Drupal Search Engine Optimization (SEO) overview
Develop a strategy and implementation which leads to outstanding SEO results.
Use a CMS such as Drupal which offers best of breed on page SEO capabilities.
A site which supports excellend on page SEO techniques to best serve search engine crawlers, giving the site the best chance at succeeding in search results.
Drupal Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO has long being considered a black art in the web development and marketing worlds. Over the years all sorts of nefarious and "black hat" attempts have been made to game the popular search engines. However, as time as passed the search engines have responded by not rewarding bad behavour. Websites are encouraged now to follow a set of best practice techniques to ensure the best chance of success at appearing at the top of the search rankings. The recent changes have been heralded as the "death of SEO". Really they can be best characterised as the "renaissance of content".
Without professing to be an accurate or exhaustive list, the "best practices" can be loosely described as follows:
- Write content which is compelling and answers questions users are likely to ask.
- Regularly update content so that the content is fresh and relevant.
- Design content which is of a certain length to adequately answer the question but not too long as to be overwhelming.
- Develop a solid set of inbound links from reputable sources.
- Have a clear site structure and information architecture to help the search engines how your content relates.
- Make sure the site is fast, secure, responsive, accessible and easy to use so that users have a good experience of the content.
- Ensure the "on page SEO" is solid with good support for page metadata and hieracrhy.
The first four of these items are outside the scope of the capabilites of the CMS. ie. they relate to the quality and nature of your content. However, the final three, in bold, very much are in the scope of the CMS. These are the areas we will address.
Clear site structure
Drupal supports many features which can be used to structure your website:
- The main menu defines the overall hierarchy and can be used to define the breadcrumb structure
- Taxonomies and nodes can be used for classification and hierarchy
- Fields can be used for relationships.
Designing the content model and information architecture are important foundations to ensuring that the site is arranged in a clear way so that it can be understood by search engines and users alike.
Fast, secure, responsive, accessible and easy to use
Google has released a tool called Lighthouse which reports on these key metrics for website usability. At Morpht we use this tool extensively in validating our builds. When it uncovers shortcomings we are able to investigate and remediate. In doing so we improve the site score and improve the chances of SEO success.
Morpht's sites score amongst the best of the world when comapred to other sites in the domain of Government and other popular sites across the web.
On page SEO
Drupal supports a flexible metadata system to help with supporting web crawlers better index the site:
- Metatags can be used to capture title, description and image metadata..
- Schema.org metatags can be used to further strengthen the metadata being reported.
- Sitemap.xml can be used to report on the content and update search engines.
Configuring Drupal to properly support metadata is the bread and butter of a Drupal developer and something we are experienced at.