Milestone founder and President Benu Aggarwal will be speaking on this topic at SMX Next on November 16. Get some pre-insight below and register free now.
Over 90% of digital content has NO audience, according to studies by Ahref and BrightEdge! As the digital space gets more competitive and content more congested, being discoverable on relevant searches is challenging for every business.
Simply useful content and age-old SEO hacks might not be enough to help you stand out on search engines. You need content optimized for an omnichannel digital experience backed by an SEO-first CMS. But what does a truly “SEO-first CMS” include to get you in front of your customers?
Search is always evolving
When talking and tackling the SEO or search landscape, the biggest challenge for businesses today is visibility in the highly coveted first few positions on search for a query. With the blatant shift of majority searches being carried out on mobile devices, customers now wish for a quick answer while on the go. To no surprise, 80% of online searches are discovery. That means that businesses have no option but to invest time and resources on building technical infrastructure to boost their SEO, and, in fact, 64% of marketers actively invest in SEO as part of their marketing strategy. Yet, despite all efforts, over 90% of digital content has NO audience. On the other hand, businesses need to stay abreast with the constant tidal movement of the search landscape, or in other words, the evolution of search. Search has moved from keywords to conversations, and contextual search has become the focus.
Did you know that 82% of searches are now discovery? This means that search engines like Google are becoming a source of information and solutions for users, and ensuring your page is delivering this information to the customer is core to SEO strategies.
Surprisingly, 45% of businesses face problems getting their pages indexed and crawled. This is due to a lack of information regarding the requirements to be discovered by crawlers.
With more than 50% of searches being carried out on mobile devices, a holistic SEO strategy needs to be created to target markets across devices. Grabbing the high-visibility positions on search is critical for businesses to drive engagement and conversions and as a result, businesses must invest time and resources in getting their SEO right. But there is a problem here. Most businesses implement their SEO post-site live and following SEO implementation. This results in downtime in visibility and search and a drop in engagement and potential revenue. Yet despite all efforts, 90% of digital content has no audience.
Components of SEO-First CMS
The short answer to this is a CMS that has built-in functionality to optimize your on-page and technical SEO. This means that a CMS needs to be found in the SEO guidelines and has the power to optimize its assets on delivery.
This plays a crucial role when a site is going live and post-site migrations. Based on research and experience, it often takes 3-6 months for a website not optimized correctly during migration to gain traction on search. This downtime results in loss of engagement with customers and the eventual loss of revenue to the business. To negate this potential loss, an SEO-first CMS covers the key SEO aspects a website needs to entail within its infrastructure itself to ensure traction as soon as it is live.
To encapsulate the various aspects an SEO-first CMS needs to take care of, we have narrowed down a business’s requirements into these 4 categories – with the goal of visibility to take businesses in front of their customers and reap the rewards in terms of its impact on revenue.
Here is where we begin to answer the problems that businesses face regarding visibility on search and staying abreast with the search landscape. An SEO-first CMS steps ahead of any other CMS in this regard as it can address the foundational aspects of a website with its built-in capabilities.
CMSes with basic authoring & publishing functionalities that get you jumpstarted with smooth-looking websites are great – BUT ONLY up to a point. If you are an enterprise, or a high-growth firm, soon your needs will transcend the above gorgeous-looking pages to quality-focused, high-performing pages – hundreds and thousands of them. And that is when you might realize that the same CMS will not match your requirement.
Fast. Easy. Scalable – these 3 must-have benefits are what you would be looking for in your CMS at such a juncture – to deploy powerful website pages that convert. To ensure that your CMS supports your business at such levels, here are the key areas that you MUST evaluate.
Last and perhaps the most important aspect of a CMS experience is around website conversion. This can be in the form of offers, form submissions, RFPs, booking engine and CRM integrations.
Let us dive into some key aspects of discovery, experience, engagement, and conversion
SEO-First approach makes sure you are discovered
By taking an SEO-first approach, you cover all basic SEO functionalities – meta data, URL setting, page linking, navigation/ menu structure, bulk 301 redirects, SSL, XML sitemaps, robots.txt, image optimization, JS CSS minification, server-side rendering. With the rollout of the page experience algorithm, websites are now judged on the experience they offer visitors, and this is a ranking factor. Along with the page load speed, websites are now judged on the load time of the different elements of the page and how long it will take for a customer to interact with the page – which is the core web vitals.
