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10 Best CMS solutions for SEO in 2024

Discover the top 10 CMS solutions for SEO in 2024.
Katie Lawson

Written by Katie Lawson

Jun 26, 2024
10 Best CMS solutions for SEO in 2024

Search engine optimization (SEO), i.e., getting your content to rank highly in organic search results, helps get your business in front of the right people - and more of them. One study of Google search behavior done by the SEO company, Backlinko, found that 65% of searchers clicked on one of the first 10 organic links during their search session, while only 19% clicked on a paid ad, and just 44% went beyond the first page of Google search results.

If you’re investing in digital content, you want to ensure it has the best chance of ranking high in search results. SEO is common when choosing a content management system (CMS).

#Why is CMS important for SEO?

While no CMS will be a magic ticket to producing high-quality content, a good CMS can lay down the technical foundations that give content creators a head start with SEO optimization. The CMS you choose can have a big impact on SEO essentials like:

  • content structure and ease-of-crawlability by SEO bots
  • website performance
  • how easy it is to create content and manage metadata

Technical SEO optimization happens both in the backend setup of content and in the frontend delivery of the site. Not all CMSs handle frontend delivery, which can change how much direct control the CMS has over technical SEO.

  • Traditional CMS: The CMS handles both backend content management and frontend delivery, using a shared “monolithic” codebase. Content is created with a specific presentation in mind, often using templates. The CMS is responsible for website performance and frontend SEO factors like sitemaps and URL redirects.
  • Headless CMS: A headless CMS separates or “decouples” backend content management from frontend presentation. It gives content data a neutral structure so that the same content can be used differently across different pages, websites, mobile sites, portals, voice apps, and other channels (i.e., the “heads”). Headless CMS is designed to work with third-party frameworks for frontend delivery, so the CMS does not directly impact website performance and other frontend SEO elements.

Editor's Note

To learn more about the technical aspects of SEO, check out the guide to SEO best practices with headless CMS.

#SEO factors to consider in your CMS evaluation

Customizable SEO metadata elements.

Adding and editing elements like titles, meta descriptions, alt text, and SEO-friendly URLs should be easy. The level of customization needed will depend on your use case. For more straightforward sites, having a standard metadata template available out-of-the-box may be the best choice. Businesses with more complex needs, like multilingual sites or unique content types, may want more granular control over how metadata is set up.

Availability of SEO tools

Whether through native features, plugin libraries, or the ability to integrate with existing tools in your MarTech stack, the CMS should allow teams to work with the level of analytics, writing assistance, and SEO automation they need.

Ready for mobile and other channels

Google uses mobile-first indexing, meaning that the Google SEO bots predominantly crawl the mobile version of your site, and mobile plays a key part in search rankings. At a minimum, a CMS should offer mobile-responsive templates. A CMS that’s designed with omnichannel in mind can structure content so that it can be easily adapted to web, mobile, voice, AI chat, and any other way that your audience might search for information - now or in the future.

Support for high-performing site delivery

Businesses should be able to take advantage of leading engineering best practices for fast-loading, responsive sites that can handle peaks in traffic. With a traditional CMS, these best practices need to be baked into the CMS itself. A headless CMS needs well-designed APIs that work smoothly with high-performing static site generators or other frontend frameworks.

Best-fit for content creation needs

Ultimately, the best CMS for SEO is the one that lets content creators create the content they want at the pace they need. For some teams, working with templates and drag-and-drop editing is the best fit, while other teams will need more flexibility to handle unique use cases, workflows, and advanced user roles and permissions.

#10 best CMS solutions for SEO in 2024

The CMS market covers many use cases, from simple blog sites to complex enterprise setups. This list looks at 10 popular options covering the business needs spectrum.

Group A: Fully API-enabled headless CMS for businesses that need flexibility and scale

Headless CMS solutions built API-first from the ground up can deliver all content and functionality via APIs, unlike traditional CMSs that wrap monolithic legacy code in an API layer and call it “headless.”

Being fully API-enabled means, these CMSs support a composable approach to technology. Businesses can mix and match the functionality of different best-fit tools and easily add, change, or remove the tools in their stack as needed.

The flexibility of these CMSs makes them incredibly useful for teams with more advanced use cases, frequently changing and experimenting with content, and needing the ability to scale to different channels, markets, and user experiences.

SEO pros of headless CMS:

  • Complete control over how you define and manage metadata.
  • It can easily integrate with your existing MarTech stack and content creation workflow.
  • Able to work with leading frontend frameworks for high-performing web and mobile sites.

SEO cons of headless CMS:

  • Content structure and metadata are not provided out of the box, so teams will need some technical SEO knowledge to get set up.
  • Typically, business licenses have a higher price point than the simpler, out-of-the-box CMS solutions.

