Drupal is a content management system (CMS) that allows people to build websites quickly. Drupal is also open-source, so the Drupal community can create plugins called modules that users can download and install to add more functionality to their Drupal CMS.
Like any website, a Drupal site needs to be optimized for the best search rankings if you want to attract more visitors (who doesn’t?). And if you want to really learn search engine optimization for this popular CMS, here (in no particular order) are several Drupal modules for SEO that can help:
- Google Analytics allows you to track user behavior, monitor which files are downloaded from your site, and gather other useful statistics that you can use to refine your SEO strategy.
- Pathauto generates URL/path aliases for your content. Instead of naming the page something useless like /node/567, PathAuto gives your page an alias based on its title — which, of course, should include keywords.
- Site Map creates a plain text sitemap that gives visitors and search engines a quick overview of your site’s content. It can also display the RSS feed for your categories and blogs — making it useful for displaying your latest content.
- XML Sitemap creates a sitemap that allows search engines to crawl your website more efficiently — and the sitemap can also be automatically submitted to major search engines: Google. Bing, Yahoo and Ask.
- Scheduler is a useful module if you want to set content to be published or unpublished on specific dates. This might be useful if you want to write several pieces of content at once (such as blog posts), create nodes for them in Drupal, and schedule them to be published on specific dates.
- Read More Link creates SEO-friendly, customized Read More links.
- URL List, as its name implies, creates a list of every URL in your Drupal website in a plain text sitemap.
- Link Checker checks for the broken links that can do so much SEO damage to your website, so you can fix them quickly.
- Custom Breadcrumbs allows you to set up parameterized breadcrumb trails for any node type on your Drupal website.
- Mollom is an anti-spam module that intelligently handles incoming posts (such as blog comments or forum posts) much like a human moderator would, determining if they are likely to be spam based on the content itself and the past behavior of the user posting the material.
- SEO Checklist helps you make sure your Drupal website conforms for SEO best practices. It gives you a to-do list of tasks to complete and the modules that can help you complete them — because there are many more great Drupal modules for SEO than we can list in one blog post!
- SEO Compliance Checker checks node content for SEO compliance when you save or preview a node that you’re creating or editing. It performs a series of checks and provides you with feedback you can act on.
- Drupal SEO Tools is another SEO module, but this one integrates tools for keyword research and management, content optimization, content autolinking, content tagging and much more. It requires several other individual Drupal modules to be installed for maximum functionality, but some Drupal users may prefer the one-stop shop approach of SEO Tools for Drupal.
Apart from installing modules to help you with search engine optimization for your Drupal website, the same SEO best practices apply for Drupal-based sites as for all other websites:
- Practice link building, but in a natural and reputable way. Aim for a mix of backlinks from relevant but varied sources.
- If you can get different types of backlinks to your Drupal site, all the better — such as links to your home page, links to internal pages, long tail keyword phrase links and keyword anchor text links.
- Update on a regular basis. Go for a mix of content types such as blog entries, customer reviews or testimonials, white papers, videos or slide shows. Having a wide range of content formats makes you more likely to attract more clicks and different kinds of visitors.
- Be sure to use keywords throughout your content and in title tags, meta tags, URLs, headers, internal links and more — just keep it natural and avoid “keyword stuffing.”
Drupal SEO is a lot like any other kind of SEO. There are plenty of helpful modules to download, but ultimately, quality content, frequent site updates and an above-board link building strategy will usually get you the best (and most lasting) SEO results.