Is Drupal SEO Friendly?

Posted By Harry on May 7th, 2009

"Is Drupal SEO friendly?" It's a question that we hear a lot -- and with good reason. Our clients know that search engine success could make or break their online efforts. Some will say it's overrated, but like it or not, "SEO" remains one of the top buzzwords in the industry.

To answer the question, "Is Drupal SEO Friendly?", we need to first define what we mean by the question. If the question is whether Drupal sites inherently do better in the search engines, the answer is unfortunately "No." What we can say (and what we do tell our clients) is that Drupal, with the help of a few modules, makes it easy for you to do the things that tend to result in a higher rate of search engine success. In other words, Drupal makes it easy to practice good SEO. Here are some examples:

Clean ("Pretty") URLs - Out of the box, Drupal includes the ability to give pages on your site aliases, so instead of something ugly like "yoursite.com/node/23", you can pick something nice like "yoursite.com/products/baseball". The latter is easier for people to read, and search engines prefer it as well. With the addition of the Pathauto module, your site will automatically generate URLs that match the content you create. SEO friendly URLs will be created for you without any extra effort on your part.

Global Redirect - Once you've created URL aliases, you'll effectively be left with two URLs that go to the same page - the pretty one, and the default system one. This poses a bit of a problem. As you may know, Google frowns upon duplicate content, and penalizes this content in its rankings. In addition, you may find that some people are linking to one URL and others are linking to the other, which isn't desireable for a number of reasons. Fortunately, the Global Redirect module solves all these problems by setting up permanent redirects to your URL aliases. In the eyes of Google, the two "pages" will be one and the same.

Page Title - The title tag is widely recognized as a key element in every page's ranking in the search engine. As you might guess from its name, the Page Title module gives you greater control over the title tag for the content you create.

MetaTags - Meta keywords and meta description are still believed to play an important role in search engine rankings. In addition, meta descriptions provide search engines with text to display on the results page. The MetaTags module provides fields to make it as painless as possible to generate this meta data when you add content to your site. Between Page Title and MetaTags, you're free to SEO to your heart's content.

serpThe Meta Description at Work

Site map - The Site map module will dynamically create a complete sitemap for your site. The creation of a sitemap ensures that the search engines will begin to crawl your new site as soon as possible, which means you'll spend less time waiting for your content to show up in Google's search results.

Analytics - This module does one thing, and it does it well. The Analytics module makes it easy to install Google Analytics on your site. All you need to do is plug in your unique tracking code, and you're done. While this addition doesn't directly impact your SEO, it deserves inclusion because keeping track of your analytics numbers is critical to your overall SEO campaign. Once you can begin to see what works and what doesn't, you can do more of what works, and less of what doesn't.

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