You've put so much effort into crafting and polishing the content on your Drupal website and it just won't... rank? Why is it that search engines' web crawlers won't index its “juicy” content? Why they won't give your site a big push right to first-position rankings? As it clearly deserves... Could it be because you're making these 10 Drupal SEO mistakes?
Knowingly or just recklessly...
And with the first 5 of them already exposed in the first part of this blog post, I'm keeping my promise and here I am now, with 5 more SEO mistakes that you don't want to make on your Drupal website, ranging from:
- embarrassing gaffes
- to faux pas
- to catastrophes...
1. Underrating Meta Tags: One of (Too) Common, Yet Costly Drupal SEO Mistakes
And let me just say it: forgetting (or choosing not to) to check those 3 on-page ranking factors:
- page title
... is one rookie SEO mistake.
And one costly neglect, too...
Why? Because by simply checking your meta tags, making sure that the content entered there:
- contains all the relevant keywords
- is user-friendly and engaging
you hit 2 birds with just one stone:
- search engines' crawlers will just know whether specific web pages on your site are relevant for specific search queries or not; whether the keywords that you will have added to your meta elements are precisely those that online visitors use
- users will get a “teaser” of what the page is about, helping them decide whether it matches their searches and expectations or not
Note: Drupal's got your back with a dedicated Metatag module that you should install even before you “release your website out into the wild".
2. Ignoring the Slow Page Loading Speed
If it takes more than 2 seconds to load... then you'll lose them. Visitors on your Drupal site will lose all interest in accessing that given page.
And could you blame them?
Instead, you'd better:
- blame yourself for accepting this status quo and refusing (or just postponing or not putting enough effort into it) to optimize your site for high speed
- rush to address this major UX issue risking to grow into a critical SEO issue
- compressing all JS and CSS files using a dedicated tool of your choice (and thank God there are plenty of those to choose from!)
- compressing all overly large pages
- reducing images, graphics, and videos to reasonable sizes
- disabling all those Drupal modules that you haven't used in ages (or maybe never...)
- enabling caching (and luckily there are Drupal cache modules — like Memcache, for instance — that can help you with that)
- upgrading your server or even moving to a new hosting company
- optimizing your site's current theme
See? Improving your Drupal site's load time is no rocket science and it doesn't require overly complex measures, either. They're no more than... “common sense” techniques.
Assess the resources that implementing them would require and... just do it:
- the user experience on your Drupal website will improve significantly
- search engines will “detect” this increase in user satisfaction
- … which will translate into a higher ranking
3. Overlooking to Redirect From Its HTTP to Its Secure HTTPs Version
Migrating your Drupal site to HTTPS is a must these days. Just face it and deal with it or... be ready to face the consequences!
Yet, if you overlook to redirect your site to its new HTTPS version, thus sending its visitors out to... nowhere — to error pages — then... it's all but wasted effort and resources.
One of those SEO Drupal mistakes with long-term consequences on your website's ranking.
4. Broken Internal Images
Leaving broken internal images and missing ALT attributes behind is a clear sign of SEO sloppiness...
And now, here's what we would call a “broken image”:
- an image that has an invalid file path
- an image with a misspelled URL
- first, a broken image has an impact on the overall user experience; your site visitor gets discouraged and quits the page in question
- next, search engines rate your site's content as “of poor quality”
- and finally, all these lead to an inevitable drop in Google search rankings
5. Underestimating (or Just Ignoring) the Importance of an XML Sitemap for SEO
Not generating an XML sitemap of your Drupal site is more than just one of those Drupal SEO mistakes that you should avoid: it's a missed opportunity! A huge one!
- an XML sitemap would include all the URLs on your website
- … as well as information (via heading tags) about your site's infrastructure of web pages, for search engine crawlers to use
- … “alerts” about which pages they should be indexing first
- an XML sitemap provides an early index of your website
- all the pages on your website get submitted to the search engine database even before they get indexed in their own database
Note: the sitemap.xml file not only that communicates with and informs search engines about the current content ecosystem on your Drupal site, but will “keep them posted” on any updates of your site's content, as well.
So, what an XML sitemap provides is a prioritized, conveniently detailed and easily crawlable map of your Drupal website meant to ease web crawlers' indexing job.
And the easier it gets for them to crawl through your site's content, the faster your site's indexing process will be.
In short: if the robots.txt file alerts search engines about those pages that they shouldn't crawl into, the sitemap.xml file lets them know what pages they should index first!
Tip: discouraged by the thought of manually building your site's sitemap? Well, why should you, when there are Drupal modules built especially for this?
From taxonomy terms, menu links, nodes, useful entities, to custom links, these modules will automatically generate all the entities that you'd need to include in a detailed sitemap of your Drupal site.
Just face it now: you'll inevitably continue to make gaffes influencing your site's SEO, no matter how many precautions you might take...
Yet, these10 Drupal SEO mistakes here, ranked from least to most damaging, are the ones that you should strive to avoid at all costs...