Best Content Management Systems and SEO


Before the importance of search engine optimization (SEO) was fully understood by the web developer and business communities, Content Management Systems (CMS) were invented to help companies large and small easily build and update their web sites. As a result, there are many content management systems in use today that may hinder or even completely prevent your site from ranking in the search engines.

What is a Content Management System?

A content management system is a web program that allows a user to build a web site without having to edit the HTML and CSS source code files. Common CMS implementations include: custom CMS programs, site builders, standard template sites, online stores, and blogs.

Possible CMS benefits:

  1. Multiple editors can contribute to a website.
  2. Allows frequent addition of material.
  3. Quick deployment.
  4. Advanced functionality for e-commerce, blogs, portals, wikis.
  5. Open source CMSs are free or low cost, and may be supported by multiple hosting providers.

Potential CMS Pitfalls:

  1. Possible restrictions on editing the HTML source code.
  2. More difficult to implement best practices search engine optimization.
  3. May not comply with web standards.
  4. Can be difficult to integrate new web services without expensive re-engineering.
  5. May impose design limitations. Your site may look canned.
  6. Proprietary CMS’s prevent you from switching to another hosting provider or developer.

Our Favorite Content Management Systems

The following systems are open source, have large development communities, and provide good SEO performance out of the box if they are configured correctly.

  • WordPress is a blog tool and publishing platform. WordPress can publish static pages, or a stream of articles. A wide variety of modules are available to extend WordPress, including shopping carts.
  • Joomla is a popular open source content management system. Shopping cart modules can be added to Joomla for sites that need ecommerce capabilities.
  • Drupal is a more advanced version of Joomla. It is generally used for larger sites, especially online communities.
  • Dot Net Nuke is a Windows .NET content management system. DNN sometimes comes with a menu system that is not easily spidered by search engines, but this can be replaced with the SEO-friendly CSS HouseMenu.
  • MediaWiki powers Wikipedia and many other community sites. MediaWiki is inherently SEO friendly and fully standards compliant.

About the Author

After graduating from Yale with two degrees in Computer Science, Jonathan Hochman set up his own consulting company in 1990. He has been an Internet marketer since 1994.