The COVID-19 pandemic catalyzed the already dynamic digital market, which eventually resulted in an exponential projection in internet usage, an approx increase of 34%. However, this projection did not translate to heavy search traffic on websites across many industries. Even though customers wanted solutions online, this expectation was rarely met by the businesses. The most plausible reason was the inability to comply with the recommendation algorithm due to a lack of optimized content that can be triggered in suitable search results on search engines.
When talking about employing SEO best practices in a website, users do not realize that the CMS plays a major role. Just merely stuffing keywords would no longer boost your SERP rankings. It now involves implementing a set of best practices. A CMS, like Drupal, is versatile and gives the content creators the power to generate content faster while complying with such marketing needs. In this blog, we will decode why SEO is more important than ever, where Drupal 9 plays a part, and what can be done to implement the SEO best practices using Drupal 9.
SEO is more important than ever - true. Decoding ‘why’
In these times and beyond, businesses both essential or non-essential will need SEO for driving a positive impact on the website traffic in the long term. The following points substantiate the need for SEO at any given point in time:
- SEO is not a magic wand, but a long-term gain: It is not merely about implementing a set of best practices. Rather, about gaining trust from the search engines.
- It is not just ‘traffic’: It is about qualified visitors. Highlighting your website to the right set of people.
- People will SEARCH: The growing reliance on search engines is spearheading innovation and integrations. From text to voice, the transition is rapid and thus indispensable.
- Local focussed searches: With frequent alternates between COVID19 waves and lockdowns across cities, finding information about your local business online is bliss.
- The Growing Dominance of Voice Searches and Accessibility Needs: Voice searches are actually a disruptor and gone long beyond being a fad. It is changing the webspace as we use it. This also translates into changing the traditional way SEO works. Therefore to stay relevant in the SERP ranking, it is important to comply with the changing phase of search engine algorithms. Also, even though not a Google ranking factor yet, W3C is closely related to SEO. These two overlap on the account of the same goal orientation, which is breaking down the barriers for more content visibility.
Drupal and SEO - Connecting the Dots
While it is established that SEO is essential, it is noteworthy that it does not work as it used to in the past decade. It is now about building a powerful SEO strategy, which can be implemented using a versatile and robust CMS like Drupal. The release of Drupal 8 had already laid the foundation of giving more control to content authors and the legacy continues to bloom with Drupal 9. Twig, API-first approach, drag & drop layout builder are noteworthy creator-centric features that empower authors to generate quality content quickly.
Drupal 9’s built-in SEO capabilities, along with the powerful tools it brings in for the content creators, pitches it as an obvious choice of CMS. Its SEO-friendly naming conventions, mobile-first approach, faster page loading speed, content tagging account for easier recognition of your site with search engines.
Its W3C capability gives it an added edge over other CMSs for complex projects. So with targeted content, well-coded themes, and usage of SEO-boosting modules can increase the possibility of the worthwhile ranking by manifold numbers. Thus streamlining the implementation of the SEO best practices.
Using the Drupal 9 SEO Modules
Having established that Drupal is the SEO-friendly CMS you need, the next step is utilizing it. The answer lies in identifying the right modules. Surely Drupal is a superhero platform, but it is its plugins that work as its superpower. With this being mentioned, it is also noteworthy that Drupal in itself is a sea of plugins. So, we are listing some important modules that you can use:
- Real-time SEO for Drupal: It works like a constant reminder. It keeps a track of SEO best practices and ensures that you adhere to them. The most common yet missed practices include post length, consistency of focus keyword, its placement, meta description.
- SEO Checklist: It is similar to the above module but automates most of the on-page activities. Although a very handy tool, this is not suitable for first-timers, for one needs to know the basics of SEO to make the most out of this module.
- Google Analytics module: This makes it extremely easy to track the activities on your website. Even though it does not impact SEO directly, the data, information, and reports make it easier to infer who your website works or not works for your visitors. The insights can help you streamline and strengthen your SEO strategies.
- Sitemap: This module helps you make navigation user-friendly. It provides the visitors a sitemap that is an overview of the entire website. It can also display RSS feeds for the blogs and various categories to explore within.
- XML Sitemap: It creates a sitemap file that helps to index your site on the search engines. Once submitted, the module will update the sitemap as you make changes to the website. This helps Google identify pages it needs to crawl as well as the priority of each page on your site. Higher priority pages get crawled more often.
- Menu Attributes: This lets you add attributes to entries on your menus for more control. Say, adding the “nofollow” attribute to items on the menu if you don’t want weights on them. Especially useful for linking pages on your websites to another but ensuring that you do not pass on any Page Rank.
- Metatag: Automates adding metadata, aka "meta tags". This helps search engines to understand your content. It offers over 300 different meta tags for different purposes, so take a look and find the right ones for your site.
- The Schema.org Metatag module: It could be used to further extend the Metatag module to display data in a structured format at the head of web pages.
- Pathauto: Drupal automatically generates URL/path aliases for content without requiring the user to manually specify the path alias. This allows you to have path aliases, such as “/category/my-node-title” instead of “/node/123”. The aliases are based upon a "pattern" system that uses tokens that the administrator can change. For more information, see pathauto.
- Menu Breadcrumb: It generates the breadcrumb navigation menu for each page of your site. It makes it easier for visitors and search engine bots to understand the navigation of your website. Thus creating a simple hierarchy of the pages and categories on your website.
- Search 404: It redirects any 404 errors to search pages. This works as a massive solution in reducing the bounce rates as visitors often abandon the website on hitting a 404 error.
Drupal continues to bask in popularity because of its high levels of customization and adaptability that enable users to keep up with the present trends - even in SEO. More so, Google has consistently prioritized organic search and the galore of Drupal modules comes to the rescue. Its CMS is well-structured for optimization and supports critical features. So, an ever-evolving SEO strategy is a must-have quarterly goal for you. However, setting this up can be time-consuming and certified experts like us can help you in configuring the setup.