You know, I’m a big advocate for CMS optimisation.
I think it is a powerful area that has a high impact on rankings.
And as such, it’s an area worth investing in. I want to convince you of this!
So, firstly, what is CMS optimisation?
CMS optimisation is the process of improving a CMS. For SEO purposes, CMS optimisation streamlines the publication of pages so that they can easily be discovered, indexed and ranked by search engines.
Now, why would an SEO suggest optimising your CMS?
Why would an SEO care about having your CMS optimised?
Most CMSs, especially those that have been custom built, or even modified, are designed without the input of SEO.
As a result, some functionalities, which have an impact on your SEO performance, may not be available in the CMS.
As such, when an SEO makes recommendations, which requires actions within the CMS, it is simply outside of the capabilities of the CMS.
This creates a blockage for the site to improve its performance in the SERPs.
For example, let’s use quite a common issue with websites.
Your site currently does not have an XML sitemap.
You receive a tech audit. One of the recommendations in it is that you create an XML sitemap, and have it submitted to Google Search Console.
Now, the reasoning, makes sense. An XML sitemap will make it easier for search engines, in this case Google, to crawl your site, and particularly, to crawl and index the pages deemed important.
You look to have your Content team, or Web Editors, action this – to generate an XML. But there’s a problem!
They’re unable to generate an XML from the CMS because the functionality does not exist.
So, this task, generate an XML sitemap, is passed onto the Dev team, with a task ticket created for the job.
A Dev person sees the ticket, looks in the CMS and notices there isn’t a functionality to create an XML sitemap.
OK. Let me illustrate, how the point of an SEO recommendation can often get lost in the day to day operations, and how it affects SEO performance.
A Dev person receiving a ticket to generate an XML sitemap will aim to do just that –
If the Dev looks in the CMS and sees there isn’t a functionality to complete the task, they can simply custom-create an XML sitemap. This will complete the task, they can mark the ticket as ‘done’, provide the XML, and simply move onto the next ticket.
This approach is correct. If their task is to generate an XML sitemap, and they do so, they’ve done their job – well, and timely.
From an SEO point of view –
Oh, this execution could open up the gates of technical hell!
There are so many things that could be problematic from an SEO point of view – the XML could contain ALL URLs from the CMS, priorities may be set-up incorrectly, if you have Hreflangs, they could be all over the place – many things!
There could be a long list of things to fix before the XML sitemap is submitted.
And hopefully, the XML sitemap will be checked – by an SEO person before submission.
You do not want to be in a situation where an XML sitemap is submitted, with errors in it. You’ll be better off not having an XML sitemap!
So, the Dev has custom-created the XML sitemap. However, it needs to be revised.
You have a situation where more time has to be spent on the task.
You have a situation where an SEO needs to work closer with the Dev person to have this XML sitemap generated adequately for SEO purposes.
And remember, this is for the custom-creation of the XML.
Let me ask you this…
How much time do you think the Dev person would have spent generating the initial XML?
How much time do you think the SEO would have spent reviewing and listing all the items that needs to be fixed?
How much time, do you think the revision will take?
What if, by the time the XML is completed, 3 news pages, ‘important ones’, have been published on the site?
They’ll need to be added to the XML, right? The XML will need to be regenerated.
What if, two weeks after this time, additional ‘important pages’ are published? However, the entire Dev team are stacked, and are unable to regenerate the XML sitemap, not for another 3 days?
How do you think this would impact SEO?
You see, the initial point in having an XML sitemap was to help search engines crawl and index important pages.
The CMS restriction was that the functionality did not exist. This led to a workaround.
The workaround was to custom-create the XML sitemap.
The workaround was fine, temporarily. As a one off, the workaround may have been suitable for SEO purposes – were there not errors!
But here’s the thing…
SEO is not for the sake of SEO.
SEO is to generate the business revenue. Strategically. Through your website!
When your website has a CMS that restricts SEO performance, why not streamline its functionality to increase revenue?
This is the point of CMS optimisation!
It considers important functionalities necessary for your site to perform well in the SERPs.
This isn’t limited to XMLs. There could be a wide range of restrictions impacting your SEO performance.
Now, you may think hiring more workforce to compensate for the restrictions presented by the CMS is the way to go.
This is another workaround – a workaround that may be suitable as a temporary solution but not a long term one.
Long term, it wouldn’t be very cost effective. It also would not be an efficient use of time, or skill-set.
Lifting CMS restrictions is a necessary aspect of SEO.
And SEO, is simply the act of making improvements for a website.
SEO performance requires more than keywords and rankings.
When you’re dependent on your website generating revenue for your business, you need conversions.
When you’re dependent on conversions, you need traffic.
When you’re dependent on traffic, you need rankings.
When you’re dependent on rankings, you need SERP visibility.
When you need SERP visibility, you need crawlability.
When you need crawlability, you need your CMS to be optimised!
You cannot rely on workarounds as a long term solution for SEO.
SEO is a journey. It requires consistency. A one-off solution won’t provide the consistency needed for SEO to thrive and increase website revenue.
CMS restrictions puts SEO in a state where the point of SEO is shifted from revenue generation to streamlining operational work.
That state of SEO being busy doing SEO for SEO purposes, which doesn’t seem to improve the channel’s performance, is caused by blockages like CMS restrictions.
An SEO’s job is simply to make improvements.
A problem in SEO is that the improvements are oftentimes not geared towards the performance of the channel but towards operations that the channel performance is dependent on.
You want to influence great performance from SEO, aim to remove the blockages SEOs face.
Investing in the optimisation of your CMS is an impactful place to start.