The Impact of Headless and Decoupled CMS on SEO Performance

The Impact of Headless and Decoupled CMS on SEO Performance

When deciding between content management systems, many contemporary websites must choose between headless and decoupled platforms. This decision will have a significant influence on your site's SEO performance, so examine all of the advantages and drawbacks carefully before making your decision. Our guide will assist you.

First and foremost, what exactly is a CMS?

CMS stands for content management system, and it enables people to update and interact with any website without having to comprehend the coding. It is an easy-to-use alternative for non-developers to deal with websites that utilize a CMS.

What Kinds of CMS Are There?

We will go through two forms of CMS, when to use them, and what the benefits, drawbacks, and limits of each are: decoupled CMS and headless CMS.

What is "decoupled CMS" and when should it be used?

Decoupled CMSs include WordPress and Drupal. They are referred to as "decoupled" because they provide extensions and plugins that allow them to be separated from their front-ends. There are, of course, benefits to utilizing and working with such a CMS. These are "off the shelf" options that are simple to implement.

Decoupled solutions are suited for the following applications:

  • Websites with a single page or fewer pages
  • Websites for affiliates
  • Websites using little Javascript
  • If you just have a few developers or a tiny development team,
  • Websites that are not related to commerce

There are several SEO benefits to adopting this kind of CMS (the most well-known being WordPress):

  • Complex SEO concerns are handled.
  • Sitemap generator XML
  • The file Automated Robots.txt
  • Yoast SEO is a plugin that simplifies several common SEO activities.

What is headless CMS, and how does it differ from decoupled CMS solutions?

Headless CMS is a completely new back-end content management system. Headless CMS makes content accessible on any device through an API (a RESTful API or a GraphQL API) without the need for a built-in, front-end, or presentation layer.

The term "headless" refers to the separation of the "head" (front end) from the "body" (back end).

Why is being headless beneficial?

The main emphasis of a headless CMS is on storing and distributing content and enabling editors to quickly collaborate on old or new material, regardless of where the content is presented: on a website, mobile app, or wristwatch. It enables any project's scalability.

Headless systems are suited for the following applications:

  • Large eCommerce sites
  • Websites that rely on JavaScript
  • Native mobile applications
  • When it comes to scalability and optimizing corporate operations,
  • Creating personalized and interactive digital material comes in handy.

Top SEO advantages of a headless CMS:

  • Improved SEO preparedness for many devices
  • SEO-optimized for omni-channel inquiries on PC, mobile, wearables, and smart devices
  • SEO-friendly headless CMS that supports SSR (server-side rendering).
  • Improved performance and CWV optimization options (core web vitals)

Client Side Rendering (CSR) vs. Server Side Rendering (SSR):

Google may crawl either client-side or server-side rendering.

CSR, or client-side rendering (it is termed client-side rendering because it employs the computational capacity of the client device), is a less expensive solution since it minimizes server load time. However, bear in mind the primary challenges for CSR. One disadvantage is that it is slower and provides a bad user experience since rendering JavaScript might add seconds to the loading time. Second, CSR has an impact on Google bots due to what is known as "second wave indexing" at Google. That is, bots will scan the HTML of the page first, then return to recrawl the JavaScript once it is ready, which may result in missing critical data or material delivered by JavaScript. Naturally, this will have an effect on your search results.

CRS Advantages:

  • Rendering is faster after first loading
  • Javascript frameworks and libraries to enable CSR

CRS disadvantages:

  • The initial loading time is lengthy.
  • This is detrimental to CWV optimization.
  • bad for SEO

SSR: The website's JavaScript will be rendered directly on the website's server. The advantages are that machines and humans will get results quicker! Because the pages are displayed on the server, there is no chance of missing important material, as there was under CSR. For these reasons, server-side rendering is better and more advantageous for SEO performance.

However, SSR is a more costly solution that consumes a lot of server resources.

Advantages of SSR:

  • Excellent for SEO: improved bot crawling
  • Initial rendering time is reduced.

SSR's disadvantages:

  • Expensive
  • a large number of server requests

Some remarks about Core Web Vitals (CWV):

Google highlighted the importance of Core Web Vitals in 2021. Google has made it clear that speed is vital and that it is no longer just about loading time (but loading time still remains important).

Google also values the reliability and engagement of the sites. CLS (cumulative layout shift), FID (initial input delay), and LCP (greatest contentful paint) are the three critical metrics to pass. Many fantastic CWV guidelines have been published; please read more here.

What are the best technical SEO practices for a headless CMS?

There are certain best technical SEO practices to follow in order to fully benefit from what a headless CMS has to offer. Most of these are handled by WordPress, but when developing a headless CMS from the ground up, you must handle these yourself.

The fundamentals:

  • Tag Canonical
  • Tag hreflangs
  • Tag for pagination
  • The SSL certificate
  • Description and meta title
  • Box of SEO material
  • URL structure that is SEO friendly
  • H1, H2s... are headings.
  • Alts and titles for images
  • Sitemap in XML
  • The robots.txt file

Excellent for top SEO practices:

  • Breadcrumbs
  • Applications for Structured Data
  • 404 page
  • CDN
  • Optimization of speed
  • CWV
  • Prepare for mobile SEO and think about omnichannel
  • Prepare for voice searches.

The Biggest Takeaways from the Headless vs. Decoupled Debate

Both headless and decoupled CMS have pros and cons, and there are times when either option is appropriate; it all depends on your requirements.

Before deciding on a CMS, consider the purpose of your website.

If you are constructing

  • an eCommerce, casino,
  • or sportsbook website,
  • a website that will require scalability in the near or distant future if you need to publish content across multiple platforms (website, native mobile apps, etc.),
  • or JavaScript-heavy websites...
    Choose Headless CMS.

If your website's URL is:

  • If you have a small affiliate website,
  • a website where CSR is sufficient,
  • a small development team,
  • or you need out-of-the-box SEO solutions,

WP or another decoupled CMS is the best solution for you.

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Hey, I’m Rachid. I’m a writer. I am a fan of technology, sports, and education. I’m also interested in entrepreneurship and design.

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