October 20, 2022

Headless CMS: Best Practices (Part 2)

Implementing a headless CMS can seem daunting at first, especially if you are used to the more traditional monolithic platforms. But now is a better time than ever to embrace new systems, as post-covid internet statistics show that 44% of B2B marketers have ‘completely changed’ their marketing channel mix since the pandemic began. If you follow the following best practice tips whilst setting up, you’ll ensure your headless CMS is a robust future-proof solution, ready to scale alongside your business.

If your goal is to create great omnichannel experiences, particularly through IoT devices, this is the best path for your development and marketing team.  But remember - there’s little room for error when web conversion statistics show that nowadays it only takes users about 50 milliseconds to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they like your site or not and whether they stay or leave.

Like with traditional CMS, there are SEO considerations that need to be prioritized to ensure your digital pages are found on search engine results. These frameworks allow your content to work seamlessly across different channels, synchronized and recycled where the outputs need to be pulled in.

So without further ado, here’s a list of important features that will allow your headless CMS to deliver better content across your omnichannel platforms and displays. Let’s dive in! 

1. Ensure you have fields for content modeling

With an array of different devices and displays, the content outputs required for each interface will be different. With so much content to manage, this can quickly become messy if frameworks are not set in place early on. Poorly structured content will prevent search engines from highlighting your content and bringing it up, even if it is relevant to a user’s search. 

To allow ease of use and content recycling across different platforms, outline your content types, and define simple relationships between each field or group of fields.

A content model for a blog page could be divided into the following sections:

  • Blog article title
  • Article description
  • Body text
  • Profile image
  • Author name
  • Author bio
  • Author credentials
  • Blog category
  • Related keywords

This level of organization is extremely essential if you want to dominate in your industry with high authority, valuable resources or your content strategies involve topic clustering. This SEO-friendly structure is key to improving your content visibility.

2. Customizable URLs

Well-structured URLs are imperative for maintaining clear site structure and ranking keywords. A great headless CMS will give you this flexibility by allowing you to create and change your URLs, whether it’s manually or automatically with your slug updates. 

Good practice for URLs are indicated by use of user-friendly keywords and moderate length. Ideally use relevant words that are searched by your target audience, rather than product naming jargon. 

Examples of poor URL

  • sample.com/product/chemical-405/v1

Examples of better URL

  • sample.com/essential-items/premium-hand-sanitiser

3. Canonical Tagging

Canonical tags are great for communicating to search engines which are the best pages to display. They inevitably strengthen internal linking, as they help more pages within your website rank better.

Located in the HTML source code, canonical tags are used to point out relevant URLs to search engines. It is important your CMS allows your developers and marketing teams access to edit this HTML within your header tag, to do proper canonical tags. 

4. Use a structured data markup

Schema markups (particularly at schema.org) have been essential to improving rankability of content in search results. These content markups and tags communicate to search engines the variables of content they have on a page. Schema markups for People, Author, Products, Events, Businesses and Video are some of the most common schema markups.

This pre-sorting technique makes it easier for search engines, like Google to process the quality and relevancy of content on a page and present the relevant content section on the first page of results, in highly-coveted spots (with higher click-through rates) such as: 

  • Featured snippets
  • Rich snippets
  • Knowledge graph
  • Answer boxes

Optimized content written for humans and not robots, is key to receiving recognition via Google’s recent “Helpful Content” update. 

5. Ensure easy access to metadata

It’s important that your chosen headless CMS platform makes it easy for you to access and edit your metadata, in your multimedia. Metadata is yet another method of attributing tags to your content and imagery to improve the accessibility of your content for people with disabilities and also the SEO usability of your content. 

Metadata information includes:

  • Page titles
  • Page descriptions
  • Image description
  • Image alternative text
  • Image title

6. Edit accurate meta-tags 

Similar to the importance of organized metadata for imagery, metatags are important for your unique web pages. Why? Because they communicate to search engines about what your content covers. Organized metadata translates to a more informative and relevant snapshot on search results, and increases the likelihood for users to interact.

Meta tag fields include the following: 

  • Title tag
  • Meta description
  • Meta keywords

“A thoughtful meta description is just as important as the content on the page itself. After all, it is the first impression and chance you get to capture your users’ attention. Simply copying and pasting the first couple headlines of your page content may not make sense or be as effective as intentional copy for that snippet”, advises Alice Khau, Content Lead from Neon Bright

7. Optimize assets and multimedia

Your headless CMS can enable image optimisation to be an automated process. It does this by automatically reducing file size of your imagery and converting .jpg files into WebP formats. As there are many smaller or responsive screens in omnichannel devices, it is important that images are optimized and compressed to increase content delivery.

8. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

When using smart devices and IoT devices, omnichannel experiences are expected to load quickly and be seamless. To ensure your brand can deliver these digital experiences to meet expectations, use a Content Delivery Network (CDN). 

A CDN is a system of individual servers in different geographical locations that work collectively to deliver content quickly. 

Through reducing the strain of the workload on each unique server, a CDN

  • Reduces network latency
  • Increases audience reach 
  • Improves output performance
  • Increases data integrity and security
  • Allows for quicker scalability


When managing so much content across different platforms, it’s important that your content is not lost, or duplicated unnecessarily. Although it may seem tedious, setting up accurate metadata fields, metatag descriptions and dynamic URL structures are just a few of the steps that will help you enjoy the real potential of a headless CMS platform.

Once you have a strong SEO-friendly framework, you can additionally add keyword-rich quality content and search-friendly URLs to deliver experiences that really fulfill your users’ needs and soften their pain points. 

The implementation of these best practices into your headless CMS engine helps ensure your brand content will be deployed seamlessly across your network of digital channels and devices. With one global touch point and the promise of a dramatic reduction in mundane editing processes, you will only wish you had made the transition sooner.

Author Bio

Irwin Hau is the Founder of website design agency Chromatix and Neon Bright, two agencies focused on web conversion; one on web design and the other in copywriting. Commonly known as the “Website Whisperer”, he also manages business strategy consultancy Irwin Hau, an independent consultancy that specializes purely in digital transformation and business efficiency utilizing custom web app technology and digital solutions.

Irwin Hau

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