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Oct 05 2021
Oct 05

Getting faster page load speeds isn’t just about increasing your Google rankings. It’s also about improving customer satisfaction and gaining new revenue. Using tools specific to Drupal along with other universal actions, you can reach your marketing goals faster than ever.

It’s no secret that page loading speed matters to Google rankings. Speed became a ranking factor in 2010 and since that time, developers and marketers have been looking for ways to increase it. Google cares about page speed because the search engine is focused on delivering the best onsite user experience possible. As a result, Google rewards fast-loading websites with better rankings. (The converse is not always true. Slow page loading times will only negatively impact your site rankings if it is very slow.)

As a marketer, your goal really isn’t better Google rankings. You are looking for the result of those rankings—more website visitors, more leads and more revenue. As a marketer, fast page load times aren’t the goal either; but, a means to improve your users’ experiences. Better website interactions can result in greater satisfaction, more conversions, and higher sales.

Faster Page Load Time Results in Greater Revenue

Faster page navigation means that users may see more page views each time they visit your site. Having a fast website means that users can quickly understand your offering and purchase your products.

Studies show that faster page speed results in greater revenue.

  • Both Amazon and Walmart, in separate studies, attribute additional sales revenue from faster page speeds. Their revenue grew by 1% for every 100ms of page speed improvements. For Amazon, slowing down their page load time by just one second could result in a loss in revenue of $1.6 billion. That’s a lot of zeroes for a measly second.
  • Shopzilla increased revenue by 12% and page views by 25% by speeding up their page load time to 1.2 seconds from 6 seconds.
     

Customer Satisfaction Increases with Faster Page Speed

Faster websites mean happier customers. Particularly, studies have shown that:

  • A one-second delay in page-load time leads to a drop in pageviews (11%), conversions (7%), and customer satisfaction (16%), according to the Aberdeen Group.
  • Econsultancy research found that 47% of consumers expect to wait no longer than two seconds for a web page to load. Additionally, 88% of people who experience a dissatisfying visit due to page load times are less likely to shop from that site and more than a third will tell their friends about the bad experience.
  • According to KISSmetrics, 18% of mobile users will abandon a website if it doesn’t load in less than five seconds. If it takes more than 10 seconds to load, 30% will abandon the site.
     

Is Your Website Fast Enough?

The evidence shows page speed matters. Is your website fast enough? At a minimum you should aim for under 2 seconds. For e-commerce sites, you should have even faster goals.  Google’s goal is 100ms—faster than the blink of an eye.

It’s quite simple to test your website speed.  You can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool and WebPageTest.org to take a benchmark of how your website performs. If your pages load in more than two seconds or if you haven’t met your page loading goals, you should consider taking some of the steps below.

Ways to Increase Your Drupal Website Performance

There are general ways that every website manager can implement to speed up page loading, but there are also specific Drupal tools and modules to know and implement. I’ll address both of these.

1. Keep it simple.

Page speed starts with choosing a design that is clean and fast. By reducing the number of components on your page, and keeping widgets and embedded media to a minimum, you are on the way toward a lightning fast website.

2. Cache your pages.

Drupal 8 enables caching by default for anonymous visitors. That is sufficient for small to medium sized websites with moderate traffic. You can select the maximum age for your page caching based on how quickly your website content changes.

1 day - good for websites that are only updated a couple of times per week. There is no commenting or other interaction on the site. (lead generation brochure site)

1 hour - good for websites that are updated once or twice per day. (ecommerce)

15 minutes- good for frequently updated websites. (news sites)

If you use Drupal 8 Views or Panels, you can get more fine-grained in your cache settings. The caching on each individual block can be customized as well.

3. Optimize your website to work with different devices and browsers.

You can no longer only optimize speed for desktops. With 60% of online traffic coming from mobile devices, a mobile responsive website is critical. All of the things that you do to speed up your website will help, of course. There are also things that you can do specifically to make your website more responsive for mobile devices. You should make sure that your website is optimized to work with popular mobile browsers. One of the most powerful things you can do is to implement the Google AMP module. We talk in detail about it in our article, How Marketers Use Drupal's AMP Module to Improve Google Search Rankings.

4. Compress your images, CSS and Javascript files.

The Advanced CSS/JS Aggregation module aggregates and compresses CSS and Javascript files to make your site run faster. Google loves fast websites and this module speeds things up with little overhead.

Drupal 8 Core has the ability to resize images and serve the right image for any situation. It can scale them, crop them, and much more. Consistent image sizes help reduce the bandwidth required to load a particular web page. This can greatly reduce load time.

5. Use a Content Distribution Network (CDN) with Drupal 8

There are a few third party tools that you can use with Drupal to speed up your website. A CDN stores your website on servers across the globe. CDN companies own data centers on every continent and in every region. Think of it as taking your server cache and making copies of it to servers that are a lot closer to your visitors. If the HTML does not need to be recreated by Drupal, then it is served directly from the CDN, greatly reducing the load times involved.

Example companies include (my personal favorite) CloudFlare, Level3, Amazon, and Akamai. The CDN module for Drupal is located here. There are also service-specific modules for CloudFlare and
Akamai.

