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How To Get Google To Index Cloud Hosted Images and Files
While cloud hosting has become increasingly popular among developers and many sites have begun to migrate to the platform, primary using it to host their media files for quick and easy access. Cloud hosting not only frees you from hosting locally but also improves site speed as files are loaded from a 3rd party provider with high capacities. When choosing to host your files on a cloud distribution network you should consider the implications for SEO. I've worked on a few sites who have migrated over to a CDN service provider and made some fatal mistakes.
What is CDN?
Content delivery networks (CDN) or Cloud Services are the transparent back-bone of the Internet in charge of content delivery. Instead of hosting files locally every one of us interacts with CDNs on a daily basis; when reading articles on news sites, shopping online, watching YouTube videos or perusing social media feeds. There are plenty of service providers and each with their own merits and shortcomings but that's an article for another time. Currently, the most popular cloud hosting services are:
- Amazon Web Services
- Microsoft Azure
- Google Cloud Platform
- IBM Cloud
- Red Hat
- Oracle Cloud
- Verizon Cloud
How to optimise for SEO when running CDN
1. Add a Robots File and XML sitemap
Access your robots.txt file and submit a reference the image/media sitemap location for the sitemap you want to use.
2. Confirm CDN Subdomain Ownership
The first step is you claim your ownership of your CDN subdomains through Google and Bing Webmaster Tools. Once the verification is complete, submit your media XML sitemaps to Webmaster tools and your first step is done.
3. Switch XML Sitemap Image URLs To Point To CDN Subdomain
Modify your sitemap XML file to contain your CDN image URLs instead of your root domain URL for your images. This will make sure that Google will always see the images with your CDN Subdomain URL and now it will not find any duplicates because the root domain URL for images will not be found even from the sitemap XML file.
4. Check Indexation
Once you have completed the previous 2 steps, give it a good week for Google to begin indexing of your website files and images. Keep watching your Webmaster Tools and it will eventually begin to show the number of images indexed.
Protip! You can also find out whether or not your images are being index by Google or not by searching through Google Image search. What you need to do is, go to images.google.com and then search for following term: site:sitename.tld extension.
Don't have your head in the clouds when it comes to CDN
New technology is constantly being developed and while it's great to take advantage of its benefits, it's effect on the site should always be a top priority. Consult all parties that could be affected by the change and look into optimisation techniques and shortcomings should be addressed long before implementation.
If you want to know more about cloud hosting don’t be shy we’re happy to assist. Simply contact us here