According to Statista, businesses are increasingly recognizing the benefits of going headless, especially in the ecommerce sector. This isn’t just a passing fad. It’s a strategic move to adapt to the ever-changing algorithms of search engines. If you’re responsible for your company’s online presence, you can’t afford to ignore the impact of headless CMS on SEO. So, let’s get into the essentials you need to consider before diving in.

Headless CMS and SEO – is it different from traditional CMS?

Unlike traditional CMS platforms, which come with a predefined front-end presentation layer, headless CMS separates the content repository from the presentation. This gives you more flexibility but also places greater responsibility on your team to manage SEO elements like meta tags, meta descriptions, and internal links manually. It’s a double-edged sword – more control but also more complexity.

Features in headless that can boost your search engine optimization

Now that we’ve established the fundamental differences let’s move on to how headless CMS can actually give your SEO efforts a leg up.

Lack of SEO-plugin support

In a traditional CMS like WordPress, you have a plethora of SEO plugins to choose from. However, when it comes to headless CMS, the story is different.

There are no dedicated SEO plugins or applications.

Developers can use pre-built packages tailored to their framework, often found on platforms like GitHub. These packages can assist in generating structured content, but they are not plug-and-play solutions like you’d find in WordPress. This means you’ll need a more hands-on approach to SEO, but it also offers a level of customization that’s hard to match. For more on this, check out Shopify Headless Development.

Higher website security

Safety is a big deal when it comes to your website and SEO. Search engines like Google have rules about showing only safe and trustworthy websites to users. A headless CMS is designed to be more secure because it keeps the content separate from how it looks on the web page. This makes it harder for hackers to mess with your site. As well as keeping your data safe, being secure helps your website rank better in search engine results. Google itself has stated that security is a ranking factor.

Improved page speed

Nobody likes waiting for a slow website to load, and search engines like Google feel the same way. Slow websites can make people leave, and that’s not good for your SEO. A headless CMS is built to be fast, which helps your web pages load quicker. This speed is important for something called Core Web Vitals, a set of measurements Google uses to see how user-friendly your website is.

And again, according to Google, faster websites provide a better experience for visitors, which can help your website rank higher in search engine results pages.

an illustration showing 3 people working together

Best practices in SEO for headless CMS

Going through all of the nuances of headless CMS SEO can be a bit like walking a tightrope. On one hand, you have more control over your content and how it’s presented. On the other, the technical aspects can get complex, and you might find yourself missing the SEO plugins and features that come with traditional CMS platforms. Some of these SEO practices can be advanced, so having a reliable partner can make all the difference. For specialized help, consider services like Shopify SEO Services.

And, on top of that, feel free to follow our advice below.

Understand the role of headless content delivery network

A content delivery network makes your website faster by storing copies of your site in different places. When your site is faster, people like using it more, and it performs better online.

So, if you’re using a headless CMS, adding a good content delivery network can really help your website perform better. It also takes some load off your main server, making it more reliable, and all the features more stable.

This is a simple yet effective way to improve both user experience and your site’s SEO.

Implement intuitive website structure and product categorization

Think of your website as a well-organized library. If books are randomly placed, no one can find what they’re looking for, right?

The same goes for your website.

A well-structured site helps search engine crawlers index your content effectively. So, what’s the action plan? Map out your site structure, use your headless CMS’s content modeling features, and categorize your products logically.

Don’t forget to sprinkle in relevant keywords in product titles and descriptions. This isn’t just for the search engines (although it doesn’t hurt them either). It also makes for a better user experience, which can lead to higher conversion rates.

Make a field to create SEO-friendly URLs

Customizable URLs guide both users and search engines. In a headless CMS, you have the freedom to create URLs that aren’t just strings of numbers and letters but actually tell you something about the content of the page.

How do you make customized URLs actionable? Use your headless CMS to customize URLs with relevant keywords. Test these out to make sure they’re user-friendly and make sense to search engines.

The main mistake here is that people treat it as a “set it and forget it” task. However, you need to keep refining your URLs based on performance data and user behavior.

Fill out and validate the key meta tags

Meta tags are like the seasoning in a well-cooked meal – they might be small, but they add significant flavor. In SEO terms, they help search engines understand your content. You need to roll up your sleeves and get into the nitty-gritty details of your headless content management system.

  • Manually fill out the title tags and meta keywords. You can get inspired in Google Search Console if you’re not 100% sure what to put in a title tag field.
  • Use built-in validation rules to make sure you’re doing it right.
  • Don’t overlook open graph tags for social sharing and canonical URLs to avoid duplicate content issues.

Each of these elements plays a role in how your web pages perform in organic search results, so give them the attention they deserve.

Internal linking through recommended products

You know when you’re shopping online, and you see a “You might also like” section? That’s not only beneficial to sales but also to SEO. Internal linking helps guide users through your site and gives search engines an idea of the site structure.

