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 website, you should do the following things.
Drupal is a very effective framework that guarantees search engine optimization with its modules. It gives users the ability to control all the elements of the internet pages with the assistance of as of now introduced automation tools for SEO, which places it at the exceptionally best of SEO inviting CMSs.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is an integral part of any website. You can bring a lot of traffic through search engines–and for this purpose, you need to make sure search engine like Google rank you in its first few ranking pages.
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.
Since search engines are what people use to find answers to their inquiries, your website being on top equates to a wider exposure.
In simple words, SEO is what helps your website to climb the rankings in the results of search engines when you produce content that addresses problems or provides solutions.
Coming to Drupal, it’s a no-brainer that you would need to employ SEO for it as well. But before we delve into what makes Drupal SEO-friendly and what could you do to make it better, let’s go through some general SEO points you absolutely must keep in mind for 2017 (and to an extent, these are the evergreen rules). Some factors that contribute to SEO for all website are:
Probably the single most important factor, content is what makes your site. Content is what tells the visitors on your site what the site is about. Relevant, useful, and good quality content will increase your ranking not only in the eyes of your users but in the indexes of search engines as well.
The speed of your website plays a vital role in improving your search engine rankings. To put it bluntly, the faster your site is, the better its search engine ranking is going be. How come? Well, the search engine wants to rank websites where the user can get the best results as quick as possible. So, if your website has good content, but it’s slow, then you are just destroying it.
Slow Loading Times Affect Your Traffic
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Backlinks are the links that other websites provide to your website. Always aim to get useful and relevant backlinks from good quality websites with a high domain authority and see your website’s search engine rankings flourish.
This point became a lot more important with the advent of smartphones. With the number of mobile-only internet users overtaking desktop-only internet users in March 2015, it is vital for your website to look good on screens of all sizes and responsive design is what achieves just that. It’s no wonder responsive design is now a very important part of your SEO strategy.
Out-of-the-Box Drupal SEO
So now that we’ve got the basics out of the way let’s focus our attention to Drupal. The added advantage of using Drupal, especially Drupal 8, is that it already comes with a few built-in SEO features.
Drupal 8’s core theme is responsive by default, which means that it will look great on screens of any size without you having to take a dive into its code.
Faster Load Times
Drupal 8’s content-as-a-service capability allows content to be managed in a single place efficiently for several mediums (like social media, web, and mobile) without the need to have a different solution for each medium.
Drupal 8 now natively supports 94 languages. More languages mean a wider audience. With each successive version, multilingual capabilities have been vastly improved with each and every component of it being now translatable out of the box!
Advanced Drupal SEO
Now let’s dip our feet into deeper Drupal 8 SEO waters. There are several proven techniques you can employ for getting better SEO out of your Drupal site.
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 is One of the most popular modules, and it is employed by almost every Drupal developer. This module automatically generates self-explanatory URLs based on the content type you create. For example, if you create a news content type, it will generate the URL such as new/[news title]. It also includes the keywords which are used heavily in your content.
The Redirect module allows you to redirect old URLs which are not valid anymore to new ones. Since Drupal doesn’t automatically remove old aliases when you create a new one, this module is incredibly helpful in minimizing any invalid URLs which could affect your SEO ranking negatively.
Sitemap has a very large effect on your website’s SEO. It is very important to have a clean and valid XML Sitemap for your website. Simple XML Sitemap module provides a multilingual sitemap for your Drupal website’s entities and custom links. It supports most of the content entity types in Drupal and also adheres to the latest Google Standards.
The Metatag module allows you to add keywords, browser titles, descriptions, and advanced search options for each page of your Drupal site. Through this method, you can “tell” the search engines more about your page, which in turn improves your page ranking.
SEO Checklist is a very powerful SEO module for Drupal which should be included in every Drupal site owners SEO arsenal. It checks your website for search engine optimization and gives you a very functional to-do list for your modules and tasks. It makes on-page SEO for Drupal extremely easy and is regularly updated with all the latest techniques.
Apart from making use of the modules mentioned above, Drupal site owners must make sure that their URLs are easy to understand and do not contain words that aren’t relevant to the page they direct to.
Keywords are the words that help your SEO ranking quite a lot. You should always have a clear idea of your main keywords and should make use of them efficiently. There are various keyword planner tools such as Google Keywords Planner, MOZ, etc.
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 patterns, 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.
SEO Never Dies
There you have it, making use of all the tips mentioned above and using them regularly can help your Drupal website massively and help you establish a wider audience as well as increase the reach and visibility of your site. Remember, SEO is an on-going progress, and apart from the tips mentioned in this article, you should always keep up to date with the search engine giants such as Google and Bing’s guidelines to make sure your SEO efforts are always at their optimum capacity.
Remember, to get the most of your SEO you need to give a little effort too.
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.
If you are interested in optimizing your Drupal 8 website for search engines, have a look at our blog post on, Drupal 8 SEO Tips For Optimizing Your Website’s Reach And Traffic.
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Hamza is a Drupal Community Manager at Cloudways - A Managed Drupal Hosting Platform. He loves to write about Drupal and related topics. During his free time, he can be seen obsessing over Football, Cars, Android and Gaming.