We Analyzed 10,000 Keywords – Here’s the Best CMS for SEO

The last thing you want to do is start a debate about the best Content Management System (CMS) for SEO.

(Especially on Twitter).

That’s why I decided to look at the data instead.

In fact:

My team and I analyzed the top 10 ranking SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) for 10,000 unique keywords to see what CMS is ACTUALLY the best for SEO.

Here’s what we discovered.

The Best CMS for SEO in 2022 is…

Not having a CMS at all…?

That’s right.

According to the data, 58% of the ranking results aren’t even using a CMS.

Best CMS

Even if the data isn’t 100% accurate, not having a CMS is still the overwhelming majority.

But if we remove sites that aren’t using a CMS, the results are far less surprising.

The best Content Management System for SEO is none other than… WordPress!

Best CMS for SEO

Anti-climatic, right?

Here’s a list of the top 21 CMS’s that are dominating Google’s SERPs:

  1. WordPress (45%)
  2. MediaWiki (9%)
  3. Drupal (8%)
  4. Adobe Experience Manager (4%)
  5. Ruby on Rails (4%)
  6. ATG Web Commerce (1%)
  7. SiteCore (< 1%)
  8. HubSpot (< 1%)
  9. Magento (< 1%)
  10. Squarespace (< 1%)
  11. Shopify (< 1%)
  12. Liferay (< 1%)
  13. Django Framework (< 1%)
  14. Joomla (< 1%)
  15. Laravel (< 1%)
  16. Brightspot (< 1%)
  17. Adobe Dreamweaver (< 1%)
  18. Salesforce Commerce Cloud (< 1%)
  19. Wix (< 1%)
  20. IBM Websphere Commerce (< 1%)
  21. Medium (< 1%)

How We Conducted the Study

Let me start by saying that this is by no means a comprehensive study, but there’s a big reason why we shut it down at 10,000 keywords.

Why did we only analyze 10,000 keywords?

We felt that anything more than 10,000 would be a waste of time because it wouldn’t dramatically change the results. We assumed WordPress would be the best for SEO because it’s the most widely used.

As we added more and more URLs, the results weren’t changing at that much.

It’s possible that a bigger dataset may alter these results. It’s just unlikely.

Where did you get the data from?

We create a list of seed keywords like “car”, “books”, and “travel”. Then we ran those keywords through Ahrefs’ Keyword Explorer tool and focused on the “Phrase Match” option.

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer

From there, we exported 50 keywords and the top 10 results for each.

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer Export

We repeated this process page-by-page. After we gathered 100,000 URLs from 10,000 keywords, we tested the URLs using What CMS’s API.

What CMS

Unfortunately, we could only copy and paste 1,000 URLs at a time, so it was quite time-consuming.

Was there probably an easier or better way to gather this data? Definitely, but we’re just happy we got it done.

Why is this post so short?

Because there’s nothing left to say!

WordPress is the best CMS for SEO in 2022.

The bigger idea here is to make decisions based on real data. Not people’s opinions.

There is one other thing I’m going to prove with this post.

I’m going to prove that you don’t need to write “1,800” words to rank in Google.

You just need to satisfy search intent, create a super valuable piece of content, and acquire quality backlinks. Notice how I didn’t say create a super long piece of content.

Length does NOT equal quality.

Watch this video (and subscribe to my channel) to master this concept:

Your Turn

Do you agree or are you surprised by this data?

Let me know in the comment section. Also, if this was valuable please share it with a friend or colleague.

Thanks for reading!

Photo of author

Nathan Gotch

Nathan has led 100s of successful SEO campaigns in the most competitive verticals like SAAS, health, finance, and law. He's also helped 100s of agency owners scale by systemizing their SEO. Nathan is featured on Ahrefs, Semrush, and Search Engine Journal and his YouTube channel has over 1 million views.

46 thoughts on “We Analyzed 10,000 Keywords – Here’s the Best CMS for SEO”

  1. > “But if we remove sites that aren’t using a CMS”

    Why remove the most important part of your study? You proved that static sites are superior and then you threw that result in the trash to focus on WordPress.

    You missed out on the fact that static site generation is the “new black” when it comes to niche site creation and blogging. Platforms like Ghost and Netlify are rising rapidly. You can build a superior niche site on an SSG than you can on WordPress.

    Google ‘donovan gatsbyjs’ to see what we’re doing with SSG’s.

    • We removed them because the study is about Content Management Systems (not static sites) but I get what you’re saying.

  2. You proved what we already knew. WordPress is the most popular CMS.

    Nothing in your analysis proved that it is better than any other CMS.

    It would be like if I said that the word “the” is the best word for SEO in your title tags because it shows up more often than other words.

    • I’ve got to agree with him here. Although I actually do agree, you’d probably want to include a comparison with some of the other major CMS players – in the context of plugins, performance, and usability(as there’s no best CMS, there’s just the best CMS for certain people and situations)

      Nevertheless, I thought the article was really well written so I enjoyed it. Looking forward to seeing more of your updates 🙂

  3. Hi Nathan, thanks for awesome research – valuable content as always!
    Wordpress was designed as a blogging platform and it’s most popular for sure, but has many disadvantages.
    How about Umbraco CMS?
    Umbraco is as popular as Liferay, but build over .NET, not JAVA.
    If someone needs a more flexible and business-oriented CMS for business, he should consider free and open source Umbraco CMS. It’s more secure, scalable than WordPress, clean and perfect for SEO.
    Have a nice day guys!

