By now, you would have stumbled across thousands of blogs to discover that Drupal is the best Content Management System. With an effective long term perspective, its amazing collection of modules, its flexibility and customization options and not to forget, the loyal community working towards the betterment of the open source platform, Drupal tops the chart CMS by miles.
This robust, flexible and dependable CMS platform is also well known for being an SEO friendly content management system with its latest version being the best by far.
But for a Drupal website, is SEO necessary??
Definitely YES! SEO can be one of the most influential factors for the success of an organization or a business. When people from around the globe search for your product or services, you want to appear as high as possible on the search engine ranking, thus bringing in more traffic to your website. Ideally, SEO is about making your website easy for both your visitors and the search engine crawlers to understand. Thus your SEO strategy begins long before your Drupal website is built.
Lay your Foundation
With Drupal 8, most of the required SEO best practices are already embedded into the core of the platform and with a little knowledge of SEO and some must-have configurations, anybody can possibly bring up their website to drive more traffic. But before you jump right into the tools and other configurations on Drupal 8, sit back and think about the basics which you need to get right for your website's success.
With your website goals in sight and your visitors' interests in mind, sit down and form a proper pre-SEO strategy to begin with. From brand identity to keyword strategy, content marketing plan and visitor engagement strategies to build better relationships with your target audience, consider every single factor.
Your SEO Tools
The best part about Drupal 8 is that it is "SEO ready" right out of the box. To begin with, let us talk about some important modules that help enhance your SEO efforts on your Drupal website.
Drupal SEO Checklist
This is an important module which does not directly affect your Drupal SEO and improve the SERP but will provide critical information on the changes to be made on the site. This module checks your entire Drupal website for proper search engine optimization and provides a detailed report on what needs to be done to improve the performance.
Drupal SEO Checklist
It breaks the tasks down and keeps track of how the tasks have been taken care of, what has already been done and what needs to be attended to. This data provides a report that can be used for further monitoring.
One of the most important and useful modules for Drupal SEO, it plays a major role in SEO-friendly URLs on your website. The usual "example[dot]com/node/1" can be replaced with more SEO specific URLs such as "example[dot]com/page/keyword". Based on the category of your website page or based on the page title, with Pathauto you can build URLs which are SEO friendly, as well as easy for the visitors on your site to understand, which allows you to have a huge advantage with search engines.
In our recent post, we discussed how you can add Google Analytics module to your Drupal website and also create custom reports for better performance of your website. Though this module does not have any direct effect on your Drupal SEO or does not improve your SERP, it plays a major role in providing the necessary information to your Drupal website's SEO success. By tracking your visitors, their behavior and interests within your site, you can change your strategies to drive more traffic and increase conversions.
Google certainly does not like spammy duplicate content on a web page. Such content can have a negative impact on your SEO efforts and as a result, can harm your rankings on the search engine. On Drupal, while you are happy creating clean URLs with the alias system, you should note that there is a small problem arising. With the creation of new URLs, the default URL is still there and the search engines do not see it as a good sign.
The Global redirect module helps in rectifying this problem by verifying the existence of an alias for a URL and redirecting it to the same. The module also plays a role in checking the URL implementation and permission or the access required to the nodes and URLs.
SEO Compliance Checker
A module which is of great help to SEO beginners and webmasters, SEO Compliance Checker performs a complete check when a node is created or modified on your Drupal site. The execution includes checking if the titles and meta tags are optimized, there are no alt tags missing, keywords usage and density and other important factors for better SEO.
SEO Compliance Checker
While the core module - seo_checker does not perform any of these checks, it is the submodules that come along (basic_seo_rules.module and keyword_rules.module) which execute these checks for the implementation of some basic SEO rules. The core module on the other hand, gathers the required information about the checks to be performed and applies them to collect the final results.
In addition to these modules, there are certain others such as the Page Title module which allows the page title to be set, the Meta tag module which equips you with complete control of meta tags on your Drupal website, and the XML Sitemap module to create a search engine readable, dynamic sitemap.
Some Additional Tips
Just to let you know, in the time you took to read the blog until this point,
- More than a million Google searches were made.
- Close to 20,000 Facebook posts were posted.
- More than a 1000 blogs were posted on the internet.
I don't have to say much to let you know that the internet is noisier than ever and it doesn't seem like it is going to stop anytime soon. SEO at its beginning stages was all about cramming your website with keywords and let the crawlers do their magic. But over time, SEO has blossomed with Google introducing some amazing algorithms and updates to curb the black hat SEO practices.
Right now, for a successful SEO campaign, you need to study your visitors, their behavior and interests on your website and curate the content accordingly to stay ahead of the curve. You don't want to be in the midst of a content gap which can create problems for your website's conversions. With this study, you have a real opportunity in hand to develop fresh content for your Drupal website and optimize it for the searches on the search engine.