What is Edge SEO? Everything to Know

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Platform restrictions, long development queues, etc., can delay the implementation of technical SEO elements or prevent you from achieving the desired results. This is where Edge SEO comes into play—it offers a way to avoid the bottlenecks that hinder the implementation of technical SEO. This article answers any question you might have about Edge SEO.

Edge SEO Overview

Edge SEO involves implementing technical SEO elements using edge computing technologies. It uses edge technologies (serverless) for new SEO implementations and a Content Delivery Network (CDN) as the middle ground.


In other words, SEO at the Edge refers to the changes made after the HTML is created by CMS or origin server before being served to the user. The changes are made at the Edge (not to the website’s codebase), which provides a layer between the server and the users. When the users finally see the changes, they won’t notice that there were no changes to your codebase.

You can use Edge SEO to make changes to CSS, HTML, HTTPS, and JavaScript using edge technologies such as Akamai EdgeWorkers, Cloudflare Workers, CloudFront, Fastly, etc.

What is Edge Computing?

Edge computing is a serverless cloud technology that helps reduce latency (the speed of transferring data from the cloud’s server to a user’s device—it closes the gap between the user and the data source.

The Edge was initially introduced to cater to increased demand for handling and storing data among businesses. It also applies to digital services like websites, online video gaming, SEOs, civil engineering, etc.

With Edge computing, you can store all your infrastructure in the cloud while accessing it via a central data center. The main difference between this form of data processing and other cloud technologies is that it is connected to other data centers (Content Delivery Networks). These CDNs reduce latency and increase the speed and ease of data transfer.

What are Content Delivery Networks, and How Do They Work?

A CDN, also known as an Edge server, is a data center placed in a specific local region (node) to enable Edge computing to transfer data. Content delivery networks have gained popularity, and many businesses, including Netflix, Facebook, Amazon, IBM, etc., are incorporating them into their systems to better serve their traffic.

But how does a CDN work?

To better understand how a CDN works, let’s use an example of a fashion eCommerce brand.

Assuming you have a fashion eCommerce website with a central data center in Los Angeles. You also have a content distribution network in Toronto, Canada. When a user in Canada browses your kid’s clothing category, for example, your content delivery network will provide the content from a cached version of the page from the Edge server in Toronto. Accessing data from a regional data center instead of from the origin server in Los Angeles ensures the page is provided to the user faster, leading to a good user experience.

However, a CDN doesn’t just ensure quick and easy data transfer for businesses operating internationally. It also helps improve website security, boost content availability and site load times, and reduce bandwidth costs.


What are the Benefits of Edge SEO?

Compared to traditional SEO approaches, Edge SEO offers many additional benefits, including:  

Easy Implementation

One of the primary benefits of Edge SEO is the ease of implementation. Ideally, you don’t need technical knowledge to implement SEO recommendations on the Edge because you’re not restrained by CMS technical limitations. The ease of accessibility allows you to modify specific pages without touching the website’s CMS.

Reduced Server Load

Another benefit of Edge SEO is that it reduces the server load, thus improving the website’s performance and speed. And remember, a more responsive website provides a better user experience, which is good for SEO.

Also, CDNs cache content near the end user, which helps reduce latency and improve website performance. Ultimately, faster load times improve user experience, lower bounce rates, increase engagements, and improve SEO metrics.

Faster Dev Cycle

Developers usually have a long list of things they have to do to ensure the website performs optimally. Unfortunately, some of these are time-bound and can pose challenges to SEOs.

Edge computing technology can help handle these tasks quickly and on a large, global scale. Many CDNs have a front-end interface (worker) that SEOs or non-devs can interact with. Even without coding capabilities, you can make changes to enhance user experience and rankings on search engine results pages.

Enhanced Security

A secure website enhances users’ safety and privacy. This makes visitors feel safe when surfing your website, resulting in a higher website value and SEO ranking.

With Edge computing technologies, you can implement security headers like X-XSS, X-Frame, HSTS, and Referrer Policies to protect your site against common security threats. The best part is that you can implement these tasks directly on the Edge to avoid affecting other elements of website performance. This will result in a better user experience and increase trust in your brand.

Allows Easy Implementation of Technical SEO Strategies

SEO is not a destination; it’s a journey. To get the best SEO results, sometimes you need to experiment with different strategies to see what works best. However, A/B testing SEO strategies can pose challenges and impact your SEO performance. This is where Edge technology comes into play.

Edge SEO allows you to make advanced SEO adjustments quickly and even reverse them when needed. Specifically, with Edge computing, you can A/B test your SEO strategies without modifying your codebase and website infrastructure. For example, you can test bulk 301 redirects, Hreflang modifications, website migrations, and other technical SEO modifications without initiating changes.


Technical SEO Tasks You Can Implement on the Edge

On-Page SEO Tasks

On-page SEO is a vital component of a successful SEO strategy. However, one of the questions that SEOs ask is how to implement on-page optimizations without reaching the end user. Edge SEO offers the solution to this challenge—with this technology, you can make modifications faster to meet a larger demand.