  4. Is the best cms for seo no cms at all? Straight html/css/js files? I happen to like this idea. WordPress is a fine CMS but it takes more than the average person to implement seo and security correctly. Agreed?

    Thank you for the post.

    Rob S.

  5. Hi Nathan,

    Great work on the study, always good to look at the facts!

    Had a quick look at the market share for CMS’s and according to https://w3techs.com/technologies/overview/content_management/all / https://w3techs.com/technologies/history_overview/content_management , WordPress has a 60% market share among CMS’s and a CMS like mediawiki only a 0.1% market share.

    Seems like when that is factored in that a CMS like MediaWiki would be classed as better since it’s performing “900x better” than it’s market share, where WordPress is ranking less than market share.

    I’m not sure how accurate the market share data is but maybe when factored in it would give some interesting results. What do you think?

    Great that you’re making research like this accessible to people, a good marketer can’t get enough data!

    • Thanks for the comment Bram! I agree that market share data would is important to factor in. The challenge is that we only examined 10,000 keywords (not the entire market), so I can only draw conclusions based on our sample set (not the entire market)

  6. Even before opeing the mail, i was pretty sure tha it would he wordpress. WordPress is really a great platform. Happy Analyzing!

  7. I do not really agree with the conclusions you make in this article. I think it paints a very different picture. WordPress has 60.5% of the CMS market but only accounts for 45% of the top listings. This to me, implies that WordPress is rather bad for seo.

    Drupal, on the other hand, has 3.4% of the CMS market but accounts for 8% of the top listings. This to me implies that Drupal is a lot better for SEO than WordPress. (Disregarding all other factors than CMS)

    • Hey William, thanks for the comment. That’s an interesting way to look at it, but I can’t agree that WordPress is “bad” for SEO based on these findings. Keep in mind, we only analyzed ~ 100,000 URLs (not the entire market)

    • Yes, actually there is no best seo cms in the market out there. some cms prebuilt in with seo features. if u know how to handle it was more powerful than wordpress for seo.

    • I think this is an interesting idea, and I think working to avoid a form of survivorship bias here is important.

      A counterargument could be that due to WordPress’ popularity, it is much more likely that someone who doesn’t know what they are doing (and is less likely to rank) will gravitate towards WordPress rather than something like Drupal. So while I definitely think this point is valid, I think we still need to look deeper.

      I may have missed it in the article, but is there a chart or explanation on overall CMS usage (or none at all) across the web? Seeing that data side by side with your study would be very interesting.

      For reasons mentioned above, I think it’s just the start, but fascinating idea to explore.

      So I guess the only thing I would disagree with is the conclusion that it doesn’t need to be longer! But still a valuable read, and based on Ahrefs data should rank very easily for these keywords considering your authority 🙂

  8. Great! Lucky I’m a wordpress user! but then I’m still having difficulty getting do follow backlinks 🙁

  9. As always, great work Nathan! I was gonna guess WordPress, and like one of the commenters on here, I too maybe a little biased haha. I am a avid WordPress user and just love how they make it incredibly easy for just about anyone to create a website. But then, you gotta be realistic and say that it would depend on how well the page and site is optimized for Search. Just because it’s WP, does not necessarily mean that you’d dominate SERPS. Therefore a lot goes into on-page optimization but WP makes it a lot easier to achieve rankings compared to other CMS.

    • Of course, you’re exactly right! There are way more factors you need to tackle if you want to perform well in organic search. Thanks for the comment James

  10. Hi, Nathan Great content again. I am currently using Google’s own Blogger.com using a custom domain. Will I face any SEO related issues?


  11. Not surprised, but I think it is due more to the fact that people know and “trust” WordPress will do the job that they need done to build a website quick and easily…

    It won whether or not it is the “best”, kinda like VHS vs BETA…

    But I would bet that if someone was to take the time and build a site with another CMS and go head to head, it would be the content not the CMS that would win the rankings…

    Interesting spin and take on your blog post though, and sure it is ranking, but is that because it’s running on WP?

    • Thanks for the comment Garry. Totally agree with that! There are many other factors that determine rankings (your choice of CMS has a very small impact in that equation… if any)

  12. Great Post! I had a feeling that WordPress would take the #1 spot although I am a little bias lol.

  13. Maybe, wordpress is good for seo but what if wordpress without seo plugin is that still good on seo..i think not really if wordpress without seo plugin it was nothing too.

  14. For the first time, I came to know about MediaWiki. I love WordPress! I have been blogging since 2010. I launched several themes on ThemeForest as well. My love with WordPress is really endless. Thanks for the great content!

  15. Thanks Nathan, good info as always. What do you think of plugins like MPG for content generation? https://wordpress.org/plugins/multiple-pages-generator-by-porthas/
    We use it on one of our sites and pull data from a database to create 37k part number pages, as they vary greatly but writing each page individually is very hard. It is driving a lot of traffic and google indexes majority of it. There is value in it from UX perspective but still content is generated. We don’t want to get Panda’ed

    • I would probably avoid that to be totally honest because of the lack of unique content creation. It may work in the short-term, but it’s pretty dangerous in the long-term

  16. WordPress probably has the most top rankers in the SERPS, because it is the most popular web-creation tool. Surely proper analysis of better CMS tools would need to look at what % of websites built using such a tool arrive in the first pages of SERPs. So if 1 website in every 100 websites built using DUDA get into first pages of SERPs, whereas only 1 in every 10000 websites built using wordpress… that would make me favour DUDA… even if wordpress websites have the greatest overall presence in the SERPS.

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