How to Choose a CMS for SEO?

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Eighty-First Internet Marketing Podcast October 22nd 2010. Second page of Show Notes

How to Choose a CMS for SEO?

Chris:                           So that is a great lead in ’cause we are going to talk about content management systems, solutions, systems. If you’re a longtime follower of our podcasts, wow, we really appreciate it, and we’re going to cover some stuff. We’re going to cover it from ‑ I mean, we’ve talked about what content management systems you should have and what features in those content management systems you should have. We think it was about a year ago our history department, our research department was…

Paul:                            Just took a random guess.

Chris:                           …out sick and so we just took a random guess.

Paul:                            About a year ago.

Chris:                           About a year ago. But we’re kind of like ‑ what we’re finding is we’re kind of like the cleanup company for SEOs. When other companies are not interested or not able, we take those clients and so we end up working with a lot of different content management systems and we’re really open to working with whatever. We’ve ended up working up with MODx. We’ve been thrown into MODx projects actually and sometimes not on an SEO perspective but just from a web design perspective which it takes a little bit more time but we’re willing to just put in the effort to clean up those projects for those new clients.

Joomla, WordPress of course we use as a blog and are beginning to really investigate and utilize it as a content management system. We’ve got some people here who are really comfortable doing that already so that’s great. And so we really thought maybe it’s time to revisit it because we’ve been struggling with frankly Joomla and so we…

Paul:                            And we all kind of have our likes and dislikes of each individual content management system.

Chris:                           So does that mean you’ve actually gone to the Facebook page and liked and then disliked? You know what I’m saying?

Paul:                            Not yet. No, man. You’re going to get me started on liking Joomla but I do like Joomla.

Chris:                           There are some nice…

Paul:                            I have some challenges and it came up where like hey, we all have our likes and dislikes. Everyone else out there will have some as well so let’s talk about it. And this is a real ‑ I mean, this has been going on for about two weeks in the office. What CMS should we use? Which is better? Use this one. Use that one. And I have found this article I think about a year ago. We’ve talked about it and I said, “Hey, it’s relevant ’cause this is what we’re going through.”

Chris:                           That’s not the article you gave me.

Paul:                            It’s not?

Chris:                           No. I got this one.

Paul:                            Oh! [Laughter]

Chris:                           That’s kind of cool.

Paul:                            Oh, no, no, same article. I cut it. This is Word. I don’t know how to print it.

Chris:                           Oh, you don’t know how to print?

Paul:                            No.

Chris:                           No ’cause it doesn’t ‑ is it?

Paul:                            Yeah, How to Choose…

Chris:                           Okay.


Paul:                            Yeah. I put it. I copied and pasted it into Word.

Chris:                           By the way, if you were to Google how to print at E-Webstyle, probably there’s a blog.

Paul:                            I’m sure it would be probably be there because you showed me how to print yesterday. You just hit ctrl P.

Chris:                           All right. So yeah, all of our technical glitches have been resolved except for USTREAM.

Paul:                            And let me give a quick shout-out to Jeremy Brasher, part owner of Jason’s Guac Starter who I mean I had a phenomenal conversation with and it really opened my eyes to WordPress.

Chris:                           That just sounds really cool, Jason’s Guac Starter.

Paul:                            Yes.

Chris:                           That just sounds really cool.

Paul:                            It looks good too. I may have my sister in Tennessee go get me some and mail it to me ’cause that’s what’s up.

Chris:                           Oh, cool.

Paul:                            So thanks, Jeremy. We had a great conversation. You definitely opened up my eyes. So today we’re going to discuss how to choose a content management system for SEO. This is a great topic especially if you are an SEO-er and you’re cranking out websites and they want SEO, you know. You crank out a website and they’re going to say, “Hey, put me on the first page of Google.” Okay. So what content management system should you use if you’re going to do that? We love content management systems.

Chris:                           And what are the specific features in a content management system ’cause we’re not going to tell you, “Hey, use Joomla. Don’t use Joomla. Use WordPress. Don’t use…” We’re going to say when you’re investigating a content management system, what are the key features that you want to keep in mind as you’re looking at being able to do SEO on this content management system?

