Thursday, 7 February 2008

SEO with a CMS

There are many low cost and free content management systems (CMS). You can also commission the building of your own if you have the money. Whichever path you choose your first task is to ensure the website conforms to the accepted industry standards in terms of its construction. Good code is a good plan and it's just as easy to do it right as it is to do it wrong. The same goes for SEO. You should ensure for example:

  • Each page allows for Search Engine Friendly (human readable) URL's. You should be able to manipulate these.
  • Each page has a unique title tag. Again you need to be able to manipulate these on a per page basis. Keywords in title tags are VERY useful.
  • Each page allows for a unique meta description tag. For the most part Google uses the meta description tag for the text snippet it displays in the search engine results page or SERP.
  • Each page allows for unique meta keywords. Although considered redundant it's better to be safe than sorry with meta keywords
  • The content management system (CMS) should allow for the easy addition of site wide code to aid the use of website analytics software a VITAL tool in the SEO process
  • The CMS should automatically update its site map and create an XML feed to ensure Google is informed immediately of any site additions. Doing this manually is NOT recommended.
  • The CMS should as far as possible use clean CSS based design to reduce the ratio of content to HTML on each page. This makes it easier for the search engine robots to establish the subject matter within a page
  • The CMS should promote and assist the use of correct on-page HTML tagging, such as H1 for the most important headings. Again this helps the search engine robots correctly index a page
  • The CMS should ensure canonical issues are considered and dealt with. In simple terms each page should as far as possible have only ONE version.

All of the above, and more, play their part in the way a website performs in the search engines. Ensuring your system ticks these boxes is vital. Getting this bit wrong will prove expensive.

So many CMS systems make life difficult for their users. The last thing you want to do is spend money on a site only to discover the search engines can't make any sense of it.

More in this category: General SEO, SEO and Design