Other than your product catalog, probably the most important thing on your website is your content. It gets people with no clue about who you are to hang around on your website, learn about your company, and potentially find out what products you have to offer that they might be interested in.
But the only way they’ll read your content is if they can find it to begin with — and with , that’s a difficult task. If you want to make money with your website, you must drive organic traffic through search engines, and the only way to do that is with good search engine optimization (SEO) practices.
A content management system (CMS) will help you do many things well to ensure a steady stream of content on your site, but if you’re focused on SEO, eight platforms we’ve reviewed are particularly good for this task.
8 best content management systems for SEO:
What to look for in a great content management system for SEO
Content management platforms offer lots of great CMS features, but one thing they’re not universally good at is SEO. Some of them focus on your website structure and its ability to crawl and rank with search engines, while others aim to improve your ability to optimize content. If SEO is what you’re most concerned about for your business website, look for these three elements in a CMS platform.
1. Page optimization
At the heart of any good CMS system — especially when it also helps you design the website itself and not just manage the content — is the ability to create SEO-friendly pages and formats. If you're designing your site, look for a solution that can create HTML pages that search engines can easily crawl or that can create SEO-friendly permalinks.
This is especially important if you aren't personally knowledgeable in SEO. Little things like making sure the structure of your site is SEO-friendly can make all the difference.
2. SEO tools
It's also helpful if the platform has lots of extra tools and features that can help you strengthen your website's SEO. Some platforms provide their own tools, while others include access to third-party features you can take advantage of.
3. SEO support
Customer support in the area of SEO is especially important if you're totally new to the idea of SEO, or you just don't trust your own expertise. A platform that offers some personalized coaching or other types of assistance is a big plus and will allow you to focus on other things.
Our top 8 picks for content management systems for SEO
The Blueprint has reviewed a lot of great CMS platforms, but if you’re specifically looking for one that excels in SEO functions, here are the eight best to choose from.
1. WordPress CMS
WordPress is one of the top dogs in the website-hosting world, and its SEO-friendly CMS platform shines in this area. WordPress is uniquely designed for the task of SEO, creating HTML pages that are easily read by search engines as well as permalinks. It handles a lot of the backend stuff so you can focus on your content, and it also offers free integrations with additional SEO tools.
Who it’s best for: WordPress’s SEO tools are extensive and powerful, and you have more than a few integrations to choose from. As a result, it’s better for someone who is relatively experienced in SEO who wants to use more advanced tools to get to the next level.
2. HubSpot CMS
HubSpot is a user-friendly CMS perfect for the SEO newbie by taking care of analyzing pages and providing personal coaching. With this software, you can take its advice and constantly tweak the website to improve how you rank in search engines as you build your library of content.
Ranking well takes a lot of work and experimentation, so it helps to have experienced professionals virtually holding your hand through the process.
Who it’s best for: HubSpot is ideal for those who need a lot of hand-holding in making their websites SEO-optimized. Personal coaching and page analysis will help you fix any SEO problems with your website.
3. GoDaddy Website Builder
GoDaddy offers SEO tools through its Websites + Marketing service. By clicking on a drop-down menu, you can access an SEO wizard that suggests keywords and phrases and automatically populates your site with the proper titles and meta tags. You'll still need a decent amount of SEO knowledge to get the most out of it, but that gives you a head start.
Who it’s best for: GoDaddy is also good for newbies, although it goes the self-help route. Even though it’s not personal coaching, the SEO wizard makes it easy to go through the process of optimizing your site for search engines.
Drupal offers the SEO Tools module, which helps with reporting, analysis, and optimization. The dashboard has analytics tools to show how you're performing and give you ideas on how to tweak your SEO practices to get more favorable rankings. You'll be able to manage auto-linking, reports, tagging, keyword extraction, and more through this module.
Who it’s best for: As an open-source CMS, Drupal is a platform better suited to tech-savvy individuals, and that applies to its SEO tools as well. If you’ve got some experience and like to customize, Drupal is an ideal choice.
Weebly offers helpful content to assist SEO beginners, including an SEO checklist you can keep at the ready to make sure you’re doing everything right when creating your website and populating it with content. The Ultimate SEO Guide is split into four sections: getting started, keyword research, growth, and tracking. With this guide, you can come up with your own comprehensive SEO plan.
Who it’s best for: With its extensive SEO guide starting with the basics and progressing toward more advanced concepts, Weebly is great for those who are brand-new to SEO but are eager to learn.
Wix is known for its simple platform that helps anyone make a website from scratch that is clean and professional-looking, but it also has SEO tools. Wix assists with ranking in search engines by making the sites load quickly, helping you optimize it for mobile, and getting the site listed in Google within a minute. Some advanced SEO features include a robots.txt editor, SEO patterns, and structured data.
Who it’s best for: Wix is meant for people who don’t have a lot of coding experience, so its SEO tool is geared more toward those who want the platform to do a lot of the SEO work. The site does a lot of things on its end that will improve your ranking so you don’t have to do much at all except focus on keywords.
Like Wix, Squarespace is known for helping businesses create their own websites from nothing. It also includes some SEO-friendly features to help your site rank, such as an automatically generated sitemap, SSL certificates, automatic tagging, and clean URLs.
These are the basics that will make sure search engines won't penalize you for missing a meta tag or something else. However, you can also use the Search Keywords panel to find keywords that are driving traffic.
Who it’s best for: Squarespace automatically handles a lot of behind-the-scenes SEO tasks so you can focus on the content, but it also lets you research keywords, so it’s good for those who want basic SEO functions but don’t need anything too overwhelming.
Kentico's Xperience platform is focused on increasing traffic through superior SEO tactics. That includes the automatic creation of URLs friendly to web crawlers, optimized HTML code, and compliance with critical web standards. SEO tools can be accessed through the "settings" tab of the Kentico dashboard.
Who it’s best for: Kentico is for those who really want to take advantage of advanced SEO functions. It boasts powerful features that may be a little complex for some, but it will get the job done.
You need an SEO plan
Good SEO is a key part of effective website management. A CMS for small business offers tools to help you out, but you can’t rely on it completely — you must educate yourself about SEO.
Software tools can’t create an SEO strategy for you, let alone one that fits your business plan. Start the ball rolling to draft your own plan based on what you know about your business needs.
First, ask yourself some questions about what kind of search traffic you're going for. Should you appeal to a widely dispersed audience or focus on local SEO? How much time should you spend weekly on keyword research? How much additional website traffic do you need to achieve your goals?
Next, read up on SEO best practices. Take a look through your website and see if your content and your website structure reflect these best practices. Then draw up a plan for how you can improve in the future.