Paul:                            And also, I said this is good for another SEO-er. I think this is good for anybody but especially if you own a product-related website, an e-commerce website, chances are you are using a content management system so you definitely should pay attention to this.

Chris:                           Yeah. I mean, you could throw osCommerce into kind of content management system. Even though osCommerce is really focused on ‑ and it’s open sourced, it’s focused on a shopping cart solution, there is content and it’s managing it so that’s kind of inherently a content management system.

Paul:                            Content management system.

Chris:                           All right. I think I’ve belabored that point.

Paul:                            All right, so one of the first features. We’re going to break them down. These are critical features you absolutely have got to have in a content management system. First thing, URLs free of tracking parameters and session IDs. So everybody has been to a website that’s like!$= whatever. That is tracking parameters and session IDs.

Chris:                           Oh, you’re talking about our internet marketing page.

Paul:                            Oh, yeah. Really? [Laughter] I’m giving myself away. You know, this just sucks really basically because one, it doesn’t ‑ and I’m the kind of person I will break apart a URL to try to find it. If there’s a bunch of four slashes, I’ll say, “Well, let me break it. Let me cut these two off and try to go back.” I will navigate.

Chris:                           You kind of make your own breadcrumbs.

Paul:                            Yeah, I’ll navigate with the URL. So it doesn’t allow you to do that and it doesn’t give you any ‑ okay, it doesn’t have any keywords in the URL.

Chris:                           Yeah. That’s the key SEO issue. Yeah.

Paul:                            It doesn’t help the user navigate and you don’t know what you’re talking about so…

Chris:                           It doesn’t look good.

Paul:                            It doesn’t look good.

Chris:                           It looks very geeky.

Paul:                            And when you’re in your analytics, I had this problem yesterday. You have like all right, most visited page. Number 1, 2, 3…

Chris:                           Number 3. [Laughter]

Paul:                            And I’m like what? What page is that?

Chris:                           What page is that?

Paul:                            Like I don’t know and it’s like 10 pages, most visited page. I’m like okay. So you want to have real keywords in and real URLs.

Chris:                           I hadn’t thought of that one. That’s a really good one.

Paul:                            It just happened to me yesterday.

Chris:                           You go into analytics and it’s like your favorite page is article 125.

Paul:                            Yes.

Chris:                           You’re like okay, great. I know a lot of people are going there. Now I’ve got to go figure out what article 125 is. That’s a great point. I hadn’t thought of that one.

Paul:                            Just yesterday it came up to me. Boom!

Chris:                           All right. Next is H1 tags. No H1 tags on a given page is not desirable. Wow, is that a double negative?

Paul:                            Yeah, I think that yeah.

Chris:                           Who wrote this?

Paul:                            I don’t know but I’ve seen this lately a lot in the analysises that I’ve been giving. No H1 tags. You definitely want to have H1 tags. You want to make sure that your CMS allows you to insert H1 tags.

Chris:                           Stefan Spencer is the guy who wrote this or it’s Steven, Stevan, Stefan? He is the one who wrote it. I’m giving him a hard time but this is a really good article so we’ll carry on. Yeah, H1 tags, huge in SEO as you would know if you’ve been listening to our podcasts. If not, go back and listen to our podcasts. H1 tags are something that we focus on.

Paul:                            And SearchSpot is going to pay special attention to it, great place to put keywords. If your CMS doesn’t allow you to do that, drop it, go to the next one.

The third one kind of goes into the first one. It says customizable URL structure. Yes, the default URL structure for most CMS systems is like the long session ID, article equals blah, blah, blah, blah. You want to be able to customize that with keywords into a keyword-rich URL.

Chris:                           And that goes back to the issue last night that I ended up fixing for myself which was the URL was stuck. I want to have a custom URL feature and it wasn’t working and just so if anyone is listening and having that problem, it was because I was using an older version of PHP. We had to upgrade to the newer version of PHP for that particular account.

