You might have a beautiful website, but no one’s going to see it without the help of search engine optimization (SEO). With the proper SEO practices in place, you can boost your SERP (search engine results page) rankings. Some examples of standard SEO practices include focusing on relevant keywords, adding alt tags to your images, and creating clean URLs.
The good news is that if you’re using Drupal as your CMS, you’re already one step ahead in building an optimized site. That said, while Drupal Core provides many built-in SEO-friendly features, you may want to take your SEO efforts to the next level with the help of Drupal SEO modules.
SEO modules themselves won’t put you your content into the #1 position on Google. However, you can certainly use these tools to give your content that extra push it needs to be seen by your target audience.
Here are 7 Drupal SEO modules you need to boost your rankings.
1. Site verification
When setting up your Drupal site, one of the first things you’ll need to do is verify your site. By verifying your site, you’ll demonstrate to search engines that your site is legitimate. To no surprise, a verified site is going to rank much higher than an unverified one.
The best thing about the Site verification module is that it’s designed for both technical and non-technical users alike. In other words, this module serves to simplify site verification for search engines and other services. Simply install the module, and you can check off step #1 in optimizing your site.
2. XML Sitemap
With your site now verified, you’ll need to set up an XML sitemap. Your XML sitemap lists out your site’s URLs for search engines, making it easier for them to crawl your site. For instance, you can submit your XML sitemap in Google Search Console; from there, Google will index the pages it deems relevant.
To get started, you can use the XML sitemap module to quickly generate a sitemap that conforms to the specifications listed on sitemaps.org. Additionally, this module can be automatically submitted to all of the popular search engines, including Ask, Google, Bing, or Yahoo!. As a result, search engine bots will automatically crawl and receive up-to-date results for your site.
3. Google Analytics
Google is undoubtedly the most popular search engine around. The most popular site on the Internet, Google generates over 5 billion searches per day. With this in mind, a primary component of your SEO practices will be Google Analytics, which provides you with in-depth insights and reports into your site’s web traffic from Google.
By installing the Google Analytics module, you’ll grant the web statistics tracking system access to your website. You’ll also be able to add a variety of statistics features to your site, including Site Search support, AdSense support, Page not found (404) tracking, and more. With these features, you’ll gain better insight into how you can best continue meeting your users’ needs.
4. SEO Checklist
With the basics in place, it’s time to start creating SEO-friendly content and web pages for your site. However, if you’re new to SEO, you might start to feel overwhelmed by how much there is to learn and keep track of. Moreover, when working with a significant amount of content, having an extra hand can always help.
The good news is that the Drupal SEO Checklist module offers just that. While the module itself won’t improve your SEO, it equips you with the information and to-do lists necessary for optimizing your site. Plus, the ability to create SEO checklists can help to ensure you stay on task.
Metadata, such as meta tags and meta descriptions, help to further communicate what your content is about to search engines. As such, before you publish your content, you’ll want to add the appropriate metadata to increase your chances of ranking for relevant keywords. In many cases, the metadata is displayed as the snippet you see in search results.
By installing the Metatag module, you can automate the structure of your content's metadata. In addition, this module gives you the freedom to override any of the auto-generated meta tags or meta descriptions. That way, you can take a more hands-on approach to optimization as needed.
While metadata is frequently addressed when discussing SEO, URLs are often overlooked. However, creating URLs that adequately reflect your content and contain relevant keywords can positively impact your content’s SERP rankings. Moreover, by creating clean, human-readable URLs, you can increase click-throughs and page visits, which also impacts SEO.
For instance, one of our URLs is: clikfocus.com/builds/operational-software. The URL of this page clearly indicates to search engines and humans alike the following message: “ClikFocus builds operational software.” That said, manually creating URLs like this every time you create a page can become tedious.
Thankfully, the Pathauto module can help to automate this process. By setting up specific rules, you can guide exactly how you want your URLs to be formatted. For example, you could create a rule for how blog posts formatted, such as: mysite/blog/title. With this rule in place, every time you create a blog post, its URL will follow your designated format.
On the topic of URLs, there may come a time when a URL may change, or a piece of content may be deleted and its URL disappears. Whatever the reason, when a URL is no longer connected to specific piece of content, your users will come upon a “404 not found page.” Unfortunately, this indicates a dead link and can negatively impact your SEO.
To prevent this, you can use the Redirect module to create 301 redirects. For example, if you change the URL for a high-ranking page, you can simply redirect that traffic to the new URL. Additionally, this module makes it possible to clean up old redirects or track when a redirect was last used.
Need Help Installing These Drupal SEO Modules?
At ClikFocus, our team has offered highly-customized Drupal development services for over a decade. Your business is unique, and we want to provide you with a Drupal site that capitalizes on the qualities that set you apart.
Whether you’d like to build a brand new Drupal site or extend your existing site with the right modules, we can help. Drop us a line today.