How to set up an SEO-friendly Craft CMS website

garrett’s headshot By Garrett, 15 May 2019

Outside of general ease-of-use and editing capabilities, it's important to choose a content management system that has the tools and features required for your content editors to maintain an SEO-friendly website.

Craft CMS is used by businesses large and small, from mom-and-pop shops to large brands like PBS, Sonos and Netflix. Its easy-to-use control panel for content editors and elegant templating for developers make it one of the most powerful - and praised - systems on the market.

It’s important your team follows some sort of SEO checklist when designing (or redesigning) your website, and in this article we'll discuss how easy Craft CMS makes that process. If you don't already have a checklist like the one above you can start by downloading the Technical SEO PDF we follow.

Let's get to it.

Title tags and meta descriptions

Using the SEOmatic plugin you can maintain title tags and meta descriptions from a global level down to the entry-level, and everything in between. This ensures you always have fallback content while having the ability to get as granular as needed with title tags and meta descriptions.

There's also a SERP (search engine results page) preview so you can see how your page will show up in search engines like Google.

Editing title tags and meta descriptions with SEOmatic

XML sitemap and robots.txt files

SEOmatic will automatically generate a sitemap for each section of your website in Craft, and allows you to edit the change frequency, priority and more on a section-by-section basis. As an example, here's what the sitemap settings look like for the 'Articles' section on our website.

XML sitemap configuration with SEOmatic

You also get an out-of-the-box robots.txt file that you can edit and configure to your liking.

Managing Robots.txt in SEOmatic

Social media card settings

You can maintain social media cards for Twitter and Facebook in the same way you can manage titles and meta descriptions. You can configure them at the global level, but also get as granular as you'd like on an individual page/entry basis. This gives you full control over how your links look when you share them on social media.

Managing social media cards in SEOmatic

Structured data for rich snippets

Structured data allows search engines to gain a better understanding of your content compared to standard HTML tags, so they can rank and present data on your website in unique ways. SEOmatic has dozens of preferences you can configure for your structured data strategy. To learn more about structured data, visit schema​.org.

Managing Structured Data in SEOmatic

Ability to easily verify your website

Before you can start using third-party tools like Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools to track the performance of your website in search results, you'll need to verify your website. This is usually done in a more technical way by editing your DNS or uploading a file to your server, but SEOmatic allows you to verify from within the control panel.

Site verification with SEOmatic

Additional features

These are just a few highlights of the many features that come with using the SEOmatic plugin with Craft CMS. Other items worth noting are:

  • Managing tracking scripts like Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel from within the CMS
  • Controlling site name positioning in title tags
  • Local business info for Google's Knowledge Panel like phone numbers, price range and opening hours
  • Ability to manage Ads.txt and Humans.txt files

You can learn more about the SEOmatic plugin in the Craft Plugin Store.

Further reading