the Speed tab of the Cloudflare dasbhoard, there are a number of effective options to improve performance of your site.
One such feature is called Polish, you can dramatically improve image and web page load times by compressing images and stripping metadata. Images often are the biggest assets on websites, optimising them can have dramatic performance benefits for your site. Basic mode will reduce the size of your images without impacting image quality whilst Basic + JPEG also reduces the size of JPEG images using lossy compression.
Another tip is that in the HTML of your site, ensure that image tags contain alt tags which are descriptive about the images.
Cloudflare is able to effectively minify JS, CSS and HTML without a change to your website. We recommend enabling minification in your Cloudflare dashboard instead of installing plugins on your site to do the same purpose. Alternatively if you're using Grunt or Gulp as part of a build process you can implement minification as part of this.
- Business and Enterprise customers can utilise Cloudflare's Railgun Origin Network Optimizer.
- Enterprise users can utilise "Prefetching URLs From HTML Headers" and custom cache keys to enhance caching - contact your named Customer Success Engineer for help getting set-up or reach out to our sales team if you aren't already an Enterprise customer.
SEO Best Practices
Google have published an SEO Best Practice guide which can help you with other strategies not covered here. Google have a set of Webmaster Tools to help get feedback on how you can enhance the SEO on your site.