Let me ask you something – when was the last time you optimised your CMS?
I’m not talking about regular updates by the Dev team, I’m talking about improvements with the involvement of SEO.
When was the last time you carried out this work?
It’s been a while since I spoke about CMS optimisation but it’s a part of your website optimisation that should be considered with other SEO-related pieces of work.
It’s optimisation for your site, carried out on the infrastructure of your site – your CMS.
So, why do you need to optimise your CMS – from an SEO point of view?
Well, have you had your SEOs talk about limitations, or restrictions, or workarounds they have to go through just to optimise the site?
There’s a high chance that this would be because of the state of your CMS.
You see, most CMSs are built without the involvement of SEO.
And this is for various reasons, especially if your CMS is custom-built – it most likely would not have had an SEO engaged with for the development of it.
As such, your CMS would most likely cause issues for the optimisation of your website.
And the issues would most likely be ones that affect more than one department.
For example, let’s say you have a tech audit carried out.
One of the findings is that your pages do not contain any canonicals – self-referencing ones.
The recommendation here is, of course, to have this tag on pages.
This rec is passed onto your Web Editors to carry out. They report back saying this functionality isn’t available in the CMS.
Before they’re able to apply this rec, Devs are required to create and enable this function.
Unfortunately, they are maxed out for the next 3 months. They’re not able to work on this update but this is something they can hard code on the site. They can do this quicker – as a workaround.
This is something they can hardcode within the next 2 weeks.
Seems like a good idea – it’s certainly quicker.
However, this workaround could lead to more problems for SEO, down the line.
If SEO are not aware of how this rec would be implemented, and it is just left to Devs to carry out, they 100% will misinterpret the recommendation, and create more SEO-related problems than the recommendation was supposed to resolve. 100%.
And no one will be aware of the newly created problems until after it’s been created – you gotta love SEO!
Resolving these new problems will require more of SEOs’ time as well as Devs, and possibly also, Web Editors.
Workarounds, oftentimes requires more planning, more work than initially thought.
This is the case especially when the workaround arises due to a limitation in the CMS.
If SEOs were only engaged with for the improvements of the CMS, a lot of pain could be avoided.
Relying on workarounds and/or a manual process to make up for the limitations of your CMS is not a very effective way of managing the asset that is your website.
You know, there are businesses out there that have their websites on CMSs that are unable to auto-generate an XML sitemap.
I say this often because I’ve come across a few businesses with this problem.
Rather than investing in the development of their CMS, they rely on the manual creation of the XML every so often.
This is insane.
Having and running a digital business on an inept CMS is an unfortunate way of regarding one’s business.
You see, the optimisation of your website goes well beyond the optimisation ON your website.
This is one of the many reasons why SEO is so beautifully fascinating.
Sometimes, to optimise your website, you have to optimise off of your website.
You have to optimise the infrastructure of your website, your CMS.
Yes, improving your CMS is a part of your website optimisation. It’s a part of your SEO.
Without it, what you end up having is a system which isn’t geared up to facilitate your success in the SERPs.
And it will absolutely affect you in the SERPs. Why?
Because it will impact your site’s ranking ability.
If your CMS has limitations, is unstable or damn-right inept, it’ll hinders your website’s ability to rank in the SERPs.
You wanna know what success with your SEO is?
It’s removing the barriers, the blockages, that prevent you from realising success with your SEO.
Think about this for a moment…
Most CMSs are built without SEO involvement.
When SEOs are engaged with, the goal should be to optimise, to improve your CMS, eliminating the hindrances that are, and could, be negatively impacting your SEO.
It’s tackling any issues that could hold back your SEO.
It’s doing so efficiently enough and consistently enough, ahead of your competitors who’ll be facing the same set of problems with their CMSs.
As I mentioned in the last podcast, SEO is a game of who can make improvements, quicker.
Let’s take canonicals, again, as an example.
This tag was introduced around 2009, or so.
Prior to 09, this tag wasn’t a thing in search. Your CMS didn’t need to have this functionality.
Post its introduction, however, if you hadn’t updated your CMS to cater for this tag, your SEO would have been affected. Negatively.
If your competitors had updated their CMSs to cater for this functionality, their SEO would have had an advantage over yours.
The ranking ability of their websites would have improved. Why?
Because they would have been communicating to Google (and other search engines) better than you.
They would have been providing clearer instructions to search engines.
They would have been making it easy for search engines whilst you made it less-easy by not having this, very important, signalling tag.
The same logic can be applied to other ranking signals. It can be applied to page speed, hreflang tag, SSL, the same logic can be applied to any ranking signal that search engines release to influence website owners to improve their websites.
So if it’s been awhile since you last optimised your CMS, consider actioning this as a project. Consider actioning this project in a timely manner. Consider your competitors, facing the same set of issues as you, and how much streamlined they’ll be with their SEO when they improve their CMS and you do not.