SEO Best Practices and Your Drupal Website

A Beginners Guide to SEO - Part 1

This is the first post in a series of blog posts we will be writing based on the questions that we receive from clients about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Maybe they know they need to make some tweaks to their site. Maybe they've heard about some recent updates to how Google is ranking websites or serving search results, changes like the recent “mobilegeddon” where Google released information that said if you’re website wasn’t mobile friendly you wouldn’t be featured in search results. Or maybe they just want to know how to make sure that Google ranks their beautiful new site higher than everyone else in their industry.

So, how does Google (or Yahoo or Bing) decide which sites should rank highest for different searches? The short answer is that search engines determine the pagerank of websites (you can check yours for free) using a series of complex algorithms that have to do with a variety of factors. In the past, Google has said that there are around 200 “signals” they use to make decisions about each page they index, but this is constantly changing because Google is always trying to improve the search experience for their users.

While Drupal makes it easy to implement SEO best practices on your site, it doesn’t inherently give you a rankings boost. There are many things you can do to make your website more appealing to search engines… that’s where SEO comes in. Luckily there is a lot of great (some free!) information out there that can help you sort through the seemingly endless world of SEO.

SEO Basics

We recommend that everyone read through “The Beginner’s Guide to SEO.” This comprehensive guide was created by SEO experts at Seattle-based Moz.

This 10-chapter long guide is brimming with detailed explanations, background information, context, practical tips, best practices, examples and, of course, illustrations. It’s full of links to additional resources to help you go deeper and implement your newly learned search strategies.

This guide covers everything from the basics—like link building, keyword research, and how search engines work—to measuring success and usability. Plus, it explains a lot of terms you’ve probably heard before but weren’t exactly sure what they meant.

Even if you are not a total SEO newbie, there is probably at least a small part of you that could use this refresher course. It will help to reaffirm your currently held SEO beliefs and there are undoubtedly new tips and tricks you’ll pick up along the way.

SEO and Your Drupal Website

Once you have read through Moz’s guide to SEO you might be feel overwhelmed because it has a lot of content, recommendations, and critical tasks to implement and, you might be asking, “How does Drupal make all of this easier?” This is a great question to be asking because that means you believe SEO to be important and are really asking the right question.

These are all things you can manage for you SEO strategy simply by logging into the Drupal CMS admin interface.

Publish Content

Drupal is a CMS and therefore, content creation, management, and publishing are at the heart of what Drupal does. No content-driven SEO strategy can be without a solid publishing tool like Drupal.

  • Create New Content
  • Modules for Scheduling Content Publishing
  • Modules for Scheduling Content Distribution

Technical SEO

The Drupal Admin makes it easy-to-manage all of the technical the details for your website’s SEO.

  • Page Title
  • Description
  • Keywords
  • Abstracts
  • Canonical URL
  • Shortlink URL
  • + ability to define your own meta tags as needed
  • Robots.txt management at page level
  • Enforced alt/title tags for images
  • Site Speed / Caching
  • Drupal gives you control over our URL Structure
  • Auto-generated URL Alias
  • Easy to update manually
  • Crawlability
  • URL Redirects
  • XML Sitemaps
  • Extensive Plugin Library
  • Taxonomy
  • Link Checker

Outside of the Drupal admin interface, there are some behind-the-scenes SEO benefits to the platform, as well. For example, many Drupal base themes, like those built on BootStrap.js, provide a semantic structure for primary heading tags and HTML markup, which ensures that your pages perform well. These front-end frameworks make sure your H1s, H2s, and H3s are structured in a way that makes sense to Google and indicates that your heading content carries particular importance on the page.

In the next SEO for Beginners post, we will look at keyword strategy and how to use keywords to drive your website strategy and design.

Stay tuned to this blog as we’ll continue to post SEO resources for Drupal websites as we come across them. If you have any SEO questions specific to Drupal please comment below, and check out our page Drupal Development Services to learn what Drupal Services we offer.

If you have any additional questions please feel free to contact us directly or connect with us on social.