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I work with CMS’s every day, and I’ve given some thought to a list of “must haves” that every CMS should have. The first one is SEO support.

Many CMS’s have 3rd-party SEO tools available, but this is so important that it really should be built into the CMS itself.

By SEO support, I mean the ability to set SEO metadata values intelligently on every page, including <title> elements, meta descriptions, robots, image alt and meta tags, and metadata.

Some CMS’s will allow you to set some of these values; Drupal for example allows you to set Page titles, alt and title tags for images.

While it’s great that this can be added to most CMS’s, there are two main problems:

  1. Since it’s not baked into the CMS, it doesn’t work in every case. In Drupal, for example, it doesn’t work well with views, which are used for many things on a large site.

    Since it’s not a first class feature, it’s up to individual module developers to determine whether or not this is considered a problem, so even though I can’t set meta descriptions for views, this isn’t considered a bug.

    If it was baked into the CMS, these things would not be an afterthought, and the developers could make sure it works on every page.

  2. It’s not optional. Unless you’re making an intranet site or just don’t care about traffic, these basic on-page SEO elements are necessary. For this reason, even though module developers may not consider it part of the scope of their work, it’s effectively broken without SEO support.

    It’s a bit like selling cars without an engine. It would be fine if you’re just going to use it for display, but that’s not how the vast majority of cars are used. Cars are used on the road, and need an engine. CMS’s are used on the Internet, and need to be SEO-friendly.

SEO support needs to be a first class feature.

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