What is Cloudflare?
Cloudflare is a secuirty-as-service company founder in 2009 by Matthew Prince, Lee Holloway, and Michelle Zatlyn with an aim to negate malicious attempts to take down, slow down or spam sites with a great added value of content delivery optimization by caching your website and delivering it from data centers that are proximate to the physical location of your various users.
What does it have to do with SEO?
Your site is being served from the same IP as hundreds of thousands of other sites (sometimes containing malicious content/spam that might taint the IP) and contains the same footprint (headers that CloudFlare’s servers are sending with each requested web page and more).
Moving to CloudFlare & SEO outcome
As we know, Site speed is a factor in Google’s ranking algorithm, no search engine would like to send users from it’s search results to a site that blank stares at you for 5 seconds before loading, it’s bad user experience provided by the site owner but also by the search engine that dares sending a user to wait for seconds before getting the actual content, try it, click on any of the sites on the first results, I doubt you’ll find a malfunctioning website.
Around September 2014 I took a site that gets around 10,000 unique visitors a day and started becoming sluggish, checking webmaster tools I noticed that it takes the bots a long time to crawl and download pages, scripts and images (over 1.5 seconds which is considered too long)
I decided to try CF’s free plan to speed things up and fix the user experience on the site. see the results and judge for yourself:
1) Pages are being loaded in under 0.5 Seconds
2) Few weeks later impressions and CTR grows significantly
This could also be achieved by optimizing the site further but as the site grows larger it over uses it’s resources, CloudFlare in that case operates as some sort of easy free to setup CDN by caching your content pages and serving them quickly from the nearest location.
Have other opinions? Questions? insights? Comment away!