13 Helpful SEO Modules for Drupal 7

13 helpful seo modules

Drupal 7 is a great content-management-system with a solid foundation for SEO. Out of the box, it includes important capabilties such as clean URLs and CSS aggregation. Clean URLs transform URLs with parameters to URLs without parameters. As an example, a URL ending in ‘/?q=node/14’ would change into ‘/node/14’. This process is the first step to create user-friendly URLs. Aggregation combines many small files into one large file which, in turn, speeds up the site for users and search robots.

The power of Drupal lies in the depth and variety of available modules. We have put together a list of 13 helpful SEO modules to help drive a successful SEO campaign.

SEO Checklist

The SEO Checklist module is a useful list of recommended SEO best practices. It doesn't actually complete any work for you, but it does keep track of open and completed tasks. And best of all, it suggests SEO best practices to follow and other modules to install. Installation does require the Checklist API module. Beyond that, no configuration is required.

The checklist is divided into categories such as content, meta tags, and paths for easy navigation and understanding. It is highly recommended you follow the checklist to ensure your site follows all critical SEO best practices. As a bonus, the module will timestamp the new tasks you’ve completed each time you save the checklist.

SEO Compliance Checker

The SEO Compliance Checker module checks new and updated nodes for strong search-engine-optimization. It contains three parts: basic SEO, keywords and compliance.

The compliance part is required to do the actual checking for SEO best-practices. The basic SEO submodule lets the author know if any image, alt or a tags are missing. While the default is 100%, you may set the percentage you consider acceptable. The keyword submodule checks keywords by verifying usage in the node; this process, in turn, helps the node author create strong content that will improve placement in search engine results. The keywords module requires entry of the keywords into a field attached to the node or from either the Meta Tags module or the Meta tags quick module.

Meta Tags

Another important area of HTML used by search engines is the meta tag. The Meta Tags module enables control over the meta tag. It also now handles the page titles as well – the title tag, which is one of the most important elements of on-page-optimization. So you no longer need to install another module just to configure the title tag.

Once you’ve installed Meta Tags, you may set default meta tags for the entire site. Furthermore, you may also set various meta tags for nodes, users, and taxonomy terms. Individual content types may also be overridden. With the use of sub-modules, Meta Tags will also support Open Graph Protocol, Twitter Cards, and Dublin Core meta tags.

Pathauto

The Pathauto module automatically generates alias URLs based on a set of configurable patterns. It achieves this function through the use of tokens. Many types of content are supported including nodes, users and taxonomy. Module developers may hook into the Pathauto API so their own custom content will have URLs generated by Pathauto. It’s important to ensure you already have Clean URLs enabled to allow for non-query URLs.

Once configured, with text and tokens similar to “page/[node:type]/[node:title]” for nodes, Pathauto will automatically create a new SEO-friendly URL for each node. For example, nodes will show at /node-type/node-title instead of /node/111. Similar aliases can be created for users and taxonomy terms. Also, each node type, or each vocabulary set of taxonomy terms, can have its own alias generated. You may also bulk update or delete the aliased URLs.

Sub-pathauto

With Pathauto, a user path can be aliased from /user/10 to /users/joe. This alias is great but what about paths like /user/10/contact? For this function, a new module called Sub-pathauto is recommended. It will automatically create a new alias for you so that /users/joe/contact would be used instead. Every URL that is based on a pathauto or extends an existing alias is converted.

The only configuration for this module is how deep you want paths to be aliased. The recommended setting is 1; for performance reasons, this setting will not alias URLS like /user/10/contact/programming. The key point here is that you must determine if you have any URLs you need aliased deeper than one directory. In most cases, leaving the depth setting at 1 is ideal.

Global Redirect

You’ve learned how to create SEO-friendly URLs, but that does not hide all URLs from visitors. It is possible a robot may end up on an undesirable URL which will be indexed in search results. Global Redirect hides all URLs with an alias by checking to see if there is an alias for the requested URL and redirecting the visitor to the alias URL instead. It also checks permissions along the way, so you don’t have to worry about administrative URLs being accessed.

