Cloudflare might affect your SEO

I like Cloudflare services. They are providing one of fastest DNS service over the Anycast IP, efficient WAF, DDoS protection, CDN, etc.. Let’s talk about speed.

3X Slower for the Google Bots

Here is the crawl statistic of one of our user’s website. It looks like Google bots spent more time when the Cloudflare active. Because Cloudflare work as a proxy, that’s mean if you are not using HTML caching feature of the Cloudflare they will request that page from the origin server. You can see the details from here.

I’m talking about bots, not users

As seen in the crawl stats, bots are spending ~3X more time to download a page from Cloudflare. But that does not mean to slow down users 3X; there was no significant difference on page speed score on the Google Analytics report. Probably Google bots also using Anycast IP so they can crawl from origin server without affecting geographical boundary. (ignoring latency between Google Datacenters and your origin server)

About the setup

When we talk about the speed, various configurations can affect the results. So I want to share notable configurations about the example website.

  • It doesn’t use Cloudflare for HTML caching
  • It was well optimized on server side and WordPress side. (Thanks Powered Cache :P)
  • The origin server was supporting HTTP2, which means faster connection between proxy server and origin server, as negativity two times SSL termination.

Conclusion
You might want to disable Cloudflare’s proxy feature to see the impact.  You can still use Cloudflare as a CDN, just have to add new CNAME and enable the proxy functionality for the record.

I’m not an SEO expert, and can’t advise anything about the SEO. I just found the stats are weird and wanted to share, thanks for reading. If you try to disable/enable, please let me know the results 😉

5 thoughts on “Cloudflare might affect your SEO”

  1. Hi, we moved a popular website to cloudflare recently and have had to disable it once we noticed that the average time downloading a page by google in our search console increase from 240ms to 750ms. We were worried it could effect our seo. Although the speed for users of the site didn’t slow down at all, just for google bots and when testing using the fetch as google tool.

    We currently just use cloudflare for DNS at the moment, until we can get reassurance that it wouldn’t effect our search rankings.

    Has anyone else encountered this and did it effect your rankings if you left cloudflare enabled? Or did the google bot time decrease over time?

    Reply
  2. Exactly the same issue here. I have to disable cloudflare after week of using it.

    Our servers are in Europe and I see that googlebot is crawling West US zone (Seattle) as probably cloudflare IP is from there. So my assumption is that its a main reason that bot fetches HTML through US not directly in Europe.

    Reply

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