Drupal lends itself to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) because of its open source coding and simple, flexible content management system. Yet, there are some things you need to know to make sure they work together coherently. Yes, SEO is a marketing strategy but everyone with a website needs to know how important it is for site traffic and visibility. To make your Drupal website SEO friendly here are some things you should keep in mind:
Build up your keyword skills. What I mean by this is know what keywords Google is regularly seeing and start implementing them as tags in your website and in your URLs. Google even has a Keyword Planner that can help you check the frequency of terms, what terms you should plan to use in your website, even help you plan a budget around what these keywords can help you build in revenue. Throw keywords into your titles, any subtitles, tags, toward the head of your content rather than in the body, and in your closing statements where you should be summarizing your information. This will help all engines seek and find you.
Drop your splash page. SEO means that engines are scanning your site trying to find keywords that match their search. If your homepage is a splash page with very little text to work from then it’s likely that the search engine is just going to skip right over you. Since most splash pages also use flash or another media player it can possibly keep your site from being indexed too.
Capitalize on your inbound links. To climb a search engine’s rankings you need multiple reputable inbound links to prove that you are a quality and relevant site to take their customers to. Make sure you foster connections with sites that search engines regularly take links from and you will find your website on the front page of multiple keyword searches. If you’re interested there are plugins that you can download to start showing you the typical ranking of websites that you visit so you can see the patterns emerging for yourself.
Use specific modules for Drupal to increase customer experiences. There are a lote of modules available for Drupal sites that you can use to your advantage. Not only will these increase the reputation of your site as customer-friendly and metrics-focused but also help you build a stronger website overall.
- Link Checker: to make sure that across your website there aren’t any broken links that will make your pages look sloppy and untended.
- Global Redirect: make sure that all of your URLs are as friendly as possible. This will also help you fix some common URL issues.
- Google Analytics: You absolutely must be keeping track of your visitor traffic and usage time.
- Site Verification: this will provide verification assistance of your stie’s ownership for SEO.
- URL List: to help you keep track of all of your URL hierarchy this lists every URL in your website as a sitemap.
- SEO Compliance Checker and Checklist: these two modules help provide admin assistance with shortcuts and downloads for tricks to use in Drupal plus it gives an analysis whenever a node is saved or previewed.
Keep Your Website Updated. Search engines are always on the hunt for new content. Plus, once someone actually makes it to your site you don’t want them to see cobwebs right after walking in the front door. Keep your blog posts up to date. Make sure your links actually go somewhere and aren’t broken. Publish new pages and update old ones so that you are giving search engines every opportunity to hit on your site and bring people to come visit.
Name your Images for Optimization. Image searches are a big deal. Make sure that any image you upload to your site has keywords in the title and alt so that you can bring in customers not only through text but through visual imagery as well. This is also important for accessibility reasons so the more user-friendly you are, the more search engines will want to use your site.
Make sure your Robots.txt file is doing its job. Google requires this file to carry instructions for its bots who check out your site. Since Drupal is magnificent at content management it has one ready to go but you need to be sure that it is correctly giving instructions to the robots who visit. If you’re not sure how to edit or format this file a quick search has several tips and tricks on optimizing this content. A caveat to this is making sure that your robot.txt blocks any stub pages from representing or weighing on your website ranking.
Use 301 Redirects anytime you change your site structure. If you decide to do some housekeeping and rearrange the furniture consider using 301 redirects to move people from the old URLs to the new ones and keep search engines from thinking that the rearranged pages are actually brand new content.
Keep up with SEO algorithm updates. Most search engines are pretty tight on the information they give out about their search algorithms but keep your eyes peeled for news about updates. This can greatly affect the rankings of your site without you actually changing a thing. One way to notice if something like this is going on is by checking your analytics and your website ranking scores using the Drupal modules listed above. You have to keep a close eye on all of the moving pieces because one day you can go from front-page to oblivion without even knowing it.
Finally, keep an eye on your site traffic and visiting time spent analytics as you implement these changes. When you start to see traffic doubling or even tripling you know that you’ve employed great tactics to get your website on the front page of search engines and that your SEO is going well. The biggest factors here are key words, and housekeeping. Your website must stay updated and cleaned regularly and you’ll already be ahead of the game.