No CMS Is a (SEO) Magic Bullet: A Quick Guide on SEO Within the CMS

A new post has gone up over at the official Blend Interactive news and blog feed, in which I provide a counter to the (false) idea that WordPress is somehow better at SEO.

This was a real scenario, and it was frustrating to both me and the client — a case of when a bit of misinformation and narrow-minded experience threatened the logic of a well-thought-out content model: in this situation, someone who had worked on a site in the past made the suggestion to scrap the news feed we were building into the site in favor of a separate (?!) WordPress site. “Wordpress is better at SEO, so the separate news feed will work because it will drive more traffic.”

The biggest offense to me, personally, was the idea that search engines care about CMS. They don’t. They care about structure and context, all of which can be built into any CMS.

And with that, a post was born. From “No CMS Is a (SEO) Magic Bullet: A Quick Guide on SEO Within the CMS”:

Which brings us to the next point: Google may not necessarily care about the CMS itself, but it does care about the results of some CMS features.

This is where the perception of WordPress as a SEO juggernaut originates. WordPress — and more specifically, unique SEO tools and plugins available to WordPress installs, such as Yost’s SEO plugin — do a great job of providing shortcuts and guidance toward building pages with SEO at the forefront. It’s this correlation that fuels the WordPress praise.

But WordPress is not the only CMS that provides these shortcuts. Most modern systems include some system of plugins or add-ons that allow for supercharged SEO.

More to the point, these shortcuts aren’t cheats or hacks — more often than not, they’re one of two things:

  • An added context layer. If your CMS doesn’t come equipped with tools to help manage metadata or allow for easy maintenance of canonical links, these plugins can add those on as an added layer.
  • An added editorial layer. Since a major tenet of search engine optimization is tied to editorial content, plugins provide simple editorial reminders — recommendations on how long a title should be, or notifications if an image’s alternative text is missing.

If you’re working with an existing content management system, take a look around the community. There might be a plugin or upgrade available. If you’re using WordPress, there’s probably dozens.