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Why edge SEO should be your next step in technical

Edge SEO is a new field of technical SEO that uses serverless technologies to execute Javascript without impacting underlying structure. Dan Taylor, winner of the 2018 TechSEO Boost research competition, explains what Edge SEO is and why SEOs and website owners need to start using it.

It goes without saying that as technology evolves at an ever-faster rate, so does SEO with it, and as a result, we constantly find ourselves exploring completely new areas for research and experimentation.

As voice search and structured data becomes more prevalent to search throughout 2019, we’re now in the infant stages of a new field altogether — edge SEO.

It’s a cooperation between technology

Put simply, edge SEO is the collaboration of different technologies to create new research, testing and implementations outside of current or traditional parameters.

More specifically, in its current stage, edge SEO revolves around using serverless technologies (service workers), to execute JavaScript without impacting any underlying infrastructure.
This helps us focus the gap between users and data so that we can reduce both latency and bandwidth usage to an incredible degree.

By using services such as Cloudflare Workers, obstacles (such as legacy platforms and stacks), can be completely sidestepped, while introducing a range of other benefits, including load speed and security.

It offers great benefit to clients

Adopting edge SEO into your strategy provides businesses, marketing teams, and other stakeholders the ability to implement crucial components and code deployments with just a couple of clicks.

This also means that there needs to be minimal DevOps development and costs, aside from initial consultation, checks, and monitoring.

What’s more, edge SEO can also be leveraged to deploy some technical SEO requests to a near limitless degree; from the implementation of mass hreflang tags, right through to the implementation and management of redirects.

It provides a fourth method to implement hreflang

Hreflang attributes, the tags that tells Google which language is being used on a specific page, is traditionally implemented via three methods:

  • Code injection in the

  • Through XML sitemaps

  • In the HTTP header

As some businesses have grown to quickly for their infrastructures to keep up, a fourth implementation is required to service rapidly expanding businesses.

Service Workers enable the ability to alter the direct server response to search engine user-agents without in-house teams or agencies having to modify the original source code.

It provides us with easy redirect management

Implementing redirects isn’t always as simple or issueless as what it might first seem, as some platforms don’t support redirects, there can be limitations on servers, and, occasionally, development teams can refuse requests to modify a .htaccess file.

Due to the fact that service workers can modify a server’s response before it is even presented to a user, it means that server response codes can be modified to return a 3XX so that a redirect can be performed. These can also be managed easily by non-development teams through Cloudflare Worker Code Generators, such as Sloth.

sloth-redirects technical seo service workers edge seo

It improves site security

All search engines have been pushing for better security protocols over the past few years, and by using service workers, we can implement a range of security headers including:

  • HSTS

  • X-Frame-Options

  • X-XSS Protection

  • Referrer policies

By implementing security headers, businesses can protect not only their sites, but also users from dangerous security risks, most of which can be detected through passive scanning.

It encourages testing and research

Through service workers, you can even make short-term changes to the content of a website and opens up the possibility to perform A/B testing using Google Analytics to track and analyze metrics and variation performance.

sloth-AB-test technical seo service workers edge seo

With service workers, it’s also possible to alter page elements so that you can create variations before implementing another AB testing split through a separate service worker.

It can offer the ability for log file collection and short-term changes

As some platforms (such as Shopify and Salesforce CommerceCloud) don’t allow for the extraction of logs, these can be implemented on the edge through Cloudflare, whether through Cloudfare Logpush (currently in BETA), or through its service workers.

It can sometimes be the case that you need to remove something from a website, despite not having the CMS, and with service worker technology, you can simply force the page to return a 503 error to users until it can be permanently removed or redirected.

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Published on Feb 4, 2019 by Dan Taylor