Do you have a large, constantly evolving Web site, and your marketing or content team doesn't know HTML from XML and XML from .xls?
You might need a CMS (define). A Web CMS is used to more easily create, manage, and update site content. Typically it comes with an easy-to-use interface that looks something like a typical text editor (e.g., MS Word), known as a WYSIWYG (define) editor, which enables even the least Web-savvy person to update a site. Most systems manage workflow so you can get the content in front of the approvers more efficiently, with the aim of getting new or revised content live faster and less painfully.
Why Should You Care?
What does this have to do with SEO (define)? For many organizations, a CMS is unavoidable. Without one, the site would remain as stale as a day-old doughnut. Problem is, many people still think a CMS has to be the death of an SEO program.
That's because in the past, a CMS wasn't designed with any thought to search-engine friendliness. A CMS would produced dynamic URLs (which had previously been looked upon unkindly by search engines) and didn't allow the addition of keywords into URLs. They lacked the capability to add unique title and descriptions to each page. They created unnecessary code clutter and didn't enable the use of CSS (define).
While these shortcomings may still apply to a handful of systems on the market today, the majority now allow for some customization to benefit SEO efforts. Many have even gone so far as to market their products as "SEO friendly" or "marketing friendly" (e.g., Hot Banana).
So if you've been shying away from implementing a CMS because you're afraid your search rankings will plummet, you can reconsider. Some systems will actually help you more easily implement SEO best practices on your site. Here are some tips, partially based on a white paper commissioned by my former agency.
How Can CMS Help With SEO Best Practices?
A CMS controls how your site is structured, how your content is organized, how that content gets named, and how it appears on a page. Does this sound familiar? It should, because I've basically described the on-site factors search engines look at when ranking sites.
There are certain SEO activities you can use your CMS to help implement. Capability may vary by system, but here are few things you might not know you can do with your CMS:
This isn't an exhaustive list by any means, but it might give you the incentive to rethink your current approach -- or lack thereof -- to content management and SEO.
Want more search information? ClickZ SEM Archives contain all our search columns, organized by topic.
Julie is a member of the senior strategy team at Klick Health, focused on online media and digital. Julie initially established and led the media practice at Klick for several years, relinquishing leadership to expand beyond media into additional digital tactics. She brings a wealth of experience in search marketing, digital media, and all facets of digital strategy to bear, helping Klick's clients develop innovative digital solutions. As her role has evolved, so have her contributions to ClickZ, which she has been writing for since 2007.
May 22, 2013
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June 5, 2013
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