“Hasty climbers have sudden falls...”
So you're ready to take off. To release into the wild that shiny and new Drupal site of yours, carrying hundreds of hours of work. It's got the looks and it sure has the power, but is that all it takes to ensure it a successful launch? How about SEO? Here's the essential Drupal SEO checklist to go through for boosting its search engine ranking and for ensuring it a significantly high traffic wave right from its early days.
1. On Top of Your Drupal SEO Checklist: Is The Redirect Module On?
Take it as a more than handy solution for getting your users on the right track. The track to your Drupal site!
Practically here's how this module works:
- whenever a potential site visitor clicks a broken URL to your website
- whenever a user enters a typo while trying to access your site
… Redirect... redirects (obviously!) those users from their way to “no man's land”, where those broken links (and typos) would have taken them, to your welcoming front page.
Moreover, the module helps you keep track of how many times your site visitors land on your website via redirects!
2. Have You Been Using The Pathauto Module to Create MEANINGFUL URLs?
In other words: have you actually built your Drupal site for the users? And implicitly for search engines, too?
For, if not, neither of them will “digest” those “node/123” type of path aliases that Drupal automatically created for you.
This is where the Pathauto module comes in handy: it will set up specific patterns and rules to be followed when putting together new URLs, making site navigation a breeze for your visitors and search engines' bots crawling in.
In short: it creates “meaningful” links, replacing the “node-like”, totally user-unfriendly URLs on your Drupal site. How could we have possibly not included this point in your Drupal SEO checklist, right?
3. Does Every URL On Your Site Include a Target Keyword?
We're well aware of it. This sort of “mapping” all the targeted keywords on your website and all the associated page URLs is probably one of the most tedious of all the steps included in your Drupal SEO checklist!
Yet, it's worth it! And it's crucial that you carry it out now, before launch day:
- double check whether all those keywords included in your “target keywords list” (that you will have set up after a throughout keyword research process) are there, on your Drupal site
- next, that every web page has a target keyword assigned to
Where there's a gap, a “missing” keyword or a URL with no focus keyword, make sure you fill it in!
4. Have You Enabled the Site Verification Module?
No? Then hurry up and get it enabled and properly configured.
The insignificant time you'll spend and the little effort you'll invest in carrying out this quick step is minimal compared to the benefits you'll reap:
- the Site Verification module will indicate to you all the boxes to check for “reassuring” search engines that you actually own this site
- which will grant you access to more in-depth, private Google search data
… and help win web crawlers' “trust”; they will then crawl your website more “confidently” and this cannot but translate into high ranking for your new Drupal site.
5. Is The Global Redirect Module Enabled? And Properly Configured, too?
Is it a Drupal 8 site that you're about to launch? Then just skip this step from your Drupal SEO Checklist: in Drupal 8 the functionality we're about to point out to you has been “injected” into the Redirect module!
If not, we strongly recommend you to “team up” your Redirect module with Global Redirect.
And here are the arguments:
- it monitors and runs tests on all your URL, the ones without a trailing slash here included
- it makes sure that all your site's links are case-insensitive
- it redirects those “unlucky” users that run into broken links from a far less welcoming “404 page” to your site's front page instead
In short: as you leverage these 2 modules' powers you're basically welcoming in all potential visitors; both those trying to access your website and those who are already surfing it, trying to get to specific pages on your site, and all this even if they use broken access links.
6. How About the Search 404 Drupal Module?
And speaking about properly handling All user requests, even to temporarily inaccessible sections of your Drupal site, the Search 404 module makes your best ally!
It does precisely what its names says: it helps you greet those “unfortunate” visitors with a “404” page instead of a discouraging “Error: Page not Found” one.
Moreover, it “rescues” them from that “dead-end” type of page by recommending them an alternative URL on your site.
A true “bounce rate” killer!
7. Are Both The Google News Sitemap and The XML Sitemap Properly Configured?
And what handier way to make sure that they are than by simply installing and correctly configuring the XML Sitemap module?
It will automatically set up that bot-friendly map of your Drupal site that search engines can use to crawl in and easily index your website.
So, once you've enabled your module, make sure you go for the right configuration options at admin/config/search/XML sitemap and that you properly set up your XML Sitemap.
Note: no need to put together your site's XML sitemap if it contains AMPs!
Now that you've reached that point of your Drupal SEO checklist where you're addressing issues that might make your website inaccessible (or simply “unattractive”) to search engines, here are just a few more aspects to check:
- that you've left no duplicate content lingering on your website
- that there are no broken URLs
- that web crawls can easily... crawl any page on your website
- that there are no pages lacking any sort of content or having too little of it
8. Have You Used Proper OG Tags? A Key Box to Check on Your Drupal SEO Checklist!
Why should you rely on... chance while striving to make your shiny and new Drupal site ideally social when you can actually control its appearance on social media.
And OG (Open Graph) tags make a great example of how you get empowered to define, yourself, how your site will look on Facebook, which taglines to be used, which images etc.
Just double check that you've implemented the most suitable, properly descriptive ones before you... press that launch button!
9. Does Every Page on Your Drupal Site Have A Unique Title?
“A unique and meaningful title” we should add.
Do not underestimate the power of an attractive, SEO-friendly title! And if you want to make sure that all the pages on your brand new website have titles that:
- stand out in search engines
- stir attention
- match the user's search terms
… just lay back and let the Drupal Page Title module do all the hard work for you.
10. Are Your Meta Tags Attractively and Relevantly Descriptive?
They should be, so mind you don't neglect them before you let your site... take off! Since meta tags still enjoy a “VIP status” among on-page ranking factors.
- provide you with a user-friendly UI for managing your meta data
- enable you to easily fill in your metadata fields with relevant keywords, with a user-friendly, SEO-optimized page description and so on
- grant you additional control over your Drupal site's looks when shared on social media
End of the list! The essential Drupal SEO checklist for you to go through if you want to jump-start your SEO before launch day!