Websites powered by Drupal, in most cases aren’t created by a single person or new user, but always require the experts to set them up, those who establish them take care of SEO management and functionality. However, it may happen that you are a newcomer for Drupal, and you already have a website and need to optimize it for the search engines. Especially for you we have prepared this 7 step roadmap which will help you to get the idea of how to set up Drupal in terms of SEO.
1. Recognize Keywords as the Pillar of Website SEO
The relevant usage of keywords is the most crucial part of SEO setting. If you select them correctly, there will be more chances you get the targeted audience. Also, it would be much more easier to find out the ultimate way of promotion. It’s better to make the right start, than soon correct the mistakes.
A couple of tips for keyword placement:
- In case you are adding the article to your website , make sure, you have placed keywords correctly: there should be 1 low frequency, 2 of middle frequency and 1 high frequency.
- Place one high frequency keyword in the title.
- Have keywords in h1, h2 and h3 tags,
- Add the high frequency keywords to the top of the content, as it carries more weight.
- Place some keywords in your final paragraph, as Google search for the most important information in the closing.
Use some of this tools for keywords search:
- Google Adwords Keyword Tool – shows, how many people search for a specific word or word phase for a specific time period.
- Google Trends – shows the modern tendencies of searching word.
- Keyword Discovery – similar to Google’s Adwords Keyword Tool, however this is a commercial tool.
- WordTracker – help to find the relevant keyword
As soon as you figure out your keyword, you can start with the SEO campaign. Make sure your content includes not that many of these words and sound naturally, create data which is useful for people and search engines at the same time.
2. Optimize Your Page
As you start working with the keywords make sure that they appear properly at your website content:
- Website’s name
- Page title
- Link titles
Menu is also important for your website indexation. Make sure that all the keywords on your website’ navigation lead to specific subject on your website.
Create SEO-friendly URLs, as by the default on Drupal website they look like www.yourDrupalsite.com/?q=node/55 and can be a problem. Use Drupal SEO-module like PathAutho or Token module to clean the URLs on your website.
3. Kill off Splash Pages
Splash page is an image that appears on your webpage while it is loading. They can also direct users to the appropriate site, advertised product or restrict an access. However, this kind of pages are losing their popularity nowadays as they certainly hurt your SEO. When search engines start crawling your website, they find flash file instead of important information which influence optimization a lot. Further, some splash pages aren’t only readable by search engines, but can prevent the whole website from being indexed. That is why it is important to get rid of them.
4. Establish a Sitemap
Sitemap is a list of pages (document or separate webpage) on your website, organized hierarchically, which is accessible for users and crawlers. There are two types of sitemaps:
- XML, not seen by users which tells search engines about pages on your site;
- HTML which is designed to help users to find content on the page.
Though Google’s spiders are smart like they are, even they are capable of missing pages on your website. The only solution is a sitemap. In this way you help crawlers to find more pages and increase the number of posts seen by Google.
To set up XML sitemap on your Drupal website, you have to download the XML Sitemap module and install it like any other Drupal module. Then go to www.yourDrupalsite.com/admin/settings/xmlsitemap and click the Settings button. Now you have an options for your sitemap, click on the “Front page drop-down” and set the options you need. Open your “Content types drop-down” and check the boxes which content you want to include to the sitemap. Save configurations and submit your XML map to the Google.
5. Post Quality Content for your Drupal Site
After Google released search engine algorithm called “Panda” lot’s of websites disappear from the search listing overnight. This is an update which reduce the rankings for low-quality websites, which copy content from others or aren’t very useful, but at the same time they are used in order to increase the quality of other web pages. If you are optimizing your website for search engines make sure that the page is full of unique content, useful information, some researches, reports and analyzes. Moreover, if you have a really nice content, your users will share it via social media which will gain Google’s attention.
6. Correct Robots.txt File
The robots.txt is a standard file on Drupal which provides the instructions for robots and spiders which may crawl your website. This file is required by Google and sits on the root level of your website. The trait of this file is that it can be set up to make your website visible for search engines, hide it or work in a specified terms. To make your robots.txt file live, go to www.yourDrupalsite.com/robots.txt, with the comand line editor locate it on the top level of your drupal website. Then, backup the file, and open it in the text editor. Give the instruction, add any search engine or line you want, save your robots.txt file. Refresh your browser and check the changes, if something goes wrong use the backup and try it again. It is essential to adjust robots.txt file to meet your needs in special situations and have an optimal SEO results.
7. Install Fundamental Tools and SEO Modules
While setting the search engine optimization for Drupal websites, you can’t go through without SEO modules, they are crucial to optimize any Drupal website. Most of the modules on Drupal have the similar way of installation, and if you set up at least one of them, you won’t have any problem furthermore.
Essential Drupal SEO-modules
- SEO Checklist: helps to check the website for search engine optimization by creating a to-do list for modules and tasks
- Google Analytics: helps to keep track of your website visitors.
- Page Title: gives you a grand control over your page title
- Pathauto: automatically generates URL/path aliases for various kinds of content to clean the URLs
- Path Redirect: helps to create the proper redirects.
- Global redirect: fixes the common URL problems when clean URLs and Pathauto are turned on.
- Meta Tags: allows you to add meta tags to Drupal pages, both manually and automatically
- XML Sitemap: helps you to create a sitemap
- Read more link: allows to create customize and SEO-friendly links.
This is actually just a little part of modules which may help you with your website optimization.
Now, you know a couple of first steps for your Drupal website SEO. Optimize your website for search engines is a tricky, however, it is a must-do thing. Only if you set it up in a right way, you will have more visitors and the website can carry out its primary mission. Nevertheless, if you are ready to convert your website powered by other CMS to Drupal, migrate it with CMS2CMS.