Content Management Systems (CMS) play an important, yet low visibility role in how well content can be ranked on search results pages. With as many CMS offerings as there are SEO best practices, understanding how SEO-friendly your CMS is (and what you can do if it is not) is imperative to your success Analyzing Your CMS for SEO Friendliness Over the past few years, CMS have improved their functionality considerably, especially in the area of SEO friendliness. How does your CMS compare? Most now offer methods to develop clear and spider-friendly site architecture, custom titles and descriptions for each page created, valid HTML, alt-text for images, and search engine-friendly URLs. If your CMS does not offer this functionality, you might consider looking elsewhere. WordPress: While not a CMS by definition, it can be used as such and features a whole host of plug-ins to meet basic and complex SEO requirements. Some of the most popular include the All in One SEO Pack, Google XML Sitemaps, Breadcrumb BavXT, Image Caption and Permalinks Moved Permanently. WordPress has hundreds of SEO plugins worth investigating. Joomla: Better suited to larger sites whose purpose is to produce (rather than promote) content, Joomla has many features out-of-the-box which cater to the SEO conscious – both commerce and open-source. JPromoter is a commercial Joomla module that produces search engine-friendly URLs and handles metadata nicely. Another decent SEO module for Joomla is Heavenly Titles, which displays the title of the page or content item in a module position and allows users to apply custom styling. Joomla actually features over 30 SEO and meta data extensions on its official site which are worth a look including Title Manager, and SEO Simple. Drupal: The very popular CMS, Drupal, offers out-of-the-box SEO friendliness that is unmatched. That has not stopped innovation however; some popular SEO modules for Drupal include pathauto for creating search engine-friendly URLs, xmlsitemaps to ensure content is indexed properly, and nodewords which allows Drupal users to set custom meta tags and descriptions for specific nodes. Sitecore: You might have noticed that the three platforms mentioned so far are all open source. While these systems’ respective members are all active in adding enhanced functionality to the CMS environment, it doesn’t mean that each commercial grade CMS provider is not fully aware of the importance of SEO friendliness. Case in point, Sitecore. Back in 2007, Sitecore, a CMS running on the .Net framework launched an SEO module that could be integrated into its already SEO-friendly CMS capabilities. The module “embeds SEO analytics into the day-to-day CMS process, and allows keywords and content to be quickly adjusted over time to keep pace with ever-changing search pattern rules.” The module lets marketers see how the search engines will view the website, identifies incoming links, helps optimize for keyword combination-density-placement and even provides at-a-glance reports of image and linking errors. The system even goes as far as alerting users if fields such as alternate text, description or other meta values are not complete.