SEO with Cloudflare is a common topic, with a lot of questions. Check out this recent blog for some answers to some of the more frequently asked questions.
Speed works into overall SEO.
Over the years of implementing non-voodoo SEO campaigns, I’ve found the fastest solid gains in organic traffic through better rankings come from improving Content and Speed.
Can’t speak for other sites but prior to switching to Cloudflare and Cloudflare Universal SSL, one of our sites was so slow and rankings so bad, it was almost to the point searching our own domain was agonising. Now, we’re seeing local competitors forced to use ads.
The Free versions of cloudflare is not good for SEO, but all paid options are really good. (better or same speed and better security)
Of course is possible to setup wrong and having problems, but that is other topic
Do you have a reason to believe the free plan isn’t good for SEO? That hasn’t been my experience at all. SSL is available on all plan levels (Google gives a boost to sites served over SSL) and caching/delivery speeds aren’t any different between plans (with the exception perhaps of available colos… but most crawlers tend to come to colos available on all plans).
Can you substantiate that claim?