One of the most important things that people consider when looking at content management systems (CMS) is their viability in the SEO market. In fact, it's becoming so important that people are sometimes afraid to choose a CMS on the basis that it may not be optimized enough for their needs. To help fend off the confusion, we've put together a list of what we feel are the best SEO Friendly CMS on the market today. This list is entirely focused on open source systems and does not focus on commercial products.
MODx is arguably one of the best SEO focused CMS out there. What makes it different is that you do not need to make theme alterations to make a site perform well, nor do you require plugins. It's summed up best by the MODx team and holds true:
MODX allows you to control 100% of what is output with virtually no effort. Unlike other systems that require learning complex theming engines, in MODX you work with HTML and as many custom variables for the site you need. It takes minutes to build a site that performs amazingly well in Search Engines and because site builders are in total control and can change the output at any time, making tweaks is just a few clicks away.
MODx continues to get better and better with each new version that's released and it's no surprise it's gaining so much popularity. There is definitely a bit of a learning curve to get started but it's a great system all around.
We recently reviewed it (MODx Review) for those who want a quick look at this powerful CMS.
Concrete5 is a relative newcomer to the CMS space but has become increasingly popular based on it's ease of use and functionality. Concrete5 sites perform quite well in the search engines and pages can be edited to include all of the necessary metadata by default. Couple this with nice clean URLs and caching and you've got yourself a good setup for a successful site.
Check out our Concrete5 review for more info on this great system.
In previous versions of Joomla (1.5 and lower) I would have excluded them completely but since 1.6 has come out, they have turned things around and introduced a ton of SEO improvements. Search engine friendly URLs, custom meta data per page (section, article, etc) have made Joomla a force to be reckoned with. It also goes without saying that it must perform well otherwise their main site wouldn't have a page rank of 10/10 would it?
Check out our recent Joomla Review for more information on this popular CMS.
There is an incredible number of plugins that can be used to extend WordPress with regards to SEO. It's only fourth on the list because the other systems above it include these functions natively and do not require plugins. With the right selection of plugins and proper permalinks selected, WordPress is a true powerhouse when it comes to SEO.
Drupal, like WordPress, relies heavily on plugins (known as modules in this instance) to enable SEO functionality at its fullest. Drupal sites typically perform quite well by default but with the addition of the right modules, it too becomes a powerhouse.
Read our Drupal Review to learn more.
Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know your favorites and experiences in the comments below. We updated this article on 4/1/2011 as it had become rather outdated so please, do share your thoughts.
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Mike Johnston Author
I am the guy behind CMS Critic. When not traveling, I am based out of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada where I live with my beautiful wife and kids. I provide business consulting, brand management services, web development & design, and consulting (CMS, CXM). I can also be found speaking at conferences and am successfully enjoying life as a Canadian entrepreneur.