How to ensure that a SEO CMS will be search-engine friendly. Below are 12 basic SEO issues that frequently plague content management systems (both pre-built and custom-made). By dealing with these, you’ll ensure a relatively smooth platform for content delivery:
- Title Tag Customization & Rules
A search-engine friendly CMS must allow for title tags to not only be customized on a page-specific level, but also enable rules for particular sections of a website. For example, if your site offered a blog, several static pages, and a forum, you might want to create a rule that all blog pages would begin with “Yoursite Blog > ” while forum pages used “title of post > Yoursite Forum.”
- Static, Keyword-Rich URLs
URLs have historically been the most problematic SEO issue for CMS platforms. Nowadays, search-friendly content management systems should feature custom URL creation. Here’s an example from SEO CMS’s custom-built CMS: Notice how the first line allows me to create the title of the post, while the second enables manual sculpting of the URL structure (and an automatic “generate” button if I’d prefer to simply use the post title).
- Meta Tag Customization
The meta description and robots tags are the two critical ones . Enabling editorial control is essential for a good CMS.
- Enabling Custom HTML Tags
A good CMS has to offer extra functionality on HTML tags for things like “nofollow” on links, or <hx> tags for headlines and subheadlines. These can be built-in features accessible through menu options, or the SEO CMS can simply allow a manual editing of HTML in the text editor window when required.
- Internal Anchor Text Flexibility
In order to be “optimized” rather than simply search-friendly, customizing the anchor text on internal links is critical. Rather than simply making all links in a site’s architecture the page’s title, a great CMS should be flexible enough to handle custom input from the admins as to the anchor text of category-level or global navigation links.
- Intelligent Categorization Structure
A close second to poor URLs is poor category structure. When designing an information architecture for a website, there should be no limits placed on how pages are accessible due to the CMS’ inflexibility. CMS that offer customizable navigation panels will be most successful in this respect.
- Pagination Controls
As pagination can be the bane of a website’s search rankings , controlling it through careful use of nofollows and meta noindex tags will make your important content get more link juice and crawl attention.
- 301-Redirect Functionality
Many CMS sadly lack this critical feature, disallowing the proper re-direction of content when necessary. 301s are valuable for expired content, pages that have a newer version, and dodging keyword cannibalization issues.
- XML/RSS Pinging
Although it’s primarily useful for blogs, any content, from articles to press releases, can be issued in a feed, and by utilizing quick, accurate pinging of the major feed services, you limit some of your exposure to duplicate content spammers who pick up your feeds and ping the major services quickly in the hopes of beating you to the punch.
- Image-Handling & Alt Tags
Alt tags are a clear must-have from an SEO perspective, serving as the “anchor text” when an image links and providing relevant, indexable content for the search engines. Images in a CMS’ navigational elements should preferably use CSS-Image Replacement rather than mere alt tags, though the difference in our testing has been fairly small.
- CSS Exceptions
The application of CSS styles in a proper SEO CMS should allow for manual exceptions so a user can modify how a strong, headline, or list element appears visually. If they don’t, writers may opt out of using proper semantic markup for presentation purposes.
- Static Caching Options
Many CMS currently offer caching options, which are a particular boon if a page is receiving a high level of traffic from social media portals or news sites. Bulky CMS often make dozens of extraneous database connections, which can overwhelm a server if caching is not in place, killing potential inlinks and media attention.
- Title Tag Customization & Rules