Reviewing popular CMS platforms for driving SEO performance

By Alex Burton
24th March 2021

In SEO, it’s paramount to have sufficient knowledge and experience with a range of different CMS platforms. Some platforms make the job much easier, and some definitely don’t!

Many platforms have built-in functionality to customise various elements of off-page and on-page SEO, such as XML sitemaps, meta descriptions and URL structure. Whereas others don’t but do generally have extensions that be added on to support with this.

CMS choice can come down to a range of factors depending on your business and your team’s needs, but SEO functionality should certainly be an important factor

We’ve outlined a few of the main CMS platforms we generally work with across our client base below and given a brief review of their suitability for driving optimum SEO performance.

WordPress

Probably my favourite to work with – WordPress is incredibly easy to setup for those with little to no experience of using a CMS. As the world’s most popular CMS, we work with WordPress very often and it’s not hard to see why so many businesses choose it to power their websites.

WordPress is free and open source, which means it’s continuously upgraded, and there is pretty much a plugin for everything that does the coding / tech work for you – for example, connecting contact forms with your CRM, connecting Google Analytics and automated social media posting.

It’s incredibly versatile across a range of industries and can be used for ecommerce websites as well as generic non-ecommerce sites. It’s also mobile-friendly which is a huge tick for user experience and therefore SEO.

This is the easiest platform for uploading, editing, and moving page content once setup – which means internal teams can have complete autonomy of content updates.

From an SEO perspective, it’s a top choice of ours – not only is it super easy to optimise any technical updates such as your metadata, but it’s built to provide a really seamless user experience – a key indicator for search visibility.

Most WordPress themes are optimised for mobile already, and it has plugins for site speed which help to compress any images or documents on your site to make it load quicker. Given Google’s Core Web Vitals update due this Spring, this is a real plus.

Magento 2

Magento is an incredibly powerful platform, and whilst it can be a little harder to use for those users with little CMS experience, it does provide excellent benefits for ecommerce sites in particular due to its easy product management (showing price countdowns, stock availability and upselling).

A key benefit we’ve found is that the strong performance of Magento 2 means it’s unlikely to breakdown or have functionality issues, obviously a huge plus for those big ecommerce sites.

This too is a solid platform for driving SEO performance due to its advanced features and the fact its mobile friendly, but there are a number of frequent issues that we find take a more manual approach on Magento 2, including addressing duplicate content and enabling search-friendly URLs.

Speed can also sometimes be an issue on Magento 2 sites, due to fact they’re usually ecommerce sites holding a wide range of products – but there are ways that your SEO team will be able to easily enhance this.

Ultimately, Magento 2 is a really stable platform for ecommerce sites whereby SEO can easily be considered – but you’d definitely need dedicated SEO specialists.

Shopify

Shopify is an incredibly popular ecommerce platform, due to its really simple interface and affordability. It’s very easy to use, even for a complete beginner with no website experience at all, and whilst customisation is limited – there are a great selection of themes to choose from.

The ease and cost doesn’t just mean its limited to small retailers though, it scales really well so regardless of number of products or volume of sales, your Shopify platform can grow with you.

In terms of SEO, Shopify does make it a little more difficult – and this is where you’ll need some specialist help. Tom detailed overcoming basic Shopify limitations in earlier in the year on our blog. Ultimately, you just need to address SEO slightly differently on this platform, but all quirks can be overcome, just with a tailored approach.

Overall, with easy integrations with third-party apps and secure and strong website speeds, as well as being mobile friendly, Shopify is a great platform of choice for ecommerce brands.

PrestaShop

Prestashop is an open-source, free ecommerce platform which again, can be very easy for beginners to use. With multi-language store and currency features, PrestaShop is also a good choice if you’re planning to sell internationally.

As an open-source platform, PrestaShop does require plugins and apps to make your site SEO-friendly. This means it can sometimes require a more hands-on SEO approach than some other platforms; as it can be all too easy to create duplicate content and it doesn’t make it as easy as some others to optimise your content, structured data or Robots.txt file.

However, for beginner ecommerce sites it’s a good choice, but you’d need some experienced SEO help is getting the site set up from an SEO perspective if you were looking to scale the business.

Planning a migration?

Migrating your site to a new platform can be a big undertaking, and it should never be done without SEO support – the last thing you want is for all your years of building up authority and visibility to go out of the window because some elements weren’t considered in the migration.

SEO performance is absolutely something that should be considered when choosing which platform to move to, performance can be optimised on most – but for some, only if you have the right specialist knowledge, so consider your internal or external resource carefully and choose the platform which best suits your set up.

If you’d like some free advice on which platform is right for you and your business, or how to optimise organic performance on your current platform, get in touch with our team.

 

 

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