“And the Grammy goes to…”
Whenever this was being announced on the evening of January 26, the website had to be updated in a matter of seconds. People would then search for results; especially those who were not watching the show. If indexed quickly, the results would be up there in search engines within seconds. Only a robust platform like Drupal can handle the complex requirements of the Grammy’s website. Many believe that Drupal is the best when it comes to SEO; however, the statement is subjective.
While your website may not be as big as Grammy’s, but if it is hosted on Drupal then you must invest some efforts in SEO.
In a recent survey by BrightLocal, it was observed that SEO was the second-most effective marketing channel, after word of mouth. I agree that Google has been changing its algorithm very regularly, but it is being done to tackle spam. If your SEO website practices do not border on spamming, you should not worry about anything and continue your work by creating great content for your Drupal website. So, if you are starting up SEO on your Drupal 7 website, you should do the following things.
1. Install Google Analytics & Google Webmaster Tools
So, why do you need these two tools? Well, Google Analytics (GA) records essential organic vitals (like page visits, the source of your website traffic, average visit time, etc.). On the other hand, Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) streamlines the keyword structure, defines indexing pattern, etc. Moreover, it helps newer websites with getting indexed on Google. Both of these tools provide a large amount of very useful insights which can later be used to develop better content.
2. Install SEO modules for Drupal
You would require a mix of SEO techniques to optimize your Drupal website. The following modules are just a few that you must have on your Drupal installation. Here, I have listed the ones that I think are the most important and useful.
Pathauto automates the creation of SEO-friendly URLs for your Drupal website. However, to do that you need to define the ‘title’. This needs to be defined through a token; so, the Token module should be installed beforehand.
Page Title module uses the text inside the <title> tag in HTML head to set Page Title. A good page title helps you with scoring better on SERPs.
Global Redirect module checks for URL problems, especially when Pathauto and clean URLs are on. Drupal does not delete the old path (e.g. node/123), which means you might have two URLs with the same content. This is a serious no-no when it comes to SEO as search engines punish websites with such duplicate pages. This module helps you prevent a major catastrophe due to duplication.
Moz observes that SERPs, accompanied by clear author images on Google, receive better organic traffic. This is so because SERPs helps build credibility of your content. The Google Authorship module helps you do that for Drupal websites. Once a relation is successfully established, the picture of the author appears next to the article on Google search pages. This boosts credibility of your site. Check if Google Authorship is properly configured on your website here.
Meta Tags Quick
The Meta Tags module provides Meta tags support using the Field API. This saves you from the hassle of creating tokens.
The Site Verification module helps you with site ownership authentication for search engines. It allows you to get your website verified through two methods: Either by adding Meta tags or by uploading a specific file. This module can help you easily verify Google Webmaster, Bing Webmaster, and any other search engine’s Meta tags.
This module checks if your SEO practices are proper or not. After installing the above module, the SEO Checklist module will help in creating a list of tasks that are yet to be completed.
3. Plan your content
Implementing best SEO practices on your website will help you drive targeted-audience through organic means from search engines. By regularly monitoring GA (page views) and GWT (impressions), you can decide what kind of content is engaging visitors. Once you understand the preferences of your target audience, invest some time in keyword research by using the Google Keyword Planner.
4. Build your links NATURALLY!
Yes, I purposefully wrote the last word in uppercase because bad linking ruins your SEO efforts. Search engines are now getting smarter and they demand linking to be built smartly. So, if I am talking about Drupal modules, I can always mention a post that I wrote earlier about 10 essential Drupal modules some weeks back. Do not link your content internally for sake of link building. It is considered a bad practice, as well.
5. Stay on your toes
SEO changed a lot in 2013 (especially after the launch of the entirely new Google algorithm, code-named Hummingbird)—and, it might change more this year. Search engines, especially Google, are trying different approaches in order to provide the best search results. This means that techniques that work now might not be there, well let’s say, the next minute, simple because many of these changes arrive without notifications. Do you have anything share about Drupal SEO practices? Feel free to share your suggestion and feedback in our comments section below.
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No matter how much you optimize your SEO, if your website is slow as a snail, you would not get a lot of traction. This is because search engines do take page speed into consideration. On Cloudways, we host Drupal on an optimized layer of Apache-Varnish-Nginx combination, which gives blazing fast speeds. Click on the button below to know more.
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