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SEO is a vast space and has many layers to it. Of all the layers, technical SEO can be called the foundation of SEO. Getting your website’s technical SEO right may be the key to your organic search results success.
However, while trying to implement technical SEO for your site, you may face numerous bottlenecks such as platform restrictions, long development queues, or the unavailability of developers. These bottlenecks can restrict you from implementing all the desired technical SEO elements or may delay the process.
Using Edge SEO allows you to tackle such technical SEO implementation bottlenecks. Using Edge SEO, marketers can make quick, cost-effective, and low-risk technical SEO modifications for your site. Thus, helping you override any bottlenecks that you might encounter.
In this article, let’s have a look at everything you need to know about Edge SEO. After going through this guide, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about adopting Edge SEO for your website, different tools you can try, and the results you can expect.
What is Edge SEO?
Edge SEO can be defined as the usage of edge computing technologies for technical SEO implementations. It uses serverless or edge technologies to implement technical SEO changes while using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) as the middle ground.
Simply put, Edge SEO involves the modifications in the requests and responses that are exchanged between the user and the server.
These modifications are not made to your website’s codebase. Instead, the code changes are made at the edge – that is a layer between the server and the users.
Edge SEO requires you to use edge technologies supported by CDNs. The CDN acts as the middle ground for the technical SEO modifications. These technologies can be Cloudflare Workers, Akamai EdgeWorkers, Fastly Edge Solution, etc.
CDNs such as Cloudflare have additional features that allow you to make site changes using JS code known as Cloudflare Workers. However, implementing code changes using technologies such as Cloudflare Workers will also need you to work with developers. But, there is a workaround for this problem as well.
In the past couple of years, new tools such as Sloth, Spark, and LogFlare have come up. These can be integrated with technologies such as Cloudflare Workers. Moreover, implementing technical SEO changes does not require any coding after these integrations. Thus, marketers can now do it without the help of developers.
When Should You Adopt Edge SEO?
Now that you understand what Edge SEO is, you might be wondering if it is of any use to you. In this section, we’ll talk about why and when you should adopt it.
Non-Developers Can Implement Technical SEO Changes
Unavailability or reliability of developers may be one of the major reasons for the delay in technical SEO implementations, testing, and deployment.
Using Edge SEO, reduces the dependency of marketers and stakeholders on developers for doing these implementations. Instead, they can deploy the required technical SEO code changes with just a couple of clicks.
This also reduces unnecessary development costs and needs minimal DevOps development. Thus, Edge SEO technologies can help you override long development queues that may lead to months of delay in your technical SEO modifications.
Overcome Platform Based Restrictions
Certain platforms that you may be using, such as your CMS, may restrict you from accessing your log files, making changes to robot.txt files, implementing redirects, or any other technical SEO modifications.
This might be a huge bottleneck to your SEO journey. Migrating platforms to overcome such platform based restrictions might also take you quite a while and may not be the most cost-effective solution.
For such cases, Edge SEO can be of great help. As mentioned earlier, it does not make changes to your codebase, and the code changes done are agnostic of your site’s infrastructure. This means, using its technologies, you can deploy code that helps you overcome such platform based restrictions with ease.
Overcome Obstacles of Legacy Platforms and Tech Stacks
Legacy servers, platforms, and tech stack may not be entirely scalable according to your needs and thus, again, restricting you from implementing certain technical SEO modifications. Using Edge SEO, you can deploy changes on the edge while overcoming obstacles of these legacy platforms and tech stacks.
A/B Test Technical SEO Changes on CDN
As you might already know, A/B testing SEO changes may be a real challenge. Here, again, Edge SEO comes to your rescue. Through it, you can implement A/B testing without actually making any modifications to your codebase and website infrastructure.
This means you can now test hreflang modifications, bulk 301 redirects, website migrations, or any other technical SEO modifications using Edge SEO before going ahead with the actual implementations.
Technical SEO Implementations That Can be Done Using Edge SEO
Here’s a list of use cases or technical SEO implementations that can be done using Edge SEO:
1. Manage Hreflang Tags on Scale
As you might already know, hreflang tags are HTML attributes that can be used to specify the language and location-based targeting of a webpage. Traditionally, hreflang implementations can be done through changes in sitemaps, code injections in the header tag, or through the HTTP header.
However, for businesses with large infrastructure, these implementations methods for hreflang tags may not be the most feasible solution. You can direct server response to the clients’ browser using Edge SEO tools without modifying the underlying codebase.
