You’ll hear all kinds of advice about content management systems, or CMSs and if they are Search Engine Optimization friendly. Some Search Engine Optimization experts say don’t use them and others say it’s quite OK. But I’d be leery of any Search Engine Optimization expert that says any CMS is as good as the next. It’s just not true.
Some CMSs are good. Others are questionable. If I were to use a CMS I’d go with a free open source CMS like Joomla or Drupal before spending thousands of dollars on a system that might perform. But whether one uses a free open source CMS or pays to get a custom-designed on, you want your CMS to be search engine friendly. Keep these points in mind if you are shopping around for a content management system:
- Never, ever use a free web-hosted CMS like Geocities; these are the worst systems in the world and you’ll never get your website ranked in the search engines. Some industries sell local business owners websites hosted on their domains and I highly recommend that you don’t do that.
- Make sure that your CMS does not automatically generate meta tags; systems that do this usually generate the same meta tags for every page and that won’t help you at all – it will hurt you in the search engines.
- Take careful note that your title tag on every page uses your most important keyword, preferably at the beginning. Some CMSs use the name of the CMS as the title tag on every page and it’s the first word or phrase in the tag. Steer clear of those content management systems at all costs.
- Do you get to write your own page descriptions? If not, pass.
- How are your keywords generated? If your CMS generates your keyword tags site-wide then it isn’t helping you. You want unique keywords in the keyword tag on every page of your website.
- How much code does your CMS add to the content on your pages. This one is important. Some Java-based CMSs add extra code to every page on a website. If yours does this then that extra code could prevent your website from being crawled.
- Do graphics come with alt tags? If not, don’t use the CMS, especially if you are building a graphic-intensive website.
- How often are you allowed to edit pages? If you can’t edit your pages any time you want then don’t sign on with any service. They’re a rip off.
- Is your content original or are you buying “off-the-shelf” content? If you are buying off-the-shelf content then it is likely PLR and will be duplicate content, which won’t do you any good. Only original content will benefit you.
- What kind of add-ons are you allowed? Can you add a blog easily? What about a forum? Find out if you can add widgets and other elements to your website. You may not want to do that now, but what about 2 or 5 years from now? Think ahead and see what you might want to do down the road.
This is just the tip of the iceberg for Search Engine Optimization for a CMS. Many new website owners don’t have any idea about what they need to do to get online and be ranked at the search engines. A Search Engine Optimization friendly website is the most important website you can have. If your CMS is standing in the way of that then it’s time to ditch it.