I recently spoke with a friend whom I had helped to set up a site with Joomla a few years ago. All my friend was looking to do with the CMS is to add news updates. I had gone through the process of creating a content strategy that would effectively help them to rank in Google search result pages. I showed my friend how to make the updates and they appeared confident to me that they could work with this. After losing touch with this friend for a couple of years, I found that they had just switched to a new content management system.
The new content management appeared to be a templated solution that allowed them to create banners and add pages to a navigation. When I spoke with my friend they said the change was made because it appeared to be “easier to use” than Joomla. (FYI – I have switched my personal preference from Joomla to WordPress for most simple solutions.) After gaining access to their new CMS, there were some gaping holes in what I saw. (These should help you in looking for a CMS that will make sure your site is friendly with search engines!)
Search engines look at the URLs in helping to decide the page’s main topic or the keywords they are looking for. The best thing is to have urls that have the title of your page or post included, and normally separated by dashes between words. See the URL of this page for example.
Control over H1 headings and Titles
The H1 heading is one of the strongest signals in SEO. This it like a title to a non-fiction book, it tells you what the page is about! Matching that up with the title and incorporating the correct keywords is very important in selecting a CMS.
Google uses the Meta Description to fill out their snippets in search results. If the Meta Description is inadequate or non-existent, then Google with either leave it blank or fill in text from the page that it deems most appropriate. Controlling this with your CMS on a page level can help the searchers build confidence in what they see in the search result page as what they are searching for. This will help convince them to click the result.
Site Map Generation and Robots.txt
Being able to control these two areas in your content management system helps tell search engines what they should and should not be looking at in a website. If you do not set these things or your CMS automatically generates them, then search engines may not find everything it needs to and may see things that it shouldn’t!
What has this change done?
There were a number of things that were deep in my friends site that were receiving great placement in search engine result pages and was converting for them. With the change, those items have basically disappeared for my friend and the CMS has caused them to have a lot of indexed pages out there that show errors. This can be harmful to a small business that needs every click they can get! They will be able to build up new pages and news to support their pages, but the effort will be incredibly more difficult using this CMS. Does this really make things “easier”?
If this isn’t something you’re sure about, make sure and consult someone who works on websites. Geeks are always happy to help out! There are plenty of CMS options out there to work with! My favorite is WordPress, but there are many out there that can do the job. WordPress seems to be the most user-friendly to me while still getting the proper tools in place. I have used Joomla and Drupal in the past and they both do a good job, but can be a little more difficult to understand.
What’s your experience? Leave a comment..