When was the last time you optimised your CMS?
I mean, from an SEO point of view, when was the last time you made updates to your CMS with SEO involvement?
CMS optimisation is an under-spoken aspect of SEO that I think every marketer should bear in mind.
If you haven’t worked on your website in years this is a clear indication to an SEO that you’re behind on the search landscape – the search landscape of the SEO industry itself, not necessarily the search landscape of your industry – there is a difference!
You really want to optimise your CMS every year, as part of your housekeeping (or website keeping) work.
Here’s why I say this…
Google’s objective is what?
To organise the world’s information and present it to their users, quickly.
To do this they index, crawl and rank websites, right?
Well, part of having an optimised CMS means you facilitate the indexing, crawling and, possibly more importantly, the ranking of your website.
The more you help Google, the more you make it easy for them to do their job – to achieve their objective.
The easier it is for them to index, crawl and rank your site, the better they can determine where to rank it against competitors that also allow Google these three things – to index, crawl, rank.
When every website facilitates Google in achieving these three things, the difference maker comes down to who makes it ea-si-er for them.
The incremental difference between you and competitors matter a great deal.
In other words, everything else being equal, if your competitors makes it easy for Google to index, crawl and rank their site, and you make it less easy, they are likely to outrank you.
This is the case for every facet of SEO, possibly even more so with the optimisation of your CMS.
If, for example, your CMS is unable to produce and auto-update an XML sitemap, this is an SEO issue that makes your website’s ranking ability less easy.
Perhaps, not directly. But when you’re dealing with high stakes pages, where incremental difference makes a huge impact, yes, it does impact your ranking ability.
You’re making it less easy for Google to crawl your pages.
You’re making it less easy for Google to determine the more important pages to crawl.
You’re making it less easy for Google to ascertain whether your pages are better than all other competitors.
When you’re doing this, making it less easy, and a brand competitor is making it easy, consistently, who do you reckon Google will rank higher?
Everything, SEO-related, comes down to how your CMS functions for your website, so why would you not service it for SEO performance?
The incremental difference, matters!
They matter a great deal.
If your CMS doesn’t have the functionality to publish pages with a self-referencing canonical, with the option to override it, you need to have your CMS optimised.
Here’s why I say this, with this little example right here…
At some point in your SEO journey, you’ll realise that the incremental difference to help your website’s ranking ability goes beyond your website.
In the last podcast I talked about optimisation on a website level and optimisation on a people level.
Optimising your CMS as part of the improvement of your website is along this way of thinking, this approach to SEO.
Yes – you could quite rightly have an SEO person who continuously audits your website to highlight things like canonical issues.
You could rightly do this.
Or, you could have SEOs and Devs and Content Editors/Managers work together to find a better solution to ensure that all pages are published with self-referencing tags, unless overridden.
This would be an optimised way of having the 3 departments work together – as opposed to the SEO firefighting approach.
The approach where SEO uncovers issues, sends to the two departments to fix, and rinse and repeat – forever.
This isn’t the ideal way of optimising your site.
This is an indication that you haven’t progressed much in your SEO journey.
This is an approach used when you begin your SEO journey.
And even this approach wouldn’t be an ideal way of doing things – these days.
Because the cost of doing SEO is a lot higher now.
Certain functionalities required on a CMS, that were big deals 10 years ago, are standard now.
Your CMS being able to generate an XML sitemap is a standard functionality.
It’s one of the requirements of having a website.
It’s a must – if you want to attain traffic via organic search.
Anything less-than negatively impacts your website’s ranking ability.
What ends up happening is SEOs work to address this area of optimisation, this area of a threat to your site’s ranking ability.
As they spend this time addressing this threat, they ignore other, potentially more important, threats to your site’s ranking ability.
In other words, SEOs spend their time trying to avoid losing rankings as opposed to proactively seeking to improve rankings. There is a difference.
So, consider this…
If it has been over 2 years since you last optimised your CMS, are you proactively improving your SEO?
Or are you simply maintaining your SEO?
Maintaining your SEO with a status that’s 2 years old, or more, is an approach that’s way out of date.
Optimising your site with a CMS that hasn’t been updated in years is an approach that’s way out of date.
Having SEOs work on housekeeping jobs, isolated from other departments is an approach that is way out of date.
When you use such approach with your SEO and your competitors do not, who do you reckon Google is likely to rank higher…?