View Full Version : How to set up a CMS-based Site for SEO
02-01-2004, 03:01 PM
I would be interested in seeing a discussion about how content management system-run sites can be set up so that search engines can spider the content. I notice that some CMS sites do not come up at all and others are easily found.
02-01-2004, 04:42 PM
When it comes to CMS, you've got to be VERY careful about the search engines. Usually, the biggest problem is that CMS are designed by programmers and not Seo's. So, they make the minor (yet deadly) SEO no-no's such as lengthy query strings, no title, and no metatags (or universal ones for all pages).
As an example, take a look at blogger.com. Their blog system is great and they work hand-in-hand with Google. However, they are missing fundamental SEO techniques such as unique title and metatags for the search engines. What does that do for all the little bloggies out there? Well, they're being listed real well with non-competitive sites. But for the terms that aren't competitive, they are taking a "hit" due to those missing factors.
Another issue with CMS is competitiveness. Now that blog systems have come in, CMS applications have lagged a bit due to no inclusion of RSS and other key systems that blog systems have.
CMS has to be able to hybrid their system with the newest technologies that work well with the search engines. Without that, they don't have a fighting chance against future blogs and other rich media.
Nice post Brian.
I see problems with CMS vs. SEO nearly every day.
The major problems I see are similar to those Brian mentioned:
Lack of unique and relevant page titles and meta tags, (though most cms sites seem to include a dozen or so unnecessary tags like author, content type, etc etc)
Lack of an automatically generated and maintained sitemap.
Not recognizing the need for text links between pages.
Lack of Alt tags for graphics
URLs the length of a freight train with dozens of cryptic symbols and numbers.
Not returning last modified date on IIS servers.
While CMS may be a great way to enable those who understand the details of the commercial information to generate pages without any web skills, its even better for optimization consultants who are called in after the fact to find out why the new hundred thousand dollar website is not getting any traffic.
02-01-2004, 11:29 PM
Thanks for the compliement. I've been pondering this subject for a bit. As in every progression, there is always a beginning. In this case, CMS is still at it's infancy. But, with the right push and future technologies, CMS could easily become a future for clientele of all budgets.
But, what makes the future of CMS so fascinating is that we're not losing anything by pushing it's technology. Even if there were systems to create SEO-friendly content, we would still need a writer and an SEO to make it the best it could be (and to stay ahead with the ever-changing search engines).
If there is any loss, that would be a content manager...something that's usually left to the web designers out there. And, I'm sure most are quite aware that web designers would much rather spend time on the creative than content management.
02-02-2004, 08:48 AM
Thanks for your comments. It would appear from your expert answers, that you actually do not see a way that a user with no influence over the programmers of the CMS system can some way manipulate the data entry to help SEO. It may be a business opp to figure something out!
02-02-2004, 09:11 AM
Funny you should say that. I'm working that that exact issue right now. Stay tuned...
02-03-2004, 05:47 PM
brianzajac - im with you on this one i'm also worrying to death that my CMS will be ignored by search engines.
I noticed alot of you commented on the large url problem, how can this be overcome while still passing through relevent info?
Is there anything else i shold consider other than unique meta-tags and a self generating site map?
02-03-2004, 07:18 PM
Your concern is something that many programmers face when constructing a dynamic site. From what I've seen (at least from Google and some of the other SEs), that the length of the URL is a BIG deal. Also, when you query the database, call for IDs, and add in session variables, these can cause some other problems.
My golden rule: keep the URL short, don't use session IDs, and test! test! test!
Depending on your server and the access yo have you can rewrite URLto something search engine friendly on Apache servers and on IIs servers you can rewrite them with the ASAPI_rewrite program.
02-04-2004, 12:22 AM
Yeah, it's unfortunate that cms programs haven't come full circle as far as SEO goes.
It's not necessarily the long url strings, although short ones would be nicer, but all the variables that are contained within. And ofcourse session ids, which kill.
However, if anyone's interested in postnuke (http://www.postnuke.com), there is a theme / module that turns these nasty urls into static pages utilizing apache mod-rewrite.
It does help, but doesn't address the unique title and keyword tags on the fly
02-04-2004, 03:04 AM
I have been reading this and other forums for a while now and after I thought I had the answers to most of the questions that I have concerning making my site SE friendly and had started to act on a plan, I contact my host with this question!
Hello, I will be creating new pages to target more specific keywords and keyword phrases and would prefer to have custom meta tags for each page, these pages may or may not be static and would replace the category pages and would be listed on a site map page. The function of the blank pages as they are now probably generate the meta tags from the submission page and are all the same, with the exception of the title, my question is can that function be cut off for blank pages only so that I can use my custom tags that I would generate for each page that I create.
Or would it in your opinion be better to create it in dreamweaver and upload it to the media library.