1. Hygraph CMS for multi-source, multi-channel content

Hygraph is a powerful, GraphQL-based CMS that helps companies unify content from all their data sources and deliver it to any channel.

With advanced tools for developers and content creators, Hygraph is especially useful for teams that use unique content types, work with large amounts of content data, require workflows with granular permissions, or need to efficiently manage multiple brands, markets, and channels.

SEO advantage: Hygraph gives businesses full control over how, and how granularly, they want to define and manage SEO data and provides advanced support for SEO image optimization. Here’s a look at Hygraph’s best practices for setting up technical SEO and an example of how to use Hygraph CMS to manage SEO metadata.

Potential challenge: Creating your own [composable content structure] (https://hygraph.com/blog/composable-content) and SEO data models can be complex. If all you really need is a simple website with a few standard content types, a more out-of-the-box CMS solution might be a better fit.

How we handle SEO at Hygraph

Image source: How we handle SEO at Hygraph

2. Storyblok CMS for marketers that want a visual editor

Storyblok is a headless CMS catered towards marketing teams, providing a visual editing experience that may feel more familiar to people used to working with traditional CMS platforms.

SEO advantage: Storyblok offers a native SEO app to get started, with the ability to customize and extend metadata fields as needed. Here’s how Storyblok describes the SEO features of their CMS

Potential challenge: With the platform’s focus on the visual editing experience, the developer experience can be less flexible than other headless CMSs on the market

Storyblok CMS for SEO.jpeg

Image source: Storyblok

3. Prismic CMS for a headless page-builder

Prismic is a headless CMS specifically focused on website use cases (including mobile sites). It lets developers build fast websites using Next.js, Nuxt, and SvelteKit frameworks. It is designed for website-specific content models, offering a page-builder editing experience for marketers.

SEO advantage: There’s a lot of flexibility in how metadata is structured and auto-generated for different page types and within the “slices” that content creators use to build pages. Here’s how Prismic describes the SEO features of their CMS

Potential challenge: It’s intended for marketing websites, so it’s not the right option for businesses with more complex needs like eCommerce, customer portals, advanced data integrations, or unique app development.

Prismic CMS for SEO.png

Image source: Prismic

Group B: Open-source CMS for a DIY approach with a low entry cost

The two main appeals of open source CMS solutions are that they’re free to use and that the code is completely open to customization, which makes them the perfect solution for many businesses with standard content needs. However, as companies start to extend an open source CMS to support more advanced use cases there is a sharp rise in cost and complexity.

While open-source code is technically completely customizable, the more you change, the harder it is to maintain. Adding or removing third-party plugins can cause a waterfall of errors across your site, and modifications made to the core parts of the CMS have to be redone when moving to a new version. This leads to manual, time-intensive testing and upgrades.

The cost of maintaining this complexity, as well as the cost of premium plugins and hosting services, means that open source CMS is no longer a budget-friendly option as business scales.

SEO pros of open source CMS :

  • Large selection of SEO plugins and extensions available.
  • Possible for developers to make customizations to any part of code.
  • Active open source communities for tips and troubleshooting.

SEO cons of open-source CMS:

  • Extensive plugin use can lead to reduced site performance and increased security risk.
  • Customizations make it harder to maintain and update the platform, holding teams back from making improvements or experimenting with new channels and content types.

4. WordPress CMS for WordPress loyalists

WordPress is the most widely used CMS on the market, so many content creators and developers are experienced with and comfortable using it. It has an active user community, a large library of prebuilt templates and plugins, and is generally regarded as more user-friendly than other open-source CMSs.

SEO advantage: many SEO plugins are available, with the Yoast SEO plugin being a popular choice. Here’s how WordPress describes the SEO features of their CMS.

Potential challenge: WordPress relies heavily on plugins, but there is no strong standard of code quality or compatibility that the plugins have to follow. This can lead to escalating maintenance costs, performance issues, and security risks as teams extend the functionality of the CMS.

Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress.png

Image source: Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress

5. Drupal CMS for custom development

Drupal is a CMS built for developers. It’s generally seen as the open source option for building complex websites and has a reputation for being more secure than WordPress.

SEO advantage: Advanced developers can completely customize the technical aspects of SEO, allowing for advanced use cases. Here’s how Drupal describes the main SEO modules of their CMS.

Potential challenge: Drupal has a steep learning curve, especially for non-technical users. It can be hard for marketing teams to create content and update the site without developer assistance, leading to bottlenecks for both teams.

