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I have had a fair amount of experience working on optimizing web sites that were built on top of some kind of sophisticated content management systems (CMS), and my first thought is almost always the same: man, I wish they had contacted me before BEFORE building the site. The very nature of a CMS works against what you want to accomplish with your site from a search engine marketing perspective. I’ve said it a number of times, but it bears repeating: you want to maximize content and minimize code. Unfortunately, when you are dealing with a system that has to flexible enough to accomodate all kinds of different content of different lengths, widths, and attributes, the code to make that happen is often very poorly optimized.

But if you follow our suggestions, you will be more likely to hire a company (and a CMS) that will allow you to effectively manage your content and also rank well in the search engines:

Look at examples of code generated by the CMS for other web sites. If you don’t have a strong grasp on what well-optimized code should look like, hire a search engine professional to do this for you. It will be money well-spent. If the CMS provider can’t provide samples of cleanly coded web pages, move on to another company.

Ask for a list of other companies who have used the CMS. Then search for their web sites in the search engines (by industry, not by company name) to see if you can find them. If they don’t appear in the search engine rankings, then that is a clue that the CMS provider creates web sites that are not search engine-friendly.

Ask the CMS vendor about search engine optimization. They will probably say things like you can insert keywords, meta descriptions, etc. That’s not what you’re interested in. You want to know if they really know anything about search engine optimization – listen for terms such as “keyword density”, “CSS”, “layers”, and “optimization.” Again, it may be very helpful to hire a search engine expert to take part in this conversation.

Call companies who have used the vendor’s CMS and ask about their satisfaction and if they are getting much natural traffic from search engines.

If after doing the above things you don’t feel very confident that the CMS will work well AND will help you establish high search engine rankings, then look elsewhere.

If you need help choosing a content management system for your web site (this needs to be done BEFORE you build your site!), call Work Media at 888-299-4837 or email Info@WorkMedia.net.