If you just read that headline and felt like singing, "CMS and SEO, E-I-E-I-O," you're not alone. Sometimes digital marketing is an acronym factory that feels like you need a secret decoder ring just to
understand what is going on. And even if you know that a "CMS" is a content management system and that "SEO" is search engine optimization, you might not know how they relate to each other. Many Web site owners struggle with the question of whether a CMS is a step that they need to take, and many more wonder whether adopting a CMS would magically boost their search marketing.

The truth is that a CMS can be a fantastic thing for SEO, but only if it is done right. If you screw it up, it can take a high-ranking site and turn it into a search ghost town.

drupal icon, svg version

Image via Wikipedia

There are plenty of reasons to use a CMS that have nothing to do with SEO:

  • To standardize the pages of the site
  • To allow nontechnical people to update the site
  • To provide version control for your content
  • To implement an approval process workflow for every site change

These are but a few of the advantages of a CMS. Even looking at that list, you can see how SEO might be aided. Standardizing the pages of the site allows you to create the best template possible for SEO and use it on every page, and nontechnical people (writers) can update the site without screwing up the template. Version control allows you to roll back a change that messed up your SEO to the old version that worked. Your workflow can ensure that every site change is reviewed by the SEO person, so that mistakes in the use of keywords and other content can be caught before they go into production.

These are all great things, but there is a downside, too.

Many content management systems have perfectly awful default settings, when it comes to SEO. They don't include description tags in the template, or they force all pages to have the same title, or they create dynamic URLs, or they block content from crawling, or they produce duplicate content, and 20 other problems.

So, when you make the decision to use a CMS, and it's still a good decision for all the reasons above, take special care to have an expert configure your installation so that you avoid these SEO problems and instead reap the benefits.

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January 4, 2011

Mike is an expert in search marketing, search technology, social media, publishing, text analytics, and web metrics, who regularly makes speaking appearances.

Mike's previous appearances include Text Analytics World, Rutgers Business School, SEMRush webinar, ClickZ Live.

Mike also founded and writes for Biznology, is the co-author of Outside-In Marketing (with James Mathewson) and the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (now in its 3rd edition, and sole author of Do It Wrong Quickly, named by the Miami Herald as one of the 11 best business books of 2007.


Hello Mike,

Yes, CMS helps in SEO at very great extent not only just easy control but real search engine boost because of many reasons like, add more informative content will target other less competitive keyword for each page and also able to point out anchor text links to other important pages and able to manage very good on-page linking.

Absolutely, a CMS can help your SEO efforts, provided it's structured correctly! Like anything else, setup is critical. Once a CMS is properly implemented, on-page SEO tasks can be greatly simplified.

I personally feel CMS has got nothing to with SEO, CMS just gives you an frame work to build large websites( makes our job easy). SEO is a process of optimizing the website for best results. In conclusion, either the site is built on CMS or standalone if we must optimize it.

Sure a CMS can help to structure the website and deliver good SEO. Almost every CMS is able to create perfect SEO results. Sometimes you need to adjust the CMS a little bit to receive perfect results.

Great opening line, and a good article. I personally think that CMSs are a godsend as clients can be left to update the sites themselves rather than having to constantly ask you to update it, however, this does indeed carry with it the problem that non-technical writers simply might not understand the importance of SEO when left to their own devices.

A CMS is a great option if you need a website but don't know how to code. However, the SEO aspect is of utmost importance. If you have a great site but people can't find it then what good is it to have a site? Nice article with a catchy intro.

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Search Engine Guide > Mike Moran > Does a CMS help your SEO?