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Why your CMS content model is your SEO secret weapon

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Search engine optimization (SEO) continues to be a critical marketing practice for brands. Yet as the volume of online content grows exponentially, succeeding at SEO has become more challenging. This is proven by the data, with 60% of SEO professionals in one poll saying that it is harder to tackle SEO in 2021 than it was five years ago. There are solutions to this challenge, however, and brands must come up with more nuanced, creative ways to succeed. 

Practitioners spend a lot of time doing on-page SEO, which formats content on the publishing end of the CMS. However, it can be beneficial to look further upstream and optimize your CMS content model for SEO. The content model helps to establish the structured data that search engines use to understand and prioritize different web content. 

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New approaches to SEO

To take SEO to the next level, it's important to have a foundational understanding of the practice (an absolute necessity in today's digital-first world). SEO is the process of helping search engines, most notably Google, better understand your content so they can determine where it should rank when someone has a search query. The main goal is to rank on page one, while ranking on page three or beyond ensures that almost no one will find your content through search.

Many writers are more focused on tweaking the words they write to improve SEO. They tend to be less focused on the ranking calculations and behind-the-scenes developer steps that help to boost SEO positioning and, ultimately, lead more people to discover your content.

However, the technology underlying the publishing process is just as important as the words and images that get added to a webpage. And while this technology should be robust, it should also be easy for editorial teams to maintain and use without always needing to rely on developer support to implement.

The role of content modeling

A content model is the process of implementing your site’s business logic, which includes identifying all the properties of the available content types. There are multiple content types, like articles, blog posts, pages and galleries. 

A typical content model should specify elements for each type of content, such as associated fields, field types, which fields are required, and how many characters each field needs.

The content model helps to organize a brand's content and streamline processes. It can also help to make content more visible to search engines.

Content modeling meets SEO

Most CMS content types include standard fields that you can fill out to improve SEO and rank higher in searches. It is important always to make use of such features. For instance, the headline and subtitle of an article should contain your most important keywords, while adding alts tags to all your images, for example, can further deepen any content piece's keyword relevancy.

It makes sense for editors to be able to define the content types for SEO since they are so close to the content creation process. Yet it's important to remember that editors aren't developers, so they need to do this without being held back by limited and complex technology.

With the Brightspot CMS, much of the upfront content modeling is done for you. The solution offers default data models for content types like articles, galleries and videos, providing access to the tools needed to best present content.

With Brightspot, it’s also easy to extend an existing content type or build a new one. For example, Google might decide to prioritize author bylines differently to preference local subject matter expertise. You can then extend the Brightspot CMS to accommodate the additional data Google wants to crawl, like author location, for example.

To help with SEO, Brightspot is set up so that when an editor enters a headline into the CMS, the SEO title and description populate automatically. The SEO panel, however, allows for customization so that publishing teams can write keyword-rich SEO metadata while retaining unique titles and subtitles as part of the editorial asset.

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Schemas and SEO

The responsibility for creating content models typically lives with technical teams or developers. However, the best solutions allow anyone who works on content to customize content structure in a way that’s advantageous for SEO with minimal additional effort. 

For instance, Brightspot provides the availability of Schema.org markup out-of-the-box. Schema.org maintains schemas for structured data on the internet, marking up pages to make them more readable to search engines. It's a very defined way to mark up the attributes of any given piece of content. Schemas help with SEO by injecting references about content type and focus of the piece and how elements are related, making it easier for search engines to understand. 

Schema.org vocabulary can be used with JSON-LD (a method for encoding data with JSON—JavaScript object notation—a commonly used data format for web development), which details entities and their relationships in a simple way. JSON-LD explains exactly what certain elements are on the page and how they are related through the schema.

Brightspot offers JSON-LD markup of content. For instance, it can denote FAQs, how-tos, videos and author information within text, since identifying these for search engines like Google can boost SEO. With elements more clearly defined for search-engine crawlers, it makes it easier for them to understand and index the material. Google tends to place articles that it can understand more highly than ones it thinks will be complex for users.

Brightspot makes it simple to work with schema. A user, such as someone from the editorial team, adds fields, headline and body, and all of these automatically feed into what the JSON-LD output is for that particular article, with little developer support needed.

Take your SEO to the next level

To succeed at SEO, it’s important not to overlook the importance of upstream drivers such as your content model. Good content modeling produces content types that prompt you to add elements that improve SEO. It also requires the ability to update and add content types that will improve SEO without being a burden on developers or needing to rebuild the entire model when changes occur.

Brightspot can also bring in schemas and JSON-LD to make it easier for search engines to understand your content and its relationships. This may seem complicated at first, but investing in SEO improvements can help your content have an even bigger business impact.

As the volume of new, high-quality content on the internet only increases, being prepared with the right tools to bolster SEO rank is what will give your business an edge over the competition.

Digital success means having a successful search engine optimization strategy in place. Learn the SEO essentials for your technical and digital teams with this free eBook download.

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