The Features Every Content Management System (CMS) Or E-commerce Platform Must Have For Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

I met with a client who has been struggling with their search engine rankings. As I reviewed their Content Management System (CMS), I looked for some basic best practices that I could not find. Before I provide a checklist to verify with your CMS provider, I should first state that there is absolutely NO reason for a company NOT to have a content management system anymore.

A CMS will provide you or your marketing team to change your site on the fly without the need for a web developer. The other reason why a Content Management System is a necessity is most of them automate best practices for optimizing your site.

The SEO purists may argue against some of the features I discuss here because they may not directly attribute to ranking. I’d argue with any Search Engine Guru, though, that search engine ranking is about user experience – not search engine algorithms. The better and faster you design your site, invest in great content, promote that content, and engage with your users… the better your site will perform in organic search rankings.

The mechanics of how a search engine crawler finds, indexes, and ranks your site haven’t changed much over the years… but the ability to attract visitors, have those visitors share your content, and have the search engines respond has demonstrably changed. Good SEO includes a great user experience… and a content management system is critical to your success.

Search engine optimization is truly search visitor optimization. I’m going to break this list into the benefits of their impact. Within each, the features are listed in alphabetical order – not by their impact on ranking. It’s also important to note that a feature doesn’t have to be core to your CMS, it can be provided through a plugin, extension, add-on, or theme customization.

1. Speed and SEO

Fast sites provide a great user experience, so sites are absolutely indexed and ranked, in part, by how fast the pages and other media load. Google provides support for you to monitor your core vital web vitals for this reason.

2. Indexing and SEO

When your site is registered with a search engine or it becomes aware of your site, it crawls some necessary files to understand what to index, then crawls your pages to assess where and how your site should be ranked based on your site’s popularity. Incorporating all the necessary indicators helps the search engine to better comprehend your site’s content… which can pinpoint the terms that you wish to be found for.

3. Stability and SEO

A site full of malware or that disappears overnight isn’t going to rank well. Having some core backup and security features is a must.

4. Mobile and SEO

Mobile search has skyrocketed thanks to smartphones and available bandwidth. Your CMS must serve mobile visitors… which is over half of all search engine users.

5. Syndication and SEO

The ability to syndicate your products or content across sites can drive additional readership which can turn into additional backlinks to your site.

6. Retention and SEO

Acquisition of search engine users requires a significant investment. With that in mind, what are the features that you’ve incorporated into your web presence to ensure a first-time visitor is returning?

7. Analytics and SEO

You can’t improve what you can’t measure.

I’ll go out on a limb here and state; if your agency is charging you for content updates and you don’t have access to a content management system to optimize your site… it’s time to leave that agency and find yourself a new one with a solid content management system. Agencies sometimes design complex sites that are static and require you to change for content changes as you need them… unacceptable.

Note: This isn’t an exhaustive list of every website feature, just the ones that I believe are critical to your ability to rank well on search engines.

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