Why use a CDN – Content Delivery Network

This post is a follow-up to a question by one of the consultants this month via email.

A CDN is referred to as a Content Delivery Network.  In reality a network of servers that distribute your files across the globe in order to make the accessing of information faster when loading into a website or intranet.  They are used to hold various different types of file and are primarily to build a level of redundancy and also speed to a website.

When a website loads information it can only load a certain number of items at once, typically this is limited to 4 in most browsers.  So the 5th item is held until one of the previous 4 has been downloaded.  A CDN provides a different domain to load data from and hence it expands the number of files that can be accessed at any one time.  Some designers implement this when building a site by making use of sub-domains such as media.domain.co.uk and images.domain.co.uk to load data quicker within a website.

One of the main benefits is  access to files quicker due to the information being replicated across multiple servers around the globe, resulting in data being drawn from the server that is more local to the user.

There articles provided may give you some guidance on the pros and cons.

The answer I’ve got to the question: Should I use a CDN is …  It depends.

In practice site owners are already making use of them without probably knowing as a selection of key files are typically downloaded into the website from Google’s servers and the inclusion of video from YouTube is already one step in the right direction.

Article 1 – Should you use a CDN

Article 2 – 11 questions about CDNs 


Top 5 Design Elements for an eCommerce website

Naturally website design trends are come and go; however, there are various elements that are beneficial for the increase of sales and can drive high targeted traffic to the e-commerce shop. Setting out an online store is not just about having a website and publish it online, but you should also consider on how to showcase your products exceptionally while providing customers a memorable and unique experience.

The article goes on to talk about how design trends change, however the author brings out 5 key areas that should be looked at an tested with your particular audience.

Article: read more here….

Web Design for cultural differences

Another good article highlighting the need to understand cultural differences to ensure that an internationally targeted website reflects the chosen culture.

It contains a selection of examples to assist with understand the key points.

The article includes a link to Hofstedes’s 5 dimensions of culture to benchmark different countries in how they relate across the 5 factors.

Article: read more here


Issues with changing domain name from .co.uk to .com

Another question on email which is useful to cover for all of the ECR consultants.

What are the implications of moving a domain to a .com version when the site has gained position for a .co.uk.  Does this have a negative affect on the sites position?

If carried out correctly then the move should not have a major impact in the long term.  In relation to the short term there will be a drop in traffic, but this can be reduced by implementing a number of steps to reduce problems.

You need to fully understand the reasons for moving hte domain and is it more beneficial to maintain the .co.uk domain for the UK market and develop a site purely for international presence of the .com, leaving the main domain well alone.

Always encourage the company to retain the .co.uk domain as they will need to put 301 redirects in place to ensure that all pages are sent to the new website.  If there is a major change in URL structures then the key pages gaining search position should be redirected to the corresponding pages within the new site on the new domain   This will reduce 404 errors (page not found) within the website.

Identify using Google Analytics pages that receive both search engine traffic and also referral traffic as this highlights key pages within the website.  If your unsure of how to get this information then look at the ‘Landing Page’ report within the ‘Content’ section of Analytics.   To do this effectively you should also make use of a segment to highlight just pages being accessed for Search traffic as well as referral. If your unsure what this means then check out the Google Analytics help sections for information on the use of ‘Advance Segments’.

These two articles provide useful checklists and help about how to ensure the process goes smoothly  but be aware it have an impact on the website which may take time to recover.

SEOMoz Guide article

SEOLogic – Moving a domain article

Another snippet to think about is that moving to a .com will be a non-targeted domain which will reduce the focus in the UK market – should you then place a geographic target to the UK for the .com domain in Webmasters, which will keep a level of focus to the UK in Google search, but then reduce the worldwide focus.  This needs to be thought about to ensure that the overseas pages are developed quickly to ensure that the directory method (.com/US) can be used to benefit the site.

Google and the NCR redirect

This post is prompted by a question asked over email.  Apologies for not responding earlier but thought it would be useful for everyone to benefit from the answer.

One of the guides refers to the use of /ncr to prevent a country redirect to the localised version of the Google    On doing some further research Google through IP recognition will automatically redirect the user to the local version of Google when the user attempts to access www.google.com, as indicated by the IP location.

If you’re in France and you navigate to www.google.com you should be automatically redirected to www.google.fr.

Regards the use of the /ncr command, it’s really only relevant to the user if they wish to access the main google.com site to carryout a search.

For a more in-depth explanation read the full article here:

SEO without borders

Still struggling with .com or local domains regards how to target a site for International Markets.  It can take a while and each situation will be different.

This article looks at all the aspects involved in form domain name, content structures, keyword research, HTML markup.  Use it to re-inforce the things that have been covered in previous workshop sessions.

Read full article here:

Reduce Duplication and increase search position

Content duplication can be a major issue in trying to gain better search positions.  The majority of websites and eCommerce sales websites by nature of how users upload products can cause duplication, through usage of similar page content with very little change or the product naturally sits in multiple categories.

Making sure that the website is built to minimise these issues is highly important especially if an international strategy is being worked on.

This short article covers a couple of the key areas to address to minimise duplication.

Read the full article: