Modeling SEO, Menu, and URLs in Headless CMS 

10 minutes
December 16, 2021

Thinklogic: Modeling SEO, Menu, and URLs in Headless CMS 

With the move to headless CMS taking place, it's natural to wonder if this has the potential to disrupt these fundamental elements of sharing online content. 

Is headless CMS bad for SEO, menus, and URLs?

The first question we have to answer is whether or not headless CMS is bad for SEO, menus, and URLs. We're going to hone in on that first point, SEO, since it's the most lucrative. 

Will headless CMS break SEO as we know it today?

The answer is: Not really.

As underwhelming as it is to hear, headless CMS and SEO can coexist. The reason many jump to the idea that headless is destructive to SEO is that several headless solutions don't include built-in SEO features. Conversely, an apparent majority of traditional CMS platforms do offer built-in SEO. 

The thing is, whether or not SEO is built into a system has little to do with how effective or ineffective that system is at gearing your content to be SEO-friendly. If anything, built-in solutions are more harmful as teams view them as the entirety of their SEO strategy. In reality, these built-in tools are just a starting point. 

Metadata is the future of CMS

Headless CMS prioritizes metadata. It's what makes it possible in the first place. Rather than focusing on the back-end or front-end of your content, headless leaves the front and back end to other parts of your team. Metadata is where your content teams will be working, and it's the language that will become the backbone of CMS (as well as make it more efficient). 

So what does this have to do with SEO? SEO is metadata. Just like you can specify other points of metadata tied to a specific piece of content with headless CMS, you can also specify SEO. You don't even need built-in SEO features because headless is so metadata-centric. 

How traditional CMS can be adapted to headless CMS solutions

Creating a reusable SEO structure with headless CMS

Most major headless CMS solutions currently available (such as Kontent) offer a content snippets feature. This feature allows you to create reusable content types (titles, descriptions, URLs, etc.) that can automatically be applied to whatever content you're working with. 

Well, this includes SEO! You can simply create an SEO content snippet, attach it to the metadata of your content, type your SEO keywords in the snippet, and then send it off to your various channels. The tech being used is very different from traditional CMS, but the interaction is virtually identical. 

Specifying menus as content is delivered

An element that is a little more difficult to get right is the menu. Menus are contextual to the page that they're on. So if you're going to include menus in your headless CMS, then you'll need to specify in the metadata of a piece of content. Luckily, this is something you can model as a content snippet as well. 

Vanity URLs are easy to define in headless CMS

Lastly, you have vanity URLs, a.k.a. URL slugs. As you might imagine, this can be accomplished just as easily as including your SEO. Create a URL slug content snippet, include it as metadata with relevant content, and fill in the field with whatever slug you like. 


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