A guide to the best CMS for SEO

Stuart Cooke, founder of Levity Digital, examines the SEO features of the most popular website builders and CMS.

website design

So, you need to build a website? Thanks to the huge range of website builders and tools out there nowadays, you don’t need to be an expert to create an attractive and functional site.

The problem is, making a beautiful website isn’t the end of the line, more needs to be done if you hope to grow your audience and start driving traffic to your webpages.

Search engine optimisation (SEO) plays a huge part in making this happen and as such, is something you need to consider in the early stages of your website journey. The good news is, the creators of most of these web builders are aware of the importance of SEO in creating a successful site and have therefore designed these platforms with optimisation in mind.

But with so many platforms to choose from it can be difficult to decide which is best for you. Each web builder has its own merits and can be beneficial in different ways depending on the type of site you’re building and what it will be used for. To help you decide which platform is going to be right for you and help you to boost your SEO efforts (particularly if you’re new to search engine optimisation and are looking for a bit more support), we’ve put together the following guide of five of the best CMS’s out there, to help you choose.

1. WordPress

First on the list is WordPress – this is a firm favourite with many bloggers and businesses looking for fun, functional websites that they can create themselves. It has some great features to help support with SEO, including the Yoast Plugin which, using a traffic light system, assesses how search-engine-friendly your site is, giving tips on how to make it better and letting you include your keywords in your text and meta titles easily.

And there’s more good news, the basic version of the site is completely free to use. This comes with the SEO features listed below, but if you want to invest in a more advanced plan you’ll get extra features and greater control over your search engine optimisation efforts.

Perfect for: Those who are hands-on and can easily get to grips with the builder and the additional SEO tools/plugins.

SEO features included in this builder:

SEO plugins

Customisable meta titles

Image alt attributes

Social media integration

SEO specific app

2. Wix

Even more simple than WordPress is Wix. This is essentially the drag and drop solution to building your own website. The platform is particularly great for beginners because there is no coding involved and SEO features are built-in, so everything is made really easy. The only issue is that advanced SEO can be harder on Wix as the built-in features give you less control, but you can install more elaborate features like structured data if you wish.

Just as with WordPress, there are free and pay-for options depending on what you want from the site, but as a beginner, the free version will be perfectly adequate. Wix even offers a training tool called SEO Wiz which teaches users the essentials of SEO and gives simple suggestions on how they can improve their site. The Wiz even sets goals for you, so you can feel like you’re progressing with your SEO efforts with real, measurable results.

Perfect for: Beginners and those hoping that the web builder will do a lot of the work.

SEO features included in this builder:

Customisable meta titles

Image alt attributes

Social media integration

SEO specific app

SEO Prompts when adding products

Keyword support

3. Shopify

Shopify is a hugely popular platform that allows you to start, grow, and manage an online store. One of the great things about Shopify is that is it connected to other important platforms such as Oberlo and Facebook, that can help to contribute towards the success of your eCommerce business. It also has a number of built-in SEO features and you can also install additional plugins for more control.

Another selling point for Shopify is that it is great when your business is just starting up. Thanks to the built-in SEO features and the nature of the platform, Shopify stores tend to rank better in search engines than other website builders.

Perfect for: Shopify is great for those starting out on their eCommerce venture.

SEO features included in this builder:

Customisable meta titles

Image alt attributes

SEO plugins

Social media integration

Keyword support

4. Weebly

Like Wix, Weebly is really simple to use and keeps all its SEO essentials in-house. There are loads of helpful features and plugins and you can even tailor the URLs of every page on the site to really boost your SEO and appeal to search engines. The built-in mobile editor ensures that not only can you check your site looks good on all devices, but it also ensures that it runs well on all devices too. Good site speeds helps to boost SEO, so this can make a big difference.

Perfect for: Those looking for an easy to use platform, particularly those who are new to SEO and web building.

SEO features included in this builder:

Customisable meta titles

Social media integration

SEO specific app

SEO Prompts when adding products

Keyword support

5. Magento

Magento is another eCommerce platform like Shopify but is in fact the most popular content management system (CMS) for e-commerce websites. Thanks to its scalability, huge brands such as Samsung, Levono, Nestle Nespresso and Nike all use this platform.

Magento has a range of SEO features that are customisable from the backend and allows users to add title tags and meta descriptions. The platform is free to use, though there may be a few additional costs for some of the more advanced SEO features. What’s more, it is predominantly aimed at professionals and those with a bit more experience in web building and SEO.

Perfect for: Those looking for a scalable platform on which to start their eCommerce business.

SEO features included in this builder:

Customisable meta titles

Image alt attributes

Social media integration

SEO Prompts when adding products

Conclusion

If you have a service-based business then I would recommend going with WordPress, it’s the most popular CMS for reason. It’s a little more complex to set up but it’s by far the most SEO compatible.

If you have an eCommerce business with a large inventory of products then I would recommend Magento, but if you have fewer products and a lower budget you may want to start off with Shopfiy as it’s extremely quick and easy to set up.

  • Levity Digital is a specialist SEO agency based in Northern Ireland working with brands across the UK.

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