For example, you can change the brand name at the end of a page title and the pricing in the metadata as required. Ideally, SEO at the Edge helps avoid the common limitations of modifying on-page elements.

Depending on your CMS, you can face various limitations, such as the inability to upload more than one on-page content at a time. Fortunately, with Edge computing, you can update content dynamically and at a large scale.

The best part is that you can implement a few metadata to determine which content suggestion works better than the other.


Implement Bulk Redirects

Managing redirects is a crucial part of technical SEO. You may need to use redirects after a migration or modifying URLs. However, handling bulk redirects can be tiresome and overwhelming due to server limitations and platform restrictions. These problems can include:

Time-consuming: Depending on your CMS set-up, implementing redirects on your site can take significant time.

Limitations to implementing redirects: Depending on your CMS, you may encounter challenges like limited redirect options, performance issues, user interface limitations, etc., when trying to implement redirects on your website.

Development roadblocks: If the redirects cannot be done on the CMS (manual redirects are needed in the .htaccess file), great development skills may be necessary.

Edge computing offers an excellent way to avoid these challenges and improve the overall implementation and management of bulk redirects. For example, many CDNs can allow you to modify the response code before being served to the end user. Additionally, CDNs with front-end interfaces allow non-developer teams to access and use them to make the redirects using a CSV file.

A/B Testing for SEO

With Edge SEO tools, you can test different variations of your web pages quickly and conveniently. In addition, you can A/B test website migrations and other technical SEO elements without changing your codebase. This offers an excellent opportunity for more testing and research of your SEO strategies.

Hreflang Implementation

The benefits of Edge computing extend to Hreflang implementation. Typically, Hreflang implementation involves these steps:

Applying code to the head section of the web page

Code application in the XML sitemap

Lastly, the Hreflang code application in the HTTP header

While all these methods of code applications are viable, they may not be practical in some instances. One such situation involves large businesses that have not upgraded their CMS infrastructure to match their international reach. This is where Edge computing can come to their rescue.

CDNs offer an alternative way to implement Hreflang code (it changes the direct server response to the user and search engine user agents without making actual modifications to the code itself. After this, you can use a mobile testing tool to check if the Hreflang tags are visible to Google.

Lazy Loading

Lazy loading is a technique in computer programming that delays rendering content until the user needs it. It is an excellent technique to help speed up a page’s load times and performance to improve user experience and boost your organic search rankings. Implementing lazy loading at the browser level can present some challenges, but Edge SEO tools like Cloudflare Workers can make the process easier.

Collecting Log Files and Analysis

Log file analysis is another common technical SEO task. It involves analyzing website performance and identifying bugs and other crucial components that impact SEO performance. However, although these tasks are common, you may encounter issues when working on specific CMS platforms like Shopify, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, etc., that prevent log file analysis.

Fortunately, Edge computing technologies can help overcome these restrictions. You can use a CDN to collect and analyze log files on the Edge to surpass CMS restrictions.

Write JavaScript Code

Another benefit of Edge computing technology is its ability to update JavaScript codes (you can write JavaScript code on the Edge and modify page elements).

This offers you an excellent way to change how the user interacts with a page on the go instead of launching the extensive code on the page beforehand. With Edge computing, it’s easier to implement JavaScript on the page than when using traditional methods.

The best part is that since Edge is serverless, you don’t have to index your JavaScript content because search engines won’t see the difference between raw HTML and rendered HTML.

Minify CSS and JavaScript Automatically

Minimizing CSS and JavaScript files is one way to speed up your site and enhance performance. While you can use traditional ways to implement CSS and JavaScript minimizations, Edge no-code configurations offer an even better way to minify these files and improve your website performance.

Override Robots.txt File

Modifying the robots.txt file is one crucial component of technical SEO implementations. However, some website hosting providers or platforms may restrict changes to this file. Edge SEO tools can help modify or override robots.txt files with ease.

Potential Pitfalls When Using Edge SEO

Nothing is 100% perfect, and Edge SEO isn’t an exception. That said, here are potential pitfalls you should address to ensure your implementation is a success:

Don’t Ignore Security Concerns

Nothing beats a secure site. Ensure Edge SEO implementations don’t compromise your site’s security. Validate user input and use secure coding practices to prevent unauthorized data access when working with edge workers.

Optimize for Mobile

According to Statista, about 96.3 percent of internet users use mobile devices when surfing the internet. Ensure your Edge SEO strategies apply to mobile and desktop users for a seamless experience.

Monitor Performance

Regular monitoring of a website will help identify potential issues with page load times, server response times, and metrics on key performance indicators (KPIs).

Don’t Ignore User Experience

A fatal mistake you can make when implementing Edge SEO is over-optimizing at the expense of providing a better user experience. Aim to strike a balance between improving performance through optimization and having a user-friendly site to ensure usability and accessibility.