6. Choose a host that can offer greater speed

If, after implementing some of the tips above, you are still not meeting your performance goals, you should consider choosing a faster host. When you look for hosting, you’ll find many options. At Volacci, we have experience with several dozen hosting companies that promise Drupal support and high speeds. In order of most capable to least capable (with considerable overlap in performance and cost), here is a list of the types of hosting you may want to consider:

Managed Dedicated Server(s)

A managed dedicated server takes care of all your hosting needs for you. Not only do you get the hardware but you get a team of experts to make sure everything is running as it should. They will keep your software up-to-date and alert you if there are any problems – often after they’ve already been fixed. You can deploy multiple servers in many configurations. For example, a firewall, caching server, database server or multiple http servers could all be part of a larger solution. It’s fast and reliable hosting. Adding multiple servers or getting help designing the perfect configuration for you is part of the service. Blackmesh is the Drupal-specific company for this kind of hosting. Also consider Rackspace.

Dedicated Server(s)

A dedicated server provides low latency which means a fast response time for most small to medium-sized sites. Consider that you need to provide technical staff to manage the hardware and software stack. Examples include  HostGator and 1&1.

Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting is scalable. The “cloud” means that there is a data center with lots of dormant servers. As your site’s needs scale up (or down) the servers in the data center respond with more server power. While it may be a panacea for some, latency and cost can be critical concerns, although many include CDN services (content delivery networks) with their packages. Examples include Acquia Cloud, Pantheon, and Platform.sh (both Pantheon and Platform.sh provide free trials).

Virtual Private Server (VPS) / Server Slice

A VPS offers a good balance between cost and performance. It’s similar to shared hosting in that you share a single server with other tenants. However, you get a guaranteed amount of performance on that server. Maybe 10% (or more) dedicated to you which preserves your performance. Examples include HotDrupal and Green VPS.

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is the rookie league of hosting. Your site sits on a server with many other tenants. It’s slow and not scalable but it is inexpensive. Examples include Bluehost and SiteGround.

Learn More with Drupal 8 SEO

If you would like specific details on how to speed up your Drupal 8 website and optimize it for higher Google rankings, take a look at our Drupal SEO Guide. This information is the definitive authority on SEO for Drupal websites.

Contact Volacci if you would like our Drupal SEO experts to create a plan and implement best practices that will maximize your website performance and improve Drupal SEO.

Oct 01 2021
Oct 01

drupal seo kickstart sources

Drupal is phenomenal for SEO.

When you use Drupal 8 for your content management system, you have a powerful tool to rock search engine optimization.

Working with Drupal websites for the past 12 years, I've experienced firsthand just how quickly search engines respond to a well-optimized Drupal website. I’ve seen customers triple their traffic in weeks after upgrading from another platform.

I’ve seen competitive advantages from site-wide optimizations like RDF or AMP that put my clients on the cutting edge of SEO because they use Drupal. The benefits are a faster website, higher rankings, and more traffic.

One of the main reasons Drupal is the content management system of choice for complex enterprise websites is the fact that it has been built from square one with the functionality and flexibility needed to optimize every node view, and snippet of code for search engines.

Drupal has brought many new additions for ease-of-use, functionality, and robustness. It is the superior method for creating and marketing your website to the world. Yet, for all its improvements, the most recent release still feels like Drupal. Faster, cleaner, more refined, and certainly more up-to-date, but still Drupal.

With the introduction of Drupal 8, I saw a need for helping marketers using Drupal make the most of the features available to optimize their website. With that in mind, I wrote Drupal 8 SEO. Written for marketers, Drupal 8 SEO provides the step-by-step details you need to rock Drupal 8 SEO. If you follow the steps in the book, the rewards will be great: increased Google ranking, higher website traffic, more customers and greater revenue. In fact, we based our own Drupal SEO Quick Start service on this book.

Drupal 8 SEO is over 200 pages of detailed instructions for making the most of Drupal 8’s core features and optional modules to optimize your website. While there is much to share, I have chosen six tips you can use to get started on the road to rocking Drupal SEO. Our Drupal SEO Guide contains the most recent steps used for completing your Drupal SEO.

1.     Download the Drupal SEO Checklist Module

I may be biased because I’m the author, but I believe the most important thing you can do is download the Drupal SEO Checklist module at Drupal.org. Robert Shea of IBM says that “Drupal SEO Checklist is the most powerful Drupal module that ‘does nothing.’ ” Essentially, this module just tells you what to do.

Following the Drupal SEO Checklist, you can implement the best modules and tasks that are needed to optimize your website. By giving you a complete list of best practices, it makes on-page Drupal SEO hassle-free. When you have completed the to-do list, you will have a fully optimized website.

The module’s tasks are segmented by functional needs like Title Tags, Paths, Content and more. Next to each task is a link to download the module and a link to the proper admin screen of your website so that you can configure the settings perfectly. Drupal SEO Checklist also keeps track of what has already been done by placing a date and time stamp next to each item.

The SEO Checklist Module tells you