The other thing that we want to bring up, that I’d like to bring up about this URL structure is the fact that we debate here often what’s in the structure is date like year and month and potentially day but usually it’s just year and month, and we’ve had discussions, lots of discussions, and maybe you guys have thought about this. Do you really want your customers or the visitors to know the date? If you’re a news source and maybe you do, if you’re not a news source like us, there’s no real reason to have dates actually in the structure and on the side where they still are there on our blog but because sometimes people see, you know, “Oh, it’s 2009 so I don’t really want to read it,” well, there’s some still very you know.

Paul:                            I do that knowing that like probably what you’re going to say. There’s still valuable information but it’s like ahhh.

Chris:                           Ahhh, there’s probably newer, better, more valuable information somewhere else.

Paul:                            Yes.

Chris:                           And so that might be a reason that you debate whether you want to display the date, you know. Pull out that date and you don’t have that issue. Leave the date in and it may serve a purpose. So think about what you’re trying to accomplish and decide if you want to have dates in there. I thought that was pretty important.

Paul:                            That was a great point. Definitely think hard about including the dates in your articles and in your URL structure.

Chris:                           I love this one. We’ve talked about this one a whole lot, 301 redirection canonical URLs.

Paul:                            Explain that ’cause I had to have it explained to me when I first read this article. I was like what was that?

Chris:                           What’s that, canonical?

Paul:                            Yeah.

Chris:                           Okay. So 301 redirect is saying okay, the best example. We talk about this regularly. If you have your website and the homepage is index.asp, that is what it is in our case, you can actually get to that page by leaving off the index.asp, right? But Google recognizes that that’s two separate pages. It’s and So we potentially if we have people linking to both of those pages, we potentially have a spread of our Google juice across two pages and it would be more valuable to have that put together. So what we do is we do a 301 redirect, basically canonical ‑ is that right? Yeah, canonical ‑ so that if somebody is linking to index.asp we tell Google, “Hey, send all that Google juice to the one without the .asp” and it’s about Google juice.

The same thing say for instance and we have this challenge in E-Webstyle, currently our blog post actually have the date in them and we have decided that we’re going to pull those out. Well, people may have linked to our old entries, our old blog entries where it’s got the title of the article and then the date. Well, if I change our system, then that URL will no longer work.

Paul:                            It’s not going to work.

Chris:                           Or if the system is smart enough, it’s even worse. If it does work and then I got another page without the date, that is the same page and somebody else links to it. Now again, my Google juices spread across the link with the date and the link without the date and so really when we make that change, we’re going to do a 301 from the link with the date pointing it over to the link without the date, and then that Google juice gets all thrown into one spot.

Paul:                            That’s all. So basically for the new SEO-er, you can have two homepages. You do have two homepages.

Chris:                           And almost inherently, yes.

Paul:                            You have the www page and the index.asp.

Chris:                           Or index.html or default.html just ’cause they can have different ones, but yes, exactly right.

Paul:                            So you want the link juice going basically to one page. You want to redirect that. So that’s extremely important and we do it here so you should do it because we’re awesome. And listen to everything that I say.

Chris:                           Everything that he says.

Paul:                            So let’s bring ‑ is it time to bring in…

Chris:                           Yeah, I think it is.

Paul:                            Captain WordPress?

Chris:                           Captain Know-it-All? Captain WordPress?

Paul:                            We’re going to say Captain WordPress ’cause he is literally Captain WordPress.

Chris:                           The Joomla Jokester. I’m calling it the Joomla Jokester.

Paul:                            He just shook everything. I was happy with my Chrome. Now I got to go back to Firefox.

Chris:                           Oh, you’re going back? I actually gave him something the other day that he was here. Here he is guys, Chuck Lewis, Charles Lewis, also known as the SEO Rapper. Thank you for joining us again today.

Chuck:                         No problem. No problem. This is my second home.

Paul:                            That’s what’s up.

Chris:                           That means that’s two, four, six homes here. It’s the same for us. I don’t know how that math works. Thank you for laughing. [Laughter]

Author: eweb-admin