2. Implement and Manage Bulk Redirects
Redirect management is an important part of technical SEO. Redirects are a necessity in cases of migrations or any other URL modifications. However, managing redirects in bulk may be a tiresome, almost impossible task due to several reasons. These reasons can be server limitations, platform restrictions, etc.
Using Edge SEO technologies in such situations can be extremely beneficial. You can manage bulk redirects even for massive website infrastructures with ease without modifying the codebase.
3. Collect Log Files
Log files may be a crucial element to analysing your website performance, identifying bugs, etc. However, many platforms Salesforce Commerce, Shopify, etc., do not allow you to access log files.
Technologies such as Cloudflare Workers help you overcome this restriction on log file collection. It allows you to collect log files even when your platform is restricting you from doing so.
4. Implement A/B Testing For SEO
Edge SEO tools make A/B testing simple. You can conduct A/B tests on simple web pages by creating variations. You can also A/B test website migrations and other complex technical SEO modifications without actually making the modifications in your codebase.
This kind of A/B testing of SEO can be of great help for businesses by allowing them to explore more testing and research in the SEO space.
5. Improve Website Security
Website security is an extremely crucial part of SEO, and search engines have prioritised it more and more over the years. Edge SEO can offer you the added advantage of protecting your users from some of the top security risks.
Using technologies such as Cloudflare Workers, you can easily implement security headers such as X-XSS protection, CSP, X-Frame-Options, HSTS, Referrer Policies, etc. Implementing these security headers will help you drastically improve your website security.
6. Implement Browser Level Lazy Loading
Lazy loading is one of the best techniques to improve your site’s load speed and performance. Implementing lazy loading will help you offer a better user experience and thus improve your organic search engine rankings.
Browser level lazy loading is a new Chrome 76 technology that can speed up your website and improve performance. Implementing browser level lazy loading may be easy using Edge SEO tools such as Cloudflare Workers – something that might otherwise have been tricky to implement.
Using Edge SEO workers, you can manage and modify the dynamic prerendering of caches JS web pages which otherwise might be quite challenging.
8. Modify or Override Robots.txt File
Your website’s hosting provider or platform may restrict you from making changes to the robots.txt file. Modifying the robots.txt file may be a vital part of your technical SEO implementations. To go through with the robots.txt file modifications or to completely override the file, you can make use of Edge SEO tools.
10. Modify Metadata and Content
Using Edge SEO tools, you can modify your website’s metadata, content, and canonical tags without making any changes to the actual codebase. This may be needed when you want to implement quick fixes on your site or while performing A/B testing.
11. Add Structured Data
As you might already know, structured data and schema markup play key roles in your search engine rankings. You can use Edge SEO tools to add various formats of structured data on the edge. That is to say, even if your platform or CMS restricts the same for some reason.
12. Bulk Add Image Alt Tags
Adding image alt tags in bulk may be a tedious task, especially for eCommerce sites with lots of product pages. You can use Edge SEO tools to add image alt attributes in bulk. As a result, this will helping you save time and effort while improving your search engine rankings.
Risks of Using Edge SEO
Just like any other form of technology, Edge SEO comes with its own set of risks and disadvantages. That said, you can easily take measures to mitigate these risks and make the most out of it.
- Using Edge SEO, there is a potential risk of deploying code with bugs that may lead to unexpected functioning of your website.
- With Edge SEO, there is also a risk of conflicts between your actual codebase and the code deployed on edge.
- While implementing Edge SEO, it may be difficult to track and identify the modifications and injections that are being made as there is no way to trace these modifications back to the codebase. In such cases, debugging and identification of these modifications and eliminating the errors may be challenging.
- Cost can also be another downside to using Edge SEO. With more implementations, its costs may add up and cost you a significant amount each month.
You can mitigate and keep a check on these risks associated with Edge SEO implementation by following SOPs and setting up internal processes.
It is important to track every single modification and technical SEO implementation in order to ensure that there is a minimum possible risk of errors cropping up.
CDNs such as Cloudflare, Akamai, and AWS are widely used by most enterprises. Using Edge SEO Worker technologies offered by these CDNs, you can gain the additional advantages of more cost-effective, no-code technical SEO implementations.
The insights and strategies provided in this in-depth guide will help you get started with Edge SEO implementation for your website and help you gain the most benefits from it.