The last paragraph should have read
(or could I get a seperate folder inside of my root folder)
William, in regards to your question there is no way to create or utilize your own meta tags for the website through html,How it works is the pages for the website pull the meta tags that are submitted in the search engine section in the BCC for search engines. Thanks Support.
I am presently trying to learn dreamweaver MX and want to use it in the end but given the circumstances what in your opinion would be my best approch to the problem at this point.
Thanks William (but I go by Mike)
02-06-2004, 04:00 PM
I'm a little bit confused now. I have a rather large site that's alot of work to maintain. I figured that a CMS system would be the answer. So I've put the system on my site and was going to start moving the content over and transition into using the system as my home page.
After reading this, I'm not so sure anymore. We rank well in the SE's ... and I don't want to affect that.
Does anyone have any thoughts on this? If you're not already using a CMS ... should you make the change?
There is nothing wrong with a CMS system IF it allows you full control of your page title, meta description, meta keywords tag, alt and title attributes on graphics plus the ability to get the body text formatted the way you want it. Many of the CMS systems that I have run across have not been set up in order to do that correctly and so do impact on rankings.
If your site is a large one andh dynamic make sure that you do not have anything that can be intrepreted as session IDs in your URLs.
I understand that Google will likely treat anything with ID= followed by a longer than ten character string as a session ID and not index the page as a result.
02-07-2004, 03:06 AM
Thanks for the reply, it's much appreciated.
The system I was looking at is PostNuke ... and it's pretty limited on what it allows as far as the meta data. After reading input from several users .. I guess there are hacks to accomplish it, though.
I believe what I'm going to do is keep my current set up and keep looking ;o) Or try portions of the site on a CMS system before making an entire move.
Which systems have you seen that DO allow control over all these areas?
02-13-2004, 01:13 PM
When considering a CMS it is important to note that most pages that are created have standard HEADERS and FOOTERS. Based on the meta content of the data on the site, these standard headers and footers can be rewritten on creation to include these important META information. Yes this will take a developers touch to implement, but as content "owners" this should be implemented.
Earlier someone mentioned URL Re-writes, this is important also. Apache re-write rules will allow spiders to index according to the site root and subsequently give a good report.
Hosting a CMS on a hosting service that does not give you access to the the config files, so you can have them re-written according to your site nees, will limit you. I really think if you are going to have a CMS site, of major content, you should host it yourself or on a dedicated server where your developer has access to the server config files.
Also, to note, a lot of CMS pages are password protected, with limited access. Some spiders can not access these pages, hence they can not finish there task.
Bottom line is there will need to be an "understanding" between the Developer/Programmer and the SEO.
02-16-2004, 02:40 AM
Nice post. May I point out that my site [http://arupbhanja.com] is basically a CMS built in PHP and Mysql and is designed on the basis of templates that are SEO friendly [just view source]. So you can be creative in your CMS and be search engine friendly as I found out for the keyword 'free cms engine' my site actually comes in # 1 and 2 in Google
>> programmers and not Seo's. So, they make the minor (yet deadly) SEO no-no's such as lengthy query strings, no title, and no metatags (or universal ones for all pages). <<
>>Another issue with CMS is competitiveness. Now that blog systems have come in, CMS applications have lagged a bit due to no inclusion of RSS and other key systems that blog systems have. <<
Look fwd to more posts in this line.
04-07-2004, 02:53 AM
Hi Guys, Iím a CMS developer and have a system that allows for the title to be different for each page. The problem is that although this may work for the SE, at the end of the day itís usually up to the relatively unskilled content editors to make or edit the content. The result is that people just donít put a tile in or use the default!! Imagine how many pages on the net have the title "Untitled Document" I am looking at putting an option in that can allow for a global page title. Even though it may not reflect well on the SE... its better that Nothing!!
All the best.
Conrad de Wet
Hostmaster - SoftPage Hosting
... people just donít put a tile in or use the default!! Imagine how many pages on the net have the title "Untitled Document"...
I'm with you on this - there is quite a few good CMS systems out there, and many CMS developers put extra care into making their software work well with search engines. People who use them are plain lazy, or just don't know...
06-10-2004, 05:50 PM
I am really happy that we started working on this a year ago. Our company soved this issue and it has been selling for several months now. I quickly rebuilt one of my websites that was getting allot of traffic and ranking very well on yahoo & MSN I never got link partners yet because I was so busy with client sites but we were still getting 400+ unique visitores a day so right away I rebuilt the site in less than an our in our new CMS and a month later this site skyrocketed to the top of the listings. You should all have a look at EMCON(electronic marketing console)Its a CMS content manager web site builder and internet marketing software all built in.This is your answere! Its changed the way we do business. Currently there are many webdesigners who are buying this to add to there clients websites as it ads value and saves massive time. Time = money!