Headless CMS and SEO

Encora | May 31, 2023

Headless CMS is gaining widespread popularity as businesses opt for a CMS solution that provides more control and flexibility on the backend. However, a Headless CMS does not control how the content is rendered on the frontend. So, how do businesses ensure top search results with a Headless CMS? 
This guide to Headless CMS SEO lists best practices and tips to achieve SEO success with headless CMS’es. 

How is Headless CMS related to SEO?

Headless CMSBefore exploring the complexities of Headless CMS and SEO, here are two important definitions: 

A Headless Content Management System (CMS) is a backend software solution that stores, organizes, and disseminates structured content to any device or channel through an application program interface or API. Unlike a traditional CMS, a Headless CMS does not include a frontend webpage, referred to as the “head” of the solution.  

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a multifaceted strategy to increase webpage presence in organic search results and drive organic traffic to the webpage. SEO involves many techniques, both off-site and on-site. 

Just like a traditional, monolithic CMS, a Headless CMS solution also needs SEO to ensure the target audience can search for and locate the business’s content. To further explain how Headless CMS relates to SEO, it is essential to understand how Headless CMS and traditional CMS differ. When it comes to SEO, the most significant difference between a traditional and Headless CMS is the control users are offered within the configuration. 

With a traditional CMS, users can control the content and adhere to SEO best practices to the extent the hosting platform will allow. SEO tools may be built-in into the hosting site or available through plug-ins or add-ons. With a traditional CMS, users typically have to rely upon plug-ins to manage a successful approach to SEO.

In contrast, Headless CMS users have complete autonomy to configure the factors precisely as they wish. While it may require more effort during the development process, companies that use a Headless CMS can create sophisticated structures that enable search engines to discover and index content better than traditional CMS sites, provided, of course, that the Headless CMS is paired with an SEO-optimized frontend. 

Best SEO Practices for Headless CMS

The SEO plug-ins and add-ons that are commonly used alongside traditional CMS are less prevalent for Headless CMS solutions. Thus, Headless CMS users have greater flexibility and responsibility. To maximize SEO results with a Headless CMS, adhere to the following best practices:

  1. Integrate markup schema when appropriate
  2. Ensure your page is easy to crawl by properly structuring your website and data. Strategically integrate internal and external links, and use unique titles, descriptions, and headings for every site page.
  3. Add metatags as String fields to all of the relevant content models.
  4. Regularly audit your web pages to assess for performance, accessibility, and more. There are various tools that can help with this process.
  5. Optimize image size to enable fast loading times.
  6. Upgrade to HTTPS websites for additional security and encryption.
  7. Follow a search-friendly, URL structure.

Once it is time for the content and marketing teams to begin their work on the frontend, stick to the following SEO best practices:

  1. Create high-quality, original content
  2. Select and use keywords properly 
  3. Interlink content
  4. Integrate backlinks from reputable sources
  5. Follow on-page SEO best practices
  6. Encourage social sharing

How Headless CMS Supports SEO

Those who opt for a Headless CMS gain access to many SEO advantages, including these top three: 

  1. Flexibility - Headless CMS offers flexibility and framework-agnostic behaviors that allow for versatility and customization. 
  2. Control - Gives creators complete control of coding and content through the entire website lifecycle. 
  3. Performance - Headless CMS can strengthen the SEO foundation by enabling increased performance, optimizing across devices, and streamlining queries across a growing list of channels. 

Headless CMS, SEO, and Encora

Companies ready to take charge of the SEO for their Headless CMS solution can contact Encora for support. Encora is a digital engineering services company specializing in next-generation software, digital product development, advanced digital strategy, market activation solutions, and cutting-edge technology practices. Encora’s software engineers are well-versed and highly skilled in Headless CMS and SEO across a wide range of industries. Furthermore, Encora is deeply expert in the various disciplines, tools, and technologies that power the emerging economy, and this is one of the primary reasons that clients choose Encora over the many strategic alternatives available. Please reach out to Encora with questions or to get started.


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