LevelTen recently launched a series of SEO modules for Drupal with two primary goals: to continue Drupal's leadership as the premier SEO platform, and to make higher search engine rankings accessible for everyone.
For several years we have been giving presentations about how to build a results driven web presence. The cornerstones for success are having a solid website, and solid online marketing (along with good strategies). In most of our sessions we take time at the end to critique audience sites. During a stretch of conferences primarily attended by small businesses, we reviewed a number of businesses that were missing critical success components. They had poor creative design, poor usability, lacked conversion mechanisms, and a lack of SEO and other traffic driving features.
Of course the question everyone has is “how can I get a solid website with marketing on a small budget?" Most had already tried budget level outsourcing and the results were by and large a waste of time and money, although there were a few competent efforts. LevelTen is not set up for small budget projects, so we could not help from that angle, but I wanted to help find an answer for this very common problem.
Then a thought occurred to me: with the modern tools available, how hard would it be to train someone to build a starter CMS-driven website complete with a solid SEO foundation? My logic was that if you kept the site simple and got some training to get going in the right direction, a Do-It-Yourself effort would be the least risky way to assure you got something useful.
We created a one day training course to help people do just that. The key was to use the Essentials Drupal distribution. It gave us all the modules we needed for a starter Web 2.0 business site with SEO. The training focused on four areas:
- Installing and configuring a Drupal site
- Managing content and site navigation
- Selecting and tweaking a quality theme
- Search engine optimization
At first, installation was the biggest challenge. This was mostly solved once we consolidated everyone on a reliable budget level host. Then the biggest challenge became the SEO.
OK, almost the answer
The formula for getting search engine traffic is:
Good Content + Good Architecture + Good backlinks = higher rankings
Thankfully, Drupal with a few critical modules and a well coded theme has good architecture taken care of. For backlinks, we provided a list of good directories and recommendations for other link sources. For good content, we provided guidelines for selecting and tweaking keywords and for optimizing content.
The content training involved a lot of external tools that were mostly free, but not very convenient. There was a lot of copying and pasting, clicking over to other websites and figuring out those darn captchas. Ultimately, most of the aspiring SEO experts found it all too cumbersome and stopped doing optimization on their content.
A better answer
A better solution would be to bring all the search engine optimization tools into Drupal in a way that seamlessly integrated into content workflows. A little more than a year ago we launched the Content Optimizer as a quick and easy way for people to check how well they are following basic guidelines for content SEO. It was a helpful start, but there was more to be done.
Over the last couple months we have been working on rebuilding that concept into a stackable set of SEO and content improvement tools integrated into a single Content Analysis API. It is a sort of Swiss Army knife for optimizing content. It has been a lot of weekend work, but we are happy to announce we have completed the six core analyzers:
- Quick SEO: Provides a quick and easy analysis of content to help your site rank better in the search engines for a specific keyword.
- Scribe SEO: Provides advanced analysis of content to help your site rank better in the search engines. Includes an array of reports including; keyword extraction, keyword tuning recommendations, search volume data, example SERPs listing and more.
- Readability: Grades content based on five popular automated readability tests for content
- W3C Analyzer: Test content for W3C validation
- Keyword Research: Provides an array of tools for analyzing and discovering keyword phrases. Also helps with tagging nodes with keywords.
- Keyword Analysis: Keyword extractor that generates keyword phrases from page content.
We do plan to release a few more advanced modules in the future, but these will go a long way to helping you get more traffic and write better content.
For All of Us
We also built these tools for us. To help us do things a little more efficiently so we can spend less time jumping between 3rd party tools, spreadsheets and site content and more time optimizing. However, the primary audience is non-SEO experts.
Drupal excels at Web 2.0 sites where the whole staff is adding content, enterprise websites with teams of knowledge workers and communities featuring volumes of user driven content. These tools are for those masses entering and editing content that haven't had the benefit of studying SEO for years.
So enjoy, and we would love to get your feedback.