Here’s your task: use your headless CMS to add links to recommended products on each product page. Make sure the anchor text is relevant and naturally fits into the content. This isn’t just a nice-to-have in 2024 – it actually is a must-have for your SEO strategy. It helps distribute page authority across your site and can be a significant driver of organic traffic.

Design your XML sitemap the right way

An XML sitemap is essentially your website’s table of contents for search engines. You can use it as a tool to help search engines like Google understand which pages you deem important. So, get into your headless CMS and generate an XML sitemap that includes your essential web pages.

Once that’s done, upload it to Google Search Console.

Keep this sitemap updated. If you add or remove pages, your sitemap should reflect those changes. This ongoing task can have a direct impact on how your site ranks in search results.

Use structured content for schema markup

Schema markup helps search engines understand the specifics of your content. It’s code that goes on your site, but it’s not as complicated as it sounds. Your headless CMS can help you add this structured data to your pages. This could be details about a product, reviews, or FAQs.

The more you can tell search engines about your content, the better they can present it to searchers. This isn’t a quick fix – more of a long-term strategy that can improve your site’s search performance.

Pay attention to heading hierarchy

Headings help break up your content, but they also serve an SEO purpose. They help search engines figure out what your content is about. So, when you’re adding content to your headless CMS, use a logical heading structure. 

Start with an H1 for your main title, then go to H2s, H3s, and so on for subheadings. And don’t just stuff them with keywords; make sure they make sense to anyone reading them. This is good for both SEO and user experience. 

It’s a simple but effective way to make your content more accessible and improve its performance in search results.

Optimize for mobile devices with headless CMS

A headless CMS offers the flexibility to tailor content for various screen sizes. Google factors mobile-friendliness into its rankings, making it crucial to adjust your site’s mobile appearance within the CMS.

Use the preview features to see how your site looks on mobile and make real-time changes to improve user experience, which in turn boosts your SEO results.

Implement server-side rendering for speed

Speed matters, both for users and search engines. Utilize server-side rendering through your headless CMS to reduce web page loading times. Faster pages not only enhance user experience but also contribute to better SEO performance. Google prioritizes quick-loading sites, so this is a key action item.

Elevate content quality for SEO benefits

High-quality content resonates with your audience and ranks better in search engines. Use your headless CMS to craft compelling, relevant material. Edit metadata and update title tags to align with search intent. Quality content often gets shared and linked to, boosting your domain authority and search engine rankings.

Develop an internal linking strategy

Internal linking enhances user experience and helps search engines understand your site’s structure. Your headless CMS should make it easy to add internal links to related content. Effective internal linking keeps users engaged and helps distribute page authority across your site, aiding in search engine indexing.

By focusing on all these areas and taking these steps, you’re not just “doing SEO.”

You’re creating a more robust, more effective, and more sustainable strategy that takes full advantage of what headless CMS platforms have to offer.


Headless CMS comes with so many benefits, especially for marketing teams who want to stay ahead of the game. Sure, it’s different from the old-school, monolithic CMS we’re used to, but that’s a good thing. You get to customize your URLs, manage your content more efficiently, and even run better content campaigns.

If you’re a decision-maker in marketing, it’s worth taking a closer look. Need more help? Do you want to not only deliver content but also make it relevant, taking your traditional SEO to a brand-new headless SEO level?

Check out Shopify SEO optimization for expert advice.

So, why stick to the same old when you can have all these cool features with a headless CMS? Key marketing decision-makers already know how to proceed here. Join them!




Why is SEO important for a headless CMS?

SEO is vital for a headless CMS because it directly influences how your content ranks on search engines. Unlike traditional content management systems, headless CMSs give marketing and development teams more control over how they manage content. Such flexibility allows for customized SEO best practices, from meta description to title tag, so that your website’s SEO is optimized for maximum visibility.

Are there any potential SEO challenges with a headless CMS?

Yes, headless CMSs can present SEO challenges, particularly for those who aren’t well-versed in technical SEO. Since headless content management systems separate the content layer from the presentation layer, SEO professionals and marketing teams may find it more complex to implement features like meta robots or voice search. This makes it crucial to have both a well-defined content model and a strategy for link building.

How does a headless CMS impact site speed and SEO?

A headless CMS can significantly improve site speed, a key factor in SEO rankings. By using a headless CMS, you can implement server-side rendering, which reduces loading speed. Faster sites are favored by search engines and provide a better user experience. What’s worth mentioning here is that the application programming interface (API) in headless CMSs allows for more efficient content delivery across digital channels.

How do search engines index websites built on a headless content management system?

Search engines index websites built on a headless content management system much like any other site. The difference lies in how the content is delivered. In a headless CMS, the content and presentation layers are separate, allowing for more flexible and customized SEO strategies. It’s essential to ensure that your headless CMS is configured correctly for SEO, including proper meta tags and sitemaps, to make it easier for search engines to crawl and index your site.