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How-to 11 min read September 3, 2019

How to choose a CMS for website promotion

Website development is just the beginning of the journey. To put a project into a full run, quality optimization is required. If the content management system (CMS) is not adapted for SEO, the promotion process becomes more time-consuming and ongoing.

How to choose a CMS for the website and what your choice depends on

The website CMS is the basis of the future project. The website's features, scalability, design, bounce-resistance, development cost, and others depend on it. Therefore, the question which CMS to choose requires a detailed analysis of the needs, capabilities and priorities of the resource owner.

In this article, we will start with free CMS, since they are much more popular among webmasters. However, for large-scale and demanding projects it is often rational to choose a paid CMS or develop your own.

What optimization options can be solved through CMS

#1

Robots.txt

The file contains important information for the search engine: which pages are worth indexing and which are not. Most CMS don't allow editing this file both through the control panel and through the root file in hosting, as this can make the optimization process more complicated.

However, some website builders provide access to the robots.txt file through the control panel, which is good for the administrator.
#2

Sitemap or Sitemap.xml

Many CMS generate a sitemap automatically and update it every time you make changes. The user can create new pages and work with the site structure, while editing the Sitemap.xml file is not necessary. The search engine analyzes the updated sitemap and indexes the pages taking into account the changes.
#3

Metadata

In CMS-friendly optimizations, meta tags can be configured manually. Managing titles and descriptions will help to:

  • promote the website by key queries based on your personal SEO strategy;
  • generate snippets in search results, include calls to action and advantages over competitors in Title and Description.

In most CMS systems this meta tag setting is available by default. A more useful feature is the ability to set meta tags using a special mask. This function can be either built-in in the CMS or downloaded as an additional plugin. It can also be added by the programmer.


#4

Image optimization

Images require special attention with a comprehensive promotion. Some CMS systems allow editing Alt tags in the corresponding field of the admin panel interface, along with Title and Description.
#5

SEF URLs

SEF URLs or "user-friendly URLs" have a double benefit:

  • links are more attractive and informative;
  • it makes it possible to use a keyword phrase in the URL text.

CMS can automatically generate SEF URLs. The website administrator creates the page and enters its title, thus, appears a link with the same transliterated text. The new URL is a relevant page and contains a keyword in it. If you want, the SEF URL can be edited in the corresponding field. However, in some CMS systems, for example, in Joomla, the correct display of SEF URL links requires careful prior configuration.
SEF URLs in OpenCart
#6

301 Redirect

Moving a site to another domain, bonding domains, changing the page URL requires setting up a 301 redirect. As a rule, you need to edit the .htassess file. However, some CMS allow settings through the admin panel or using special plugins.
#7

Canonical links

If there are duplicate pages on the website, it is recommended to specify the canonical URLs in the <head> code of duplicate pages that lead to one main page. Content management systems adapted for SEO allow you to register a canonical tag directly in the admin panel.
#8

Ability to add scripts to code

Tracking scripts and analytics counters are necessary for high-quality multi-channel promotion of a web resource. As a rule, instructions for installing counters imply copying the script into the source code of the pages.

A major benefit of CMS systems is the ability to add Google Analytics, Pixel Facebook scripts, remarketing code and other counters through the control panel, without having to make changes to the code directly.
Adding GTM and Google Analytics code to Joomla

Popular CMS systems and their SEO features

CMS support of the basic SEO optimization tools is a pleasant bonus not only for the specialist but also for the website owner for independent promotion. Let's have a look at the main features of the most popular CMS.
#1

WordPress

This platform goes well with informational sites, blogs and online stores with a few pages. The advantage of this CMS is that you can do a lot with it without the help of a developer. The admin panel interface is quite simple and straightforward. There are multi-tasking SEO modules for WordPress. Among them are Yoast SEO and All in One SEO Pack. Their main features are the following:

