Drupal Out of the Box for SEO
7 Must have Drupal SEO modules
Below are the 7 modules that will help you get the most out of the already good for SEO content management system (CMS) Drupal, it is just the basics of SEO for Drupal. I’m no SEO expert but from the podcasts I’ve listened and experiments I’ve carried out on websites I’m suggesting following modules:
1. Page Title
Many SEO experts and practitioners argue that SEO begins from the top left corner of the browser, its is where you see the page title. If you can set the page title right targeting the keywords then only you have a good beginning as page title is the first thing the search engine bot sniffs. In Drupal core you don’t have major control on what to do with your page title and how to display it. Generally its Node Title - Site Name but that may not be right all the time. So to get more control over the page titles you need the page title module.Read its documentation to get started with this gem of a module.(See the page title in the image below)
2. Node Words/Meta Tags
I have heard that Meta Tags are obsolete and many search engines including Google don’t look at them these days but I don’t know the truth. But if you want a better description of your pages in search engines then the description tag can be set by using this module. You should use the node words module to replace the teaser with something different for the search engines.
3. XML Sitemap
Sitemaps are always a good idea for Search engine bots to know how content is laid out in your website. With priority settings you can tell a bot to see this piece of content with priority and give this piece of content less priority, like your homepage will have more priority than let’s say the /about-us/department/marketing page. If you have ever used Google Webmaster tools, you can submit your website, by doing this rather than waiting for Google to crawl your website you are inviting Google search bot to do so. I assume other search engines also have similar facility. With XML Sitemap you can tell the bot to look for page on your website like below (taken from GeshanManandhar.com) :
Using Global redirect helps to enforcing the clean URL and removing trailing slash from your URLs. If you create a node with path auto it has 2 URLs like SITEURL/node/2 and SITEURL/about-us, so as a search engine it sees duplicate content which can be penalized. By using Global Redirect we can solve this and other problems as describes in the Global redirect project page. Check the Readme that comes in the module package to get a better idea on how to make it work and you need this great module.
5. Search 404
If someone types a wrong URL on the website, it will not just show the page not found but will run a search with the parameter provided in the URL. For example if anyone does: http://www.younginnovations.com.np/icimod - the URL is not valid but what Search 404 will do it run a search with word icimod on the YIPL’s website and fetch a result as below, this will make the website more user friendly:
6. Google Analytics
If you cannot measure your performance then there is not point running a SEO campaign.One of the best web analytics I have used for no cost is Google Analytics. The Google analytics makes it one step easier for you, you just copy the UA-XXXXXX no and paste it to the settings of the Google Analytics Module, then it will place the java script code and start recording the valuable data that you can view from your Google Analytics dashboard. On top of it you can track certain users, roles or pages and do other things for more see the Google Analytics module’s project page.
This might come as a surprise to many but saving your website from Spam helps a lot in SEO perspective. If your website gets spammed and its public then your site links to black listed websites and it just harms the reputation of your website. Mollom is one of the best centralized solutions for spam. I guess the free version with 100 CAPTCHAs per day will be enough for an average blog or a small corporate website. To know more about Mollom and how it works visit the Mollom website.
Just as a bonus module for great content to target your keywords a module that is not included in SEO Checklist is Content Optimizer Module, its a very handy module that will be boon to content writers who don’t know how to write SEF content. Find out more about Content Optimizer in the Level 10 Design’s blog page.
Conclusion and Resources
This is just the beginning, SEO is a big subject in itself. More things you should do for better SEO is validate the code for XHTML and CSS, add social sharing and submit your website to good websites and get back-links. If you want to dig in further of SEO for drupal you can find books on this topic, for starting I’d like you to see the SEO checklist module then install other modules as per need, join the Drupal SEO group at groups.drupal.org and listen to Volacci Drupal SEO podcast, it has 10 great podcasts on Drupal SEO.
Have fun with SEO and I hope you get more visitor and better conversion rate with great targeted SEO. As SEO is pull marketing you might be able to edge out your competition with smart SEO.