Drupal CMS for SEO.png

Image source: Drupal meta tags module

6. Joomla CMS for the open source middle ground

Joomla is more versatile than WordPress, making it better suited for larger and more complex sites. While also being more user-friendly than Drupal.

SEO advantage: Joomla offers some native SEO functionality to manage metadata, search-friendly URLs and indexing rules, and a library of plugins for other SEO needs. Here is how Joomla describes the SEO features of their CMS.

Potential challenge: Taking the middle road means that Joomla often isn’t the favored choice for developer or marketing teams. Its prebuilt templates and plugins library isn’t as extensive as WordPress, and it doesn’t support as much customization and complexity as Drupal.

Joomla CMS for SEO.jpeg

Image source: Joomla

Group C: Out-of-the-box page builders for simple sites and shops

These CMSs provide a core set of templates and SEO tools that allow non-technical users to get up and running with minimal developer support. They are typically very user-friendly and can be a great fit for individuals and small businesses new to content management or large businesses that only need a simple web presence.

SEO pros of out-of-the-box CMS

Low barrier to entry with core SEO features ready out-of-the-box, no plugins or development needed. Typically, it has a lower price point than the more advanced, enterprise-ready CMS options.

SEO cons of out-of-the-box CMS

  • Lack of the ability to customize for more advanced SEO needs.
  • It is designed for basic content types and use cases. If companies decide to expand to new channels and content strategies, they will likely need to replatform to another CMS.

7. Shopify for standard eCommerce shops

Shopify is technically a commerce platform, but if you mainly create product and category pages, it might have all the content management power you need.

SEO advantage: Shopify offers SEO features tailored to eCommerce, such as URL redirects for deleted or out-of-stock products and a metadata structure that helps products look good in search results with aspects like rich text snippets, pricing, and customer ratings. Here’s how Shopify describes its SEO features.

Potential challenge: The platform isn’t designed to manage non-product content. When companies using Shopify want to increase their editorial content or content marketing strategies, they usually integrate Shopify with another CMS.

Shopify for SEO.jpeg

Image source: Shopify

8. Content Hub CMS for teams invested in the HubSpot suite

Content Hub is a CMS from HubSpot that was primarily designed to work alongside other HubSpot tools like their customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation platforms.

SEO advantage: HubSpot’s suite of marketing solutions includes great tools to help monitor content performance, including SEO software that can be integrated with Content Hub to suggest keywords and optimize content. Here’s how HubSpot describes the SEO features that can integrate with their CMS.

Potential challenge: Content Hub works best with other HubSpot marketing and sales tools. It’s probably not the right choice as a standalone CMS for teams not interested in other HubSpot software.

Content Hub CMS for SEO.jpeg

Image source: Hubspot

9. Webflow CMS for designer-led marketing sites

Webflow is built with designers in mind. It provides a visual editor that lets users create web pages by adding HTML components and changing CSS elements, then automatically generating code based on those visual designs.

SEO advantage: There is a native set of SEO tools that allow designers to manage elements like metadata editing, indexing rules, and redirects. Here’s how Webflow describes the SEO features of their CMS.

Potential challenge: Webflow is great for experienced web designers who want to make sharp-looking marketing brochure sites, but it is pretty specific to that use case. It’s not as intuitive for beginners as drag-n-drop CMS solutions, and it has limited features to support sites that use large amounts of content, custom logic, or eCommerce functionality.

Webflow CMS for SEO.jpeg

Image source: Webflow

10. Wix CMS for small sites that just need the basics

Wix is a drag-and-drop CMS with hundreds of prebuilt templates. It’s a very beginner-friendly option for personal sites and small businesses.

SEO advantage: Wix has an SEO assistant that gives content creators a checklist of tasks for content optimization and is a great resource to learn the basics of SEO. The CMS also automatically generates sitemaps, SEO-friendly URLs, and image optimization. Here’s how Wix describes the SEO features of their CMS.

Potential challenge: There’s not a lot of wiggle room for customization and scale, so Wix is not the right solution for companies that intend to grow their digital business beyond a simple website.

Wix CMS for SEO.png

Image source: Wix

#What other factors should companies consider when comparing CMS?

SEO is just one piece of the puzzle regarding CMS selection. With so many options on the market, it can be hard to know what to look for to find the best-fit CMS for your use case, especially for companies migrating from a traditional CMS, like WordPress, to a headless CMS.

We’ve put together the ultimate headless CMS selection checklist to help you identify your business's most important CMS factors and determine whether headless is the right fit.

Blog Author

Katie Lawson

Katie Lawson

Content Writer

Katie is a freelance writer based in Amsterdam who talks a lot about B2B SaaS and MACH technologies. She’s always looking for good book recommendations.

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