1.7 How RankSense works

In this article:

  1. What is a CDN?
  2. Does a website need Cloudflare to use RankSense?
  3. Does RankSense change the code on the server?
  4. Does RankSense override the server’s meta tags, robots.txt, etc?

RankSense is an app that uses Cloudflare to make SEO changes to a website. Cloudflare is a Content Delivery Network (CDN).

What is a CDN?

A Content Delivery Network is a network of servers that contain a copy of the website (called a “proxy”). A CDN offers a few key benefits:

  1. Speed - Users who are far away from the server will experience a slower site. The worldwide network of servers in a CDN means that most users are near a proxy server.
  2. Security - A CDN such as Cloudflare is able to improve security by protecting against a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack, amongst other protections.

Read more at Cloudflare’s article, What is a CDN?.

Does a website need Cloudflare to use RankSense?

Yes, at the moment. Cloudflare is the only major CDN that currently offers the technology needed for RankSense. We do plan to expand our offerings to other CDNs when the technology is available.

Does RankSense change the website’s code on the server?

RankSense does not change the code on the back end. The origin server is not affected by RankSense. RankSense is only making changes to the proxy – the copy of the website that exists in Cloudflare.

RankSense is able to do this via Cloudflare Workers. Cloudflare Workers takes advantage of the Service Workers API that exists in all modern browsers.

Read more in the “Introducing Cloudflare Workers” article on Cloudflare’s blog.

Does RankSense override the server’s meta tags, robots.txt, etc?

Yes. If rules have been created in RankSense to change the site’s robots.txt, meta tags, or other properties, then the version that is present on the server will not be visible to users (or search engines). This is important for agencies and clients to understand.

For example, let’s say you have created the following changes in RankSense:

If someone (agency or client) goes to change the robots.txt on the server side, no change will be visible if you visit https://www.ranksense.com/robots.txt. Only the version that exists in RankSense will be seen, unless the robots.txt rules are deleted from the app.

Likewise, if someone wants to change the meta title and h1, they must update the rules to do so.

This can have unintended consequences if the rules are not applied carefully.

For example, let’s say you are an agency working on an ecommerce site, and you wish to optimize the product title. You change the product’s h1 and meta title using RankSense. Now, when users place an order for the product, the site’s email automation will send the user an order confirmation using the product name in the CMS, not the product name in RankSense. If a user needs to call customer service to ask about a product, the user will see a different product name than what is present in the CMS.

As a user of RankSense, the onus is on you to use the app responsibly and consider the consequences of the changes that you make.