There are several options for the module: removing trailing slashes, disabling unclean URLs, and removing trailing zeros (used for depth in taxonomy vocabulary views). Each of these default options should be used unless you have a specific reason otherwise. Several other options may also be set based on your preferences.

XML Sitemap

The XML Sitemap module creates a sitemap based on your settings and automatically submits the sitemap to various search engines. Several submodules are included that can be used to add taxonomy, menus, and user profiles to the sitemap. Each content type is managed individually on its content type edit page, so you can set your basic page nodes to a different priority than your article nodes.

It is highly recommended to use the XML sitemap engines submodule to send your sitemap to search engines. By directly submitting the XML sitemap to Google and Bing, your website will be listed in search results pages faster.

Site Verify

Most search engines, and many hosted applications, require some level of verification or authentication to use their service. The Site Verify module makes this process easy. Major search engines such as Google and Bing come pre-configured in the settings; you only need to supply the authentication code in the form of a meta tag or an uploaded file. As a result, you don’t have to manually add the meta tag or link directly to the template files by hand. Any other verification can also be configured with this module, provided it is based on a meta tag or a hosted file.

Google Analytics

The Google Analytics module adds the Google Analytics code to your Drupal site. Configuration of the module is simple: just find your UA-## on the Analytics website and save to the module’s settings.

There are many additional options to track: filter by user roles or omitting results for certain page URLs. The default options are fine for any site. But you may wish to adjust the settings depending on your website’s business objectives.

Drupal SEO Tools

The Drupal SEO Tools module combines and integrates search engine reports, visitor analytics and optimization tools into one powerful module. It comes with a dashboard that combines webmaster tools and analytics. You can view a demo video at http://tutr.tv/t257which shows the best parts of the module. In short, the Drupal SEO Tools integrates keywords, content, links, titles, tags, paths, redirects, sitemaps, analytics, and webmaster tools.

Installation is a multistep process and can be achieved in one of three ways: through the traditional Drupal process of installing modules, through the LevelTen Apps Server (which requires LevelTen App Connect modules first) or through the Open Enterprise Drupal distribution. The module is dependent on several other modules: Features, Presets, Strongarm, and CTools.

Search 404

The Search 404 module redirects visitors from a 404 error page to a site search page. The site search page is based upon the keywords in the URL. Under a normal situation, when a visitor tries to find a page that doesn’t exist, he will be sent to a 404 error page; with this module installed, he will be taken to the search results page for a search of ‘[the-keywords-searched]’ on your site.

The module supports the basic Drupal search plus many search modules such as Apache Solr, Google CSE, Search API, and Lucene. Best of all, it requires no configuration.

Footermap: a Footer Site Map

The footermap: a footer site map module automatically creates a sitemap block that you can place in any region of your website. It searches through the menu items and creates a list of links organized by the menus.

After installation, the footermap block is automatically placed in your footer region. Several configuration options are available for you to set. The Recurse Limit option allows you to set how deep the site map should display. In most cases, you may set this option to 0 to display all the pages in your sitemap. In addition, there are also options to display menu headers and include administration menu links. You must select which main menus you’d like to include in the footermap block before it will display any links.

Content Optimizer

The Content Optimizer module analyzes your nodes to ensure they follow SEO best practices. It offers helpful statistics and recommendations related to the content of each node. The Content Analysis module is required for installation. Content Optimizer has several interfaces including a node edit display, block display, and an administration form.

Configuration is easy: just set character counts and the frequency of keywords based upon the location in the HTML of the page (meta tags, title, body). To use the module, you must enter the keywords for the node in the “Content analysis” tab on the edit node page. The analysis will present an overlay showing how well you met the criteria in the Content Optimizer settings.