You’ve probably heard a lot about SEO, the process of optimizing your website to improve the quality and quantity of traffic coming from search engines. In this article, I’m going to explain in detail how a headless CMS can help you improve your search rank.
Jozef FalisMar 31, 2021
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
A frequently discussed topic when choosing a headless CMS is whether it should have good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) support. My answer is yes, absolutely. SEO is a very broad topic, and unfortunately, many people think that the fancy YOAST plugin will solve their indexing problems in search engines. Extensions like YOAST are a great helper, but in the world of microservices, there are some services that can deal with the issues you’re facing more effectively. In the third article from the Kontent loves series, I will show you my view on SEO marketing and how you can make your website more SEO-friendly in Kentico Kontent.
Why content improves your rankings
First of all, we need to realize that content is essential in SEO. We don’t write content for search engines, but for people—we want to offer the best answers to their questions. Your page won’t appear as the first result in Google SERPs for a specific keyword if its content isn’t relevant. By creating quality content, we can influence metrics that help us rank higher in the index: bounce rate, CTR, # of backlinks, social media shares, etc.
Here in Kontent, we always base our content ideas on data suggesting what will help our audience and what answers they’re looking for. I recommend doing keyword research, but it’s always necessary to check what kind of context each keyword appears in. Take, for example, the term “Headless CMS”—a user who enters these two words into a search engine might be looking for the dictionary definition, while another wants to see a list of vendors offering Headless CMS. Therefore, search engines are moving more toward understanding the user context: someone who’s already googled Headless CMS is going to see different results than someone who’s typed the term into Google for the first time. So, understandably, it’s always necessary to define who we’re going to write the new article or page for.
The Internet is evolving and so are people’s searching habits, so we check various variants of each keyword using the SEMrush tool. There are several tools that offer similar functionality; in fact, there are many you can choose from. The reason why we’re using SEMrush is that it provides answers to questions that we’re asking when creating content—term searches, country breakdowns, keyword questions, and lots of other insights. When choosing the tool, we also took into account whether we could later integrate it with Kontent via the API and search for insights about the keyword directly in Kontent.
After the initial research, we write a first draft of the new article, putting in keywords that make sense in our context. However, an important thing to remember is not to overdo it—you should always keep the piece of content easy to read and not annoy the reader by stuffing in too many keywords. Then we continue in our classic workflow, and later the article is published.
SEO and Headless CMS from a technical point of view
Having a website that’s correctly implemented will improve your search positions a lot. And that’s where Kontent has an advantage as a headless CMS because, when you’re using a static site generator, the page is incredibly fast in PageSpeed Insights. However, there are certain principles that must be followed.
In Kontent, we can manage the following factors that affect the SEO rank:
- URL structure
- Metadata (title, description for search engines, and metadata for social networks)
- Correct and systematic use of heading tags (H1, H2 ...)
- ALT text for images
- Canonical tags
- Enabling indexing
Working on the website, we also focused on the following things, which our web developer later implemented:
- Responsive design
- Minification (removing all unnecessary characters from CSS, JS, and HTML)
- Structured data
Kontent offered us an advantage in implementing structured data, as we were able to use some data without having to create additional fields in the content type. For simple types of schema markups, we use Schema Markup Generator (Technical SEO); when dealing with more complex ones, we look at Google documentation and cooperate with our web developer. Nevertheless, the content of the individual structured data fields is already generated automatically for us.
At the end of August 2020, we implemented all possible structured data. As early as October 2020, we saw the effect of the implementation when, because of our SEO improvements, there was a 25% increase in visitors compared to September, and we appeared 20% more times in search than in the month before.
Thanks to technical optimizations for search engines, we can see an increase from October 2020 to February 2021 on the Kontent.ai website (compared to the previous period):
Headless CMS can help you a lot if you want to optimize your content for SEO. However, you should not forget that SEO can’t be turned on with a button and that it’s a long-term process in which creating engaging content for your target group plays a central role. External SEO factors such as link building and social media metrics will also depend on the quality of the content you create.
Check out other articles from this series: