SEO is no longer restricted to or depends on just few metrics. Search engine giant Google has made sure that every element, tag, section of the website gels cohesively and thereby gets rewarded in the form of “high page rank”.
It simply means websites should work like a well oiled machine. No obstacles and no hanky panky stuff to circumvent or compromise Google’s algorithm. Therefore every website today is built with precision, right from the page title to the footer, whether it is a simple hard coded site or a complex programmable content management system.
10 SEO factors to consider when selecting your CMS
1. Title, Meta and H1 Tags
Content is the king and keywords the warriors or the army of any website. Therefore it is essential to choose a title which is rich in keywords because it forms an integral part of on-page optimization. The <meta> keywords and <meta> description tags also needs to be populated with relevant keywords. Care has to be taken to research the keywords because it is this metric you are going to target in your search. Your CMS should allow you to manually name the page title even though it may be programmed to automatically populate, and ditto with keywords.
The next on the list is the <h1> tag, which typically the page heading. Although it does not form a part of <head> tag it is important that this element is independent in nature. In fact all the above mentioned elements have to be separate entities.
3. Uniform Resource Locator ( URL’s)
URL’s are crucial in many ways. It gives a hint to both humans and search engines about the pages’ content and carries a lot of weight in the SEO arena. Your CMS URL’s should therefore be fully customizable and search engine friendly. The keywords within the page address needs to be well defined as it reflects the content of that page.
A note here; dynamic URL’s and ID’s attached to them play havoc with SEO strategy because Google indexes them as different pages affecting the page rank.
Finally, similar content with two different URL’s are fully eligible for penalties. Look out for duplicate URL’s, as they pull down the page rank.
4. Canonical Tag
As mentioned above duplicate links can cause lower page ranking. Any efficient CMS should handle this issue or offer a solution. A canonical tag is one of the best ways of handling it. If your retail site has a page which is similar to another page or pages it becomes necessary to warn Google about it and also inform which page is the true authority. This is done through canonical tag. Here is an example.
<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.mysite.com/electronic.php?item=mobile-phone”/>
Google will then assign appropriate indexing value after processing all the signals and parameters.
Sitemap is yet another function which your CMS should initiate on its own or allow you as a developer/administrator to create. Sitemap, allows Google to crawl your website through a single file and index the content in a way you want it to. This is typically an .xml file where links are arranged in hierarchy order.
Your CMS system should either avoid frames / I-frames completely or offer a solution to customize such pages. It is a proven fact that indexing pages which have frames are a big hassle for Google. They send out confusing signals and in many cases the content of the frame is given priority over the parent page.
7. Page Redirect
Your CMS should be able to redirect old URL’s to the newly created ones. Many times websites change the page address out of necessity, typically during the restructuring process. Redirects created by the CMS should offer a 301 header status. It is a must so that Google indexes it accordingly. A note of warning here; the redirection from old to new URL’s should be smooth and quick. Redirects are done to retain page ranking which might otherwise be lost.
Link metrics play an important role in SEO. Your CMS should understand the concept <rel=next> and <rel=prev> concept. This is crucial because Google and other search engines know that the pages are in sequence. It removes confusion and therefore duplication. A perfect example would be a retail outlet which has several products under a particular category but limits the display per page making it mandatory to have a pagination system.
9. Custom Alt Tags
Your CMS should make sure you exploit all the necessary image attributes such as ALT and TITLE. While ALT tag stands for alternative information, the latter reflects additional information. Keyword stuffing in both the tags is important. So keep them relevant and meaningful which would translate into better page rank in Google’s image search. It would also make an impact on Google’s web search.
So why are they used? Alt tag is meant for the visually impaired people or those who have disabled image view in their browsers. While a title tag although not important from SEO point of view still makes sense as the text pops up on image hover.
The structure of your website and the way links are organized and connected play an important role in how efficiently the search engines indexes them. Your CMS should support and enhance link structuring of various sections, and offer a no-hassle, efficiently coded breadcrumb navigation which is search engine and user friendly.