According to WebDev: “Core Web Vitals are the subset of Web Vitals that apply to all web pages, should be measured by all site owners, and will be surfaced across all Google tools. Each Core Web Vitals represents a distinct facet of the user experience, is measurable in the field, and reflects the real-world experience of a critical user-centric outcome.” Core Web Vitals are made up of three specific page speed and user interaction measurements: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).
Various optimization techniques, such as image optimization, lazy loading of images and videos, JS optimizations, and resource prioritization help you improve your Core Web Vitals score and your CMS should have support for this.
And then there are other factors such as mobile friendliness, security, and no intrusive interstitials essential for the Page Experience. While evaluating a CMS, do ask for the support the platform provides for page experience and Core Web Vitals related optimizations.
Best-in-class content authoring for driving digital experiences
Again, Fast. Easy. Scalable – these three must-have benefits are what you would be looking for in your CMS at such a juncture – to deploy powerful website pages that convert. To ensure that your CMS supports your business at such levels.
For example, A CMS event calendar that not only promotes your events but also ensures your business appears in searches for local events. A CMS that can manage event dates across locations can improve your relevance on search and drive footfall to your property.
Digital Asset Management is the backbone of engagement
Digital assets are stored content of any form – text, images, videos, music files, icons, animations, documents, etc. With the ever-expanding spectrum of channels available to engage with a customer beyond websites, brands today need centralized storage, retrieval, optimization, and distribution of digital assets via multiple media channels.
Centralized Digital Asset Management (DAM) are systems that let businesses systematically store, organize, manage, retrieve, and distribute digital assets providing a ‘single source of truth’ to the business while delivering a consistent brand experience to customers across all touchpoints.
With a DAM that connects well with multiple channels, you can now ensure that the latest brand video you have published, or an updated content of your business description gets seamlessly published not just to your website, but also to the business directories, review channels, messaging systems, and more.
One of the keys asks for any CMS is a 1-click publishing utility that lets you preview and publish content instantly on website: no delays, no codes, no additional deployment cycles – just a click (or couple of clicks) to publish – and the changes should go live and reflect on the website instantly.
CMS built for scalability and for Enterprises
When you are talking enterprise, you are referring to scalability. Considering that teams could be spread across the globe; you will have to focus on how you can streamline workflows, the speed of your content to market and the fact that you are reaching out to audiences across the globe and meeting their needs. With that in mind here are aspects to keep in mind with the goal of speed to market and scalability.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
When scalability and speed to market is the topic, nothing trumps artificial intelligence and machine learning. Inculcating AI and ML in your functions will help you speed up the process of personalized content creation, image tagging, managing your assets, SEO recommendations, voice commands and lots more. For example, think of a chatbot on your home page. Using AI and ML, you can train the chatbot to answer your customers’ queries with relevance, thereby reducing the support demand of your business.
Optimize for conversion with exclusive offers, and cart abandonment
When you have exclusive offers for your products you need to get the word out, and the CMS you choose should be your loudspeaker, it should allow you to manage special offers across locations such as limited time offers (LTO), holiday banners, offer coupons to drive a sense of urgency for a buy. Think about the fact that 80% of online customers prefer to make a purchase when there is an offer or discount.
Several times customers add items to their cart but do not end up hitting the ‘Buy’ button for some reason or another, following up with these customers with more attractive offers for their products can help with revenue recovery. A CMS that integrates a strong revenue recovery model can win back these high-intent customers, things like a follow-up email or a discount message before they leave the page can have some surprising effects.
Having an in-depth analysis of your online presence is an invaluable tool in this highly competitive environment. A CMS that can collect and deliver granular data about your online traffic and presence is vital to monitoring the effectiveness of your online strategy. Here are some touchpoints your CMS needs to meet to offer your business analytics across the customer journey.
Re-emphasizing, getting ahead of your competition is the goal and Having your SEO covered by your CMS is essential to avoid downtime in visibility on search and engagement with your customers following site live and through the course of the evolution of your business.
Milestone founder and President Benu Aggarwal will be speaking on this topic at SMX Next on November 16. Register now.