Cloudflare and SEO

June 13, 2017

Welcome back Rankers! Did you have a good weekend? We had a long weekend here; hence, the show is out one day earlier. It was our Queen’s birthday. Anyway, enough about that. I wanted to talk to you today a bit more about speed because I have been wading through so much DNS, you wouldn’t believe how much DNS I’ve been wading through.

DNS Moving

We’re in the process of decommissioning a whole bunch of old VPS’s, old servers, which I set up back in 2006 or so. Over that time you buy your domain names, you add your domain names, you set up sites, you do all these things, you set up DNS, and you set up emails. All of this stuff. Now a lot of that has now gone to the Cloud, and I don’t need to run those things. So I’ve been in the process of consolidating domains and getting rid of things and setting things up properly. Part of that process has been moving my DNS. I’ve been saying I was going to do it for ages. I’ve done it myself for the past ten years or so, which is not optimum, let me tell you!

We’ve spoken about DNS and hosting before. Here are a couple of things you can try at home without getting yourself into too much trouble. For most people who own a domain name, you’re going to have access to your registrar where you register that domain name. That’s pretty much the main thing you will need to be able to do this. Now you can just do a ‘whois’ look-up. If you’re on a Mac, you can just do it on Terminal. Alternatively, you can just go and use a free online one, such as who.is. Just do a look up of your domain.

I’m just going to do melbourneit.com.au that recently purchased an SEO company. They used to do a lot of SEO, not sure if they still do. I guess they’re going to be doing it in the future. Now their DNS records, and the reason I’m using them is that they’re one of Australia’s oldest DNS providers. So you can see it says melbourneit.com.au with a couple of name servers. What you’re looking for is the part where it says NS (name server). That’s what you’re looking at. That will be your name server. I looked at a couple of different options to move our DNS.

The two main options that came up were Amazon, and that was Route 53, recommended by Gary and John, thank you very much, and then Cloudflare which seems to be the default standard. The way I was looking at it was I looked at Amazon but I have trouble with their interface. I know they’re big, and really good at what they do, but their UX drives me insane. So I tried using it and it wasn’t easy; and I need this to be easy, as I need other people in here to be able to take it over and not just have me do it.

Cloudflare

So I decided on Cloudflare. If you’re a coder or programmer, you may want to go and look at Amazon Route 53 for this sort of thing because there seem to be a whole lot more options if you’re doing those sorts of things. For most of us, Cloudflare is going to be all you’re going to need. So I can see the name servers. I would then log in to my registrar and what you’ll be doing is changing those name servers by going into Cloudflare. Set up a quick account, select add a site and it’s all free. Just follow the wizard through the steps. You then go back into your registrar and give the two new name servers that Cloudflare gives you, simply swap those from the ones your registrar has to the ones supplied by Cloudflare. Click save and you’re done. It’s that easy.

The great thing about it, and I did ours last week, is that it’s really easy to do. This was the result. We run Pingdom. If you don’t run some up-time monitoring, you really should because we find many sites, we had one again last week where we run Pingdom on it, and it had 1100 outages according to Pingdom within a thirty-day period. That’s a lot! It represented being off air for an entire day for that month. Ridiculous, right? The client came back to us and said that the Pingdom report was wrong and they could tell us why it was wrong and it was because they could look at all their speed graphs and tell us how fast their site is, etc. When we looked into what Pingdom was reporting, it was reporting a raft of server errors, 503 errors, so internal server errors that on the face of it the client couldn’t see because the page appeared normal, but underneath, the header response going out to the world was a 503. In addition, if Google finds a 503, it’s not going to want to send its users there because the server is broken.

Take a look at this graph. This is me switching on Pingdom. You can see, according to Pingdom, the average response time before I switched to Cloudflare was about 1.3 seconds. After I switched to Cloudflare, it was 634ms and since I’ve optioned it up a little, it is now around the 500ms mark. It’s such an easy interface to use. One of the things I love about it is the instant results. The results for me, for this, were that probably within 48hrs we had jumped around twenty spots for a very competitive key phrase.

cloudflare dns seo
Switching to Cloudflare DNS had immediate effect on ranking?

As you know, we’ve been going through changes in our domain names, so we’ve been out of the search rankings for a little while, and so things are coming back normally as they would anyway, however, this is just a jump out of the box.
Our last seven days shows us fluctuating a little, but we are a long way from where we were. We’re a third of the speed of what we were and we’ve seen a twenty spot increase for a couple of competitive phrases.
With Cloudflare, there’s a whole bunch of other stuff you can do. You know when you go and do your Page Speed Insights test and it says, “You need to minify that JavaScript and you need to minify that CSS?” Well, you can do it all here. Simply check the boxes and that’s it. I’d be hoping to get another bump in Pingdom because of that. Incidentally, if I do a web page test on our site we are now getting all the green boxes and getting 87/100 in Page Speed Insights. I really wouldn’t worry about trying to get that high. Many people are hung up about Page Speed Insights where they worry about being in the eighties. If you can get it green, it’s good enough. Let’s not forget that it’s impossible for you to get one hundred if you’re using something like Google fonts, as Google complains that you’re not caching their fonts! So you can’t do that, right. Google has to do that. The Page Speed Insights tool is flawed. Don’t be too hung up on it, but if you can get it up in the green, you’re going well.
Hopefully that’s helpful and I’ll see you all next week. Thanks very much. Bye.

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