  • robots.txt and .htaccess setting;
  • XML sitemap generation;
  • SEF URLs support;
  • the ability to register meta tags and create snippets.
Editing snippet in WordPress
Regarding the upload of counters, they need to be copied directly to the page code in WordPress. The administrator has access to the pages directory through the work panel, so this process won't take much time.
#2

Joomla

Website development on Joomla CMS is popular thanks to a large variety of templates, design solutions, and features. However, Joomla settings may not be as flexible and intuitive as other systems for an unprepared user. Built-in Joomla SEO features are: Title and Description editing, SEF URL, URL redirection, adding suffixes to links. You should also check the robots.txt file before starting the optimization process. For example, a folder with website images may be closed from indexing by default. Please note that this management system tends to create multiple duplicate pages. You should take this into account when filling your website with content. Joomla does not have a special module like the All in One SEO Pack in WordPress. However, there are paid SEO extensions for a deeper optimization, for example, Tag Meta, OSMap, iSEO plugins and others. You'd probably need the help of a programmer to configure the extensions.
#3

OpenCart

Creating a site on OpenCart opens wide-range opportunities not only for e-commerce but also for search engine optimization. The availability of important SEO tools in OpenCart is an additional benefit of the system. You can immediately register meta tags when creating new pages. SEF URLs are generated automatically. The duplicate content issue is resolved by the rel = "canonical" tag.

Additional modules will allow you to easily install and edit scripts. Basically, CMS is quite SEO-friendly, but it has some specificity when it comes to working with media files. It is better to upload images to the website after prior optimization because editing photos in OpenCart can be too time-consuming.
Meta-description in OpenCart
#4

Magento

Magento is a popular choice for an online store. This flexible and powerful CMS is perfectly configured for electronic commerce. Magento's features makes it SEO-friendly:

  • there is great potential for optimization, the ability to adapt each website page to search engines;
  • some of the important settings are included into basic CMS functionality (robots.txt, sitemap, installation of Google Analytics tracking scripts, etc.);
  • the "Search Engine Optimization" module will expand the range of SEO-tools.

If you compare this system with OpenCart, then Magento is less common, and it will be more difficult to find a developer for it.
#5

Drupal

This content management system, like Bitrix, is usually used for large-scale projects. Drupal does not include basic options for website optimization. You need a module package to use standard SEO tools without interfering with the code. For example, Page_title for editing the title, meta tag for Description and Keywords, Site map for the site map, and Redirect to automatically generating a 301 redirect when changing the URL and other modules. The compatibility of the module and the platform depends on its version.

Drupal is the most difficult CMS systems of all the previously mentioned. It is desirable to have experience and deep knowledge in web programming to work with this system. It is better to use it in extreme cases if other CMS systems are not suitable for some reason.

Conclusion

It only depends on the owner of the resource, his goals and capabilities, as well as the tasks and priorities of the future project in order to choose the appropriate CMS system. While choosing the CMS, it is important to remember and consider the SEO optimization features that each one of them has.

The basic settings of many CMS include SEO-tools. But you need to install additional modules for large-scale and high-quality optimization.

Those who plan to make a website and looking for a platform to maintain and promote their project should consider both technical features of the CMS system and its capabilities for SEO.

To manage and optimize a small information website or blog, WordPress will be just fine. A cost-effective and well-equipped option for an online store will be Opencart. 1C Bitrix and Magento are good for big projects requiring large capacities and functionality.

Self-developed control systems and frameworks should be used in case of non-standard functionality when other CMS can not solve all the tasks of the website. An issue in this case is possible if you decide to change the developer, since it will be difficult to find someone who understands the code of the previous specialist and will be able to continue developing the project.

This article is a part of Serpstat's Checklist tool
Checklist at Serpstat
Checklist is a ready-to-do list that helps to keep reporting of the work progress on a specific project. The tool contains templates with an extensive list of project development parameters where you can also add your own items and plans.
Try Checklist now

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