Frequently regarded as a productivity tool, Web content management systems are often less than robust at generating Web pages that top the search engine rankings. The very thing that saves time, namely the template system, tends to be read by engine crawlers as predictable and neglects to anticipate subtle changes in popular search terms from end users.
But a new generation of search engine friendly Web CMS tools promises to change that. Serious efforts are under way to enlist Web content management to simplify the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) process.
While maximizing your Web site for top search engine rankings is a nuanced process, much of your success lies in the basic blocking and tackling: title tags and URLs, targeted keywords, cross-links to related content and enabling spiders and bots to crawl deeply into your site. Taken separately these pieces are the very same elements that CMS tools are so good at managing and keeping track of.
Done right, an intelligently implemented Web CMS can enable anyone in the marketing department to create a Web page optimized for search engines and targeted keywords.
An SEO friendly Web CMS will help marketers optimize their Web sites for search engines in the following ways:
Producing quality W3C, XHTML and CSS code and maintaining consistent navigation so that spiders can find your content.
Building search engine-friendly URLs and page titles, in plain English, using your keywords. Ensuring that keywords also appear in the navigation titles and page names.
Managing appropriate keywords and phrases in the most important areas of your page, which will then enable search engines to determine the relative importance of your content.
Providing a keyword analyzer to view a page as a search engine would. Analyzing keyword ratings such as density and weight can help determine how well a page ranks for targeted keywords.
Automating header tags and alt-tags, robot.txt files and meta tags correctly to ensure bots are aware of how to index the pages they visit and how often they need to revisit for updated content.
Generating XHTML compliant code. Maximizing CSS to separate the visual elements from code, leaving only structure and content.
By adhering to these fundamental Web CMS best practices, the pages you create will provide a reliable gateway to the keywords that search engines – and your customers – will find.