All CMS platforms are not created equal when it comes to search engine optimization. These eight solutions will help you excel at SEO and rank in search engines.
Aside from your product catalog, probably the most important thing on your website is your content. It gets people who have no idea who you are to stay on your website, learn about your business, and potentially find out what products you have to offer that might be of interest to them.
But the only way they’ll read your content is if they can find it to begin with, and with billions of indexed pages, that’s a tall order. If you want to make money from your website, you need to generate organic traffic through search engines, and the only way to do that is with good search engine optimization (SEO) practices.
A content management system (CMS) will help you do a lot of things right to ensure a steady stream of content on your site, but if you’re focused on SEO, eight platforms we’ve reviewed are particularly good for this task.
8 Best Content Management Systems for SEO:
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What to look for in a great content management system for SEO
Content management platforms offer many great CMS features, but one thing they are not universally good at is SEO. Some of them focus on the structure of your website and its ability to crawl and rank in search engines, while others aim to improve your ability to optimize content. If SEO is your biggest concern for your business website, look for these three elements in a CMS platform.
1. Page optimization
At the heart of any good CMS system, especially when it also helps you design the website itself and not just manage the content, is the ability to create SEO-friendly pages and layouts. If you are designing your site, look for a solution that can create HTML pages that are easily crawlable by search engines or that can create SEO friendly permalinks.
This is especially important if you don’t have personal knowledge of SEO. Little things like making sure your site structure is SEO friendly can make all the difference.
2. SEO tools
It is also helpful if the platform has many additional tools and features that can help you strengthen the SEO of your website. Some platforms provide their own tools, while others include access to third-party features that you can take advantage of.
Customer support in the area of SEO is especially important if you are totally new to the idea of SEO, or if you just don’t trust your own experience. A platform that offers personalized advice or other types of assistance is a great advantage and will allow you to focus on other things.
Our Top 8 Picks for Content Management Systems for SEO
The Ascent has reviewed many great CMS platforms, but if you’re specifically looking for one that excels at SEO features, here are the top eight to choose from.
WordPress is one of the top dogs in the world of website hosting, and their SEO friendly CMS platform shines in this area. WordPress is designed purely for the task of SEO, creating HTML pages that are easily readable by search engines, as well as permalinks. It handles a lot of back-end stuff so you can focus on your content, and it also offers free integrations with additional SEO tools.
Who is it best for: WordPress SEO tools are extensive and powerful, and you have more than a few integrations to choose from. As a result, it’s best for someone with relative SEO experience who wants to use more advanced tools to take it to the next level.
Read The Ascent’s Full WordPress CMS Review
2. HubSpot CMS
HubSpot is an easy-to-use CMS perfect for SEO newbies that takes care of analyzing pages and providing personal advice. With this software, you can follow their advice and constantly modify the website to improve its search engine ranking as you build your library of content.
Sorting well takes a lot of work and experimentation, so it helps to have experienced professionals virtually walk you through the process.
Who is it best for: HubSpot is great for those who need a lot of help getting their websites SEO-optimized. Personal training and page analysis will help you fix any SEO issues with your website.
Read The Ascent’s Full HubSpot CMS Review
3. GoDaddy Website Builder
GoDaddy offers SEO tools through its Websites + Marketing service. By clicking on a dropdown menu, you can access an SEO wizard that suggests keywords and phrases and automatically populates your site with the appropriate titles and meta tags. You’ll still need a decent amount of SEO knowledge to get the most out of it, but that gives you an edge.
Who is it best for: GoDaddy is also good for newbies, although it goes the self-help route. Although not personal training, the SEO wizard makes it easy to optimize your site for search engines.
Read The Ascent’s Full GoDaddy Website Builder Review
Drupal offers the SEO Tools module, which helps with reporting, analysis, and optimization. The dashboard has analytics tools to show your performance and give you ideas on how to tweak your SEO practices to rank more favorably. You will be able to manage automatic linking, reporting, tagging, keyword extraction and more through this module.
Who is it best for: As an open source CMS, Drupal is a platform more suitable for tech-savvy people, and that goes for its SEO tools as well. If you have some experience and like to customize, Drupal is an ideal choice.
Read The Ascent’s full Drupal review
Weebly offers helpful content to help SEO beginners, including an SEO checklist you can have ready to make sure you’re doing everything right when building your website and populating it with content. The Ultimate Guide to SEO is divided into four sections: Getting Started, Keyword Research, Growth, and Tracking. With this guide, you can create your own comprehensive SEO plan.
Who is it best for: With its extensive SEO guide that starts with the basics and works its way up to more advanced concepts, Weebly is great for those new to SEO but eager to learn.
Read the full Weebly review of The Ascent
Wix is known for its simple platform that helps anyone create a clean, professional-looking website from scratch, but it also has SEO tools. Wix helps with search engine ranking by making sites load quickly, helping you optimize for mobile devices, and getting your site listed on Google in a minute. Some advanced SEO features include a robots.txt editor, SEO patterns, and structured data.
Who is it best for: Wix is intended for people who don’t have a lot of coding experience, so their SEO tool is more geared towards those who want the platform to do a lot of the SEO work. The site does a lot of things that will improve your rankings so you don’t have to do much more than focus on keywords.
Read Wix’s full review of The Ascent
7. Square space
Like Wix, Squarespace is known for helping businesses build their own websites from scratch. It also includes some SEO-friendly features to help rank your site, like an auto-generated sitemap, SSL certificates, auto-tagging, and clean URLs.
These are the basics that will ensure that search engines don’t penalize you for missing a meta tag or something else. However, you can also use the Find Keywords panel to find keywords that drive traffic.
Who is it best for: Squarespace automatically handles a lot of SEO behind the scenes so you can focus on content, but it also lets you do keyword research, so it’s good for those who want basic SEO features but don’t need anything too overwhelming.
Read The Ascent’s Full Squarespace Review
Kentico’s Xperience platform is focused on increasing traffic through superior SEO tactics. That includes the automatic creation of friendly URLs for web crawlers, optimized HTML code, and compliance with critical web standards. SEO tools can be accessed through the “settings” tab of the Kentico dashboard.
Who is it best for: Kentico is for those who really want to take advantage of advanced SEO features. It has powerful features that may be a bit complex for some, but it will get the job done.
Read The Ascent’s Full Kentico Review
You need an SEO plan
Good SEO is a key part of running a website effectively. A small business CMS offers tools to help you, but you can’t rely on it completely; you should educate yourself about SEO.
Software tools can’t create an SEO strategy for you, let alone one that fits into your business plan. Get the ball rolling to write your own plan based on what you know about your business needs.
First, ask yourself a few questions about what kind of search traffic you’re looking for. Should you attract a very dispersed audience or focus on local SEO? How much time should you spend weekly on keyword research? How much additional website traffic do you need to achieve your goals?
Next, read about SEO best practices. Take a look at your website and see if your content and website structure reflect these best practices. Then make a plan for how you can improve in the future.