Article Archive by Jordan Sandford


December 17 2007

Content Management Systems and SEO, Part 2 of 2

by Jordan Sandford

This is part two of a two-part topic. https://www.morevisibility.com/semblog/content-management-systems-and-seo-part-1-of-2.html

In my last post, I introduced content management systems and listed a few of their benefits to a web site creator, including search engine optimization benefits. To review, a CMS organizes and stores the content portion of a website, separating the content from common visual page elements and from the inner-workings of the system used to organize and display your content. It can standardize a content creation workflow and allow multiple authors and multiple site administrators. Standardizing your processes, as well as having organized content saves you time. Whether it is starting a website from scratch, or updating many pages at once, using a pre-built CMS can help you move toward your goal faster.

SEO benefits of quality content management systems include being able to easily and quickly create keyword-rich, SEO-friendly URLs and remembering to create accessible and valid HTML code when you forget. It can also help maintain and properly display your articles’ meta information and titles. The ease and speed in which a CMS will allow you to update meta information, titles, URLs and content can be a huge time saver, but can get you into trouble quickly if you’re not careful: the automatic and global nature of a CMS will multiply effects of any un-optimized aspects of your website.

For example, if you don’t realize that your CMS is not using search engine friendly URLs, (out of the box, many of them do not) every page in your website can suffer. An inflexible CMS may reduce the effectiveness of your site if it does not support SEO-friendly html code such as alt (alternate text) attributes or allow you to control what text goes into the H tags. In addition, possible ‘code bloat’ may occur from including useless features which causes the user to wait for unneeded features to download. By its very presence, this extra code will reduce the effectiveness of your valuable content on your web pages, especially since it’s likely that your content will be pushed further down the page. A CMS can readily propagate all these problems to every page of your site instead of potentially only a few if you did not use a CMS.

You should be aware that without a solid transition plan, changing URL patterns (or structure) after your web site has been indexed can be extremely detrimental to your search engine positions.

Before using a CMS, I recommend that you spend plenty of time evaluating different systems, while considering your requirements. Also weigh heavily the skill level of the people who will be using the content management system day in and day out.

There are three final suggestions I’d like to leave with you:

  1. Be prepared to spend time tuning your CMS for the best SEO results possible
  2. Remember that the more flexibility you require, the steeper the learning curve
  3. It’s likely that someone has already developed a solution for the problem you’re facing
December 13 2007

Content Management Systems and SEO, Part 1 of 2

by Jordan Sandford

This is part one of a two-part topic.

The first commandment of a successful website is that you must have content. So, you’ve realized that maintaining that content is taking a lot of your time. You don’t want to keep track of URLs and meta data for all your pages. You need a content management system, or CMS.

In addition to helping you with the above tasks, a CMS can provide an efficient way to syndicate the content you create to other websites. Similar to a blog, it can also keep track of who created the content and when.

Essentially, a CMS allows you or your staff to create and update content quickly and without the use of a stand-alone program like Microsoft FrontPage or Adobe Dreamweaver. The content you create can be web pages, sections of web pages such as a common footer, stories or combinations of those. CMS can keep track of those content types (or custom content types) and whether a specific piece of content is viewable (or “published”) to your visitors or just in the draft stage. The CMS will automatically integrate the common sections of your web pages with your content so you only need to create clean and search engine-optimized code for your common sections once.

Using a CMS has benefits for your search engine rankings as well. Each content type or content category can be assigned its own section of your site, even though it’s managed in a central location. This allows the CMS to create keyword-rich, search engine friendly URLs easily. Your meta data and title tags can be managed in a central location also, making changes simpler and faster.

While using a Content Management System can make your life easier, there are a few significant gotchas to be aware of including how they could become SEO unfriendly. Stay tuned for my next post when I will review those pitfalls and offer some helpful suggestions. While I can’t promise you’ll get a raise when you implement a CMS at your office, I’m sure you’ll wonder how you got along without it.

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