How to Optimize Drupal for Search Engines

The SEO process much more than pumping your site full of keywords. Search engine companies spend millions keeping their algorithms up-to-date, and are aware of any sort of trick an SEO strategist might try to pull. Drupal, though a great content management system, can be a bit tricky to optimize for search engines. Straight out of the box Drupal is actually a bit dismal when it comes to SEO. Luckily, there are a few ways you can optimize your Drupal site and begin climbing up the rankings. All you need are the right modules and a bit of elbow grease.

Develop on-page optimization

Like we said above, Drupal is not very search engine friendly right out of the box. But making it play well with search engines is as easy as installing a couple of modules and tweaking a few, small parts of your site. First, make sure you install page title so that you have some control over how titles are structured and what keywords appear in them. Next download Nodewords, a tool that will allow you to edit your site’s metatags – the text typically hidden in a site’s header. These aren’t used for ranking anymore, but search engines do use them to occasionally describe a web page’s content and to figure out other attributes that they display. Finally, make sure to turn on CleanURLs so that Drupal doesn’t use any unfriendly characters in the dynamic URLs it generates – this feature is accessible in your site’s admin panel.

Use Long-Term Modules

Again, what would Drupal be without the modules? There are plenty of SEO optimization modules for Drupal, but many of them are a bit lacking when it comes to long-term development. If your site stagnates, your search engine ranking will drop, and all of your hard work will be for nothing. So before you look at any other modules, make sure you at least install the SEO Checklist and Google Analytics. SEO Checklist will be one of the most used modules in your SEO arsenal. It is powerful, easy to use, and gives you a handy to-do list. Now, as it says on the project page, this module will not do your work for you – you still need to come up with your own SEO strategy. However, it will give you a good idea of what you need to focus on and makes the whole SEO process a lot more organized. Drupal’s Google Analytics tool is so useful because you can customize it to ignore things like your own web traffic. Normally, every time you check out your own site, you are potentially skewing your data, but analytics can be set to ignore certain users or pages. Plus it gives you a good idea of where your traffic is coming from, and what type of content is generating the most interest.
You also cannot forget to use social media in your drupal search engine optimization efforts. Using channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest can be valuable in helping you bring more traffic and potentially earning links to your content. Check out some of these great drupal social media plug-ins to make your life easier.

Generate unique content

This step isn’t unique to the Drupal CMS, but it is extremely important. Well-written, unique content is one of the most useful SEO tools. No one knows exactly how the biggest search engines construct their algorithms, but those algorithms certainly seem to prefer it when a lot of fresh content is being pumped into a website.  A great way to naturally increase keyword density for a website is to have a blog that explores and advises on key aspects of your business. That type of content is both user and search-engine friendly. Drupal, of course, does have a module that helps optimize content by giving you a quick analysis of whatever node you are working on, helping your site make the biggest impact.

SEO can be a very tricky process – you are essentially walking a fine line between creating something that people want to read and tricking a search engine into plugging your site without having to pay for that placement. Though, at first glance, Drupal might seem like an SEO nightmare with dynamic URLs and unruly tag editing systems, with the right modules Drupal actually makes SEO easier than ever. It is just up to you to follow through with what those modules recommend and to keep adding good content to your site.