By: Olivia Fobert of J.Ringer Consulting
There are many content management systems (CMS) available on the market today. We often struggle to choose which one is best suited to the business we are trying to run, or the content we are trying to publish. There are many factors we consider when deciding which one to use such as: costs, ease of use and the ability to update and add new content.
However, one thing that is often overlooked when deciding on which CMS to host your website, is the SEO functions that they offer. Having a CMS that supports a search engine optimization strategy to a certain degree is almost always necessary. This is why, when deciding on a new CMS or a CMS to migrate your website to, it is important to assess and take into consideration the different elements that will need to be optimized during your SEO campaign.
In order to make SEO easy for yourself or your business down the road, let’s discuss what functions are important for your CMS to have, to support your SEO strategy.
A good CMS system for SEO:
1. Allows you to customize meta-titles, meta-descriptions and h-tags.
This is an important CMS function as it allows you to optimize and personalize the meta-tags and h-tags of each page, to ensure that you can incorporate keywords and relevant content.
Meta-tags and title-tags tell the user what the webpage that they are looking at is all about. Keywords can be implemented in these to inform the search engine exactly what the user will find on the select page.
2. Allows you to customize the URL structure on each page.
Ensuring that your CMS system is capable of producing customizable URLs is another way to improve your SEO strategy. With the ability to customize your URL, you are able to incorporate keywords that explain the page – so that both humans and search engines find them easy to read.
3. Has support for the rel=canonical tag.
The rel=canonical tag (link to https://yoast.com/rel-canonical/) is used to prevent duplicate content issues. It essentially allows you to tell Google that multiple pages should be considered as one - the most important one - that you want Google to index, without using redirects.
The reason it is important for your SEO strategy is that without rel=canonical, Google doesn’t know which versions of the pages to exclude from their indexes and which versions to rank on the SERPs. When this happens, your website’s important pages can loose relevancy on Google thus loosing traffic.
4. Allows you to input custom alt-tags on your website’s images.
The ability to customize the text of alt attributes is also important for your CMS. Google sees the image’s alt tags as page content, which contributes to the page’s keyword strategy. Alt-tags tell search robots what the image is of and enables them to determine the topic of the page.
5. Allows you to input a XML sitemap.
XLM sitemaps allow you to community directly with Google, enabling them to notice new content on your website and index it quickly. Sitemaps are basically your easy gateway to getting Google to notice each page on your website and make it visible for search.
If you are building a new site, or changing your old one to a new platform and have few internal and external links, it is beneficial to your SEO strategy to choose a CMS that allows you to input a sitemap.
6. Allows you to use link title-tags.
I previously wrote a post called Why the Hyperlink Title Is Still Relevant for SEO. (link to http://jringer.ca/blog/hyperlink-title-seo/) In this post I outlined the reasons why using title-tags ‘properly’ can improve your SEO campaign. “If used properly, with optimal keyword phrases, users are encouraged to clink on the link. When users clink on your internal links, your click through rate improves. And when your click through rate improves, so does your bounce rate, your conversion rate and ultimately your SEO campaign. Also keep in mind that users enjoy friendly, easy navigable websites. They enjoy saving time by not clicking on irrelevant links.”
Using a CMS, in which you can use title-tags, can directly benefit your SEO by providing a positive user experience – Google’s favorite.
7. Is responsive for mobile.
Choosing a CMS platform that provides multi-device support for tablet and mobile is crucial this day in age. As it stands, over 30% of traffic is coming from mobile devices meaning that in order to gain a competitive advantage online, your website must adapt for mobile view.
The reason that this is important for SEO is that when users search from their mobile device, Google uses local search to find the businesses that are close to them. Therefore, if your website is responsive for mobile and a near by user searches for a product or service that you offer, Google will – provided you have quality content – make your website visible on the SERP.
Without proper consideration, some extremely important SEO recommendations can become difficult and even impossible to implement due to the lacking in CMS capability. The majority of small to medium businesses, require some sort of SEO strategy to ensure that their website is visible on Google. Although you may not need to use each of these SEO functions having access to them throughout your website’s time online will play a big part in having your optimal pages visible on Google’s SERPs.