What are the Most Critical Features of a Search Engine Optimised CMS

There are loads of aspects to take into consideration when you are evaluating the choices of which CMS to use for your new site or website redesign. Ready-Made or bespoke built? Free or paid? Ruby or Java? Linux server or IIS? If your site is large, you’re probably going to have a number of things to think about when investigating Content Management System functions. Small sites also have to consider what they need to be able to do on their CMS, however the requirements may be less exhaustive.

The sites search engine optimisation features are definitely one concern which should not be ignored at this planning stage. When all’s said and done a website which can’t rank well in search engines will be instantly eliminating a massive source of future visitors.

Here are a few of the main requirements to look for in your web site content management system for search engines.

Blogging features

Having a blog or another type of content area on your site where you can upload regular entries, without having to build new pages into your main navigation each time, can be really useful for your sites SEO. On one hand it allows you to create more fresh content quickly and easily which may drive more long tail search traffic to your site. Posting useful content on your blog is also a great way to attract links to the site. That isn’t going to happen by magic, but its useful to have the option of a blog built into whatever CMS you choose.

Own Domain or subdomain

Most web businesses will prefer to have their own domain name rather than hosting the site on a subdomain of the CMS provider. Sites on subdomains or on real domains can both rank in Google, but its important to have the option to move away from the subdomain later if you want it. Also if you want to migrate to a new CMS later you’ll want to take your domain with you, rather than being confined to a subdomain on someone else’s website.

Search engine friendly URL’s

Because most content management systems create dynamic pages on the fly some use ugly url strings like http://www.mysite.com/?p=123456 – although Google can read and index this type of URL, dynamic URL’s often cause other issues for search engines for example creating duplicate versions of the same page accessible by different URL query strings. It may also benefit your SEO to have keyword rich URL’s like http://www.mysite.com/keyword-1-keyword-2/.

WYSIWYG editor

You’ll want to make sure your website’s CMS has a WYSIWYG editor which is capable of adding in custom formatting like heading tags, anchor text links, bold and italic text. Most systems these days will have this sort of thing as standard but its always worth checking. You want to have as much control over your pages as possible when editing them in the CMS.

Changeable HTML page titles and meta data

The title is the most important part of your pages for SEO, so its important you are able to completely modify them within the content management system. You also need to be able too add a custom meta description to each important SEO page on your site. Also the CMS has to provide default titles and descriptions if you don’t enter data manually on a certain web page.

Mobile friendly

Websites aren’t just about PC’s anymore. Making sure your site works on all devices, including mobile phones and tablets will mean that mobile searchers who find your site will have a better user experience and will be more likely to buy from you. Serving a fully fledged mobile site could also help you rank in mobile search.

Image optimisation

It goes without saying that you’ll want to be able to upload and control the images which you use on your website. You’ll also want to be able to optimise those images so that they appear in Google image search. Flashy image galleries and slideshows are all well and good but many can’t be read by search engines. Look for a CMS which uses a javascript based gallery (if any) and make sure you can add titles and alt text to each image you upload to the system.

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