Using Amazon S3 Without SEO Issues

SEO friendly Amazon S3For high traffic web sites, hosting images and video files can be costly and server resource intensive. This is why companies like Amazon, RackSpace, Google and others designed scalable cloud computing environments to let you host files on servers that can scale in terms of bandwidth and resources. For most sites, this is not needed but for sites that have a lot of traffic or typically get unpredicted surges of traffic (i.e. news sites), this comes in handy.

The issue I always had with these services is that they didn't allow you to host the files on your own domain. That is until now. Amazon last week announced that you can host your entire web site on Amazon S3 on your own domain. I don't want my whole site on Amazon S3, at least not yet, but I do want my videos and images there. Why?

(1) I want the image traffic from Google Image Search and Google News (those image thumbnails)

(2) I don't want them on my main server due to bandwidth costs and server resources during a huge spike in traffic

Mike has just implemented this for me at the Search Engine Roundtable and I want to show you how you can set it up for yourself. But before I do that, you can see that now Google is showing images I host in on Google News, as if it was on the same server (obviously, same domain) as the main site. Here is a screen shot of Google News:

Google News Images

How Do You Set This Up?

(1) Login to your Amazon S3 account

(2) Go to your AWS Management Console and click on the S3 tab

(3) Create a New Bucket and name it the domain you want, for example, and click Create.

(4) Then right click on the bucket and select "properties"

(5) Click on the "Web site" tab, check off the "Enabled" check box and put index.html in the "Index Document" field.

(6) Copy and paste the URL give in the "Endpoint" field (you'll need this for your CNAME for the domain.

(7) Click Save.

(8) Go to your zone records for your domain name and add a new host domain name that matches the bucket name, i.e.

(9) Label it as a CNAME

(10) In the Target (Host name) paste the URL Amazon gave you from the "Endpoint" field. Note, drop off the http:// and ending backslash.

(11) Save the record and wait for the DNS to propagate

Feel free to upload images into those directories (make sure the images read permissions are set to "world." Then try going to your new URL with the proper file name. In my case,

Of course, once this is all configured, you can automate the upload process to Amazon S3. For more on how this works, see Amazon Web Services.

Questions or concerns?

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