Fundamentals of Drupal On Page SEO

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Fundamentals of Drupal On Page SEO

Drupal is renowned for having a great SEO architecture. However architecture alone will not achieve top search engine rankings. A critical component is having well optimized content, through a process called on page SEO. In this article we will cover some fundimental guidelines for on page SEO that will help your pages rank higher in the search engines.

Great content

It is often said that content is king, but how do we create great content? I like to break copy writing into three areas:
  1. value
  2. on page optimization

Write about what people will find valuable

It is difficult for the search engines to interpret what is considered valuable for human readers, therefor high value content is not a true technical consideration in search engine rankings. However, if you write about things people are interested in all kinds of good things are more likely to happen that search engines can measure such as backlinks or article engagement (a.k.a. comments). Additionally great content engages people, building your brand and creating conversions. After all, what is the point to have a high ranking in the search engine, only to land people on low content value page. That is doing a lot of SEO work just to disappoint people. Here are some good articles about writing valuable content:

Focus your content

This is an area where I often struggle. Each page on your site should be focused around a single topic. Ideally a topic that people are searching for. It is important to know the popular phrases people are searching. The both tells you what topics people are interested in and what topics will drive traffic to your page. By using keyword research tools you can get a good estimate of what people are searching for. Luckily in Drupal, there is a module for that. Once you have identified good keywords through your research, the last step is to write and optimize your content around your targeted keyword phrase.

On Page Optimization

To understand On Page SEO, it helps to understand how web page markup works. Markup is the coding system behind web pages that mix content and tags. Content can be text, images, embed objects such as Flash, etc. Tags are codes that provide various information such as layout, style, semantics and other structural or functional information. You can view the markup of a web page by doing a "view source" in your browser. Markup can get quite complex. Luckily, you don't have to understand all of it to do effective on page SEO. Below is a simplified markup for a web page. Creative uses of Blue widgets for the holidays - Walla Walla, WA 10 fun and festive uses of blue widgets to brighten up you holiday season. blue widgets, blu, widets, Christmas, New Years, Hanukkah, Hannukah or Chanukah, Festivus

Blue widgets for the holidays

Blue widgets are great all year round, but there are some especially fun uses during the holidays. ...
Web pages are broken into two major sections, head and body. Body is where the content, e.g. the viewable parts, of the page goes. Head provides meta information about the page and generally does not include content you see on the web page. On page optimization is about blending in our targeted keyword phrase in the right places withing the page markup. The most important area of the page is the page title. The concept of a "page title" can be somewhat confusing because there are two areas that are commonly referred to as the page "title". The page title we are talking about here is the one between the tag in the head area. This is the title that is displayed at the very top of your browser. <img src=" - browser screenshot_0.PNG" alt="seo title tags example" title="seo title tags example"/> Page titles are often confused with page headers found between the <hn>. N can be any number between 1 through 6 where 1 is the most important. In Drupal this can be even more confusing because a node has a single title field. What is done with the title text is dependent on your theme, however typically the text is used for both the page header and page title. This is where the <a href="">Page Title module</a> is helpful. It provides the option of a second field called "page title" where you can control the page title independent of the page header. The guidelines for optimizing page titles is to make them between 40 and 70 characters and include your targeted keyword phase once. All the text between the tags is considered the body area. This includes the page header. The body area is the second most important area of your page. The general guidelines for optimizing the body area is to make your content 200 to 800 words long and included your targeted keyword phrase two to four times, preferably towards the beginning of your copy. The last two important areas are the meta description and meta keywords. These are found in the head area within the meta tag. In the old days of SEO the meta keyword tag was vitally important. Now though, search engines give little value to the meta keywords tag, but it is still a good place to put related phrases such as synonyms, misspellings and adjectives. The meta description is not that important for where you page will rank but is used by several search engines as the summary text in their listing of your page. Therefore it is good to put an accurate and motivational summary to excite people to click through to your page. The guidelines for meta keywords is to put 5 to 15 keyword phrases and don't repeat phrases. The guidelines for the meta description is create a good, enticing summary from 10 to 50 words. Note that to add meta tags to your keyword you will need the <a href="">Meta Tags (aka Node Words) module</a>. <h3>The easy button</h3> Even these basic guidelines for on page optimization can take some work to keep up with. In the old days you had to do a lot of copying and pasting to a word processor to count characters, words and keyword phrase counts. Luckily your site is in Drupal, so there is a module to help you out. The <a href="">Content Optimizer module</a> gives you a one click analysis of the optimization of your page areas and provides recommendations right in your site. It even lets you analyze other pages on the web so you can see how well optimized other site are. Below is a demo of how it works. <object width="640" height="385"><param name="movie" value=""/><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"/><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"/><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="640" height="385"/></object> <strong>Have you found any other tips or tricks that help your Drupal site perform well in organic search? Any modules that you really enjoy using? Leave your thoughts below in the comments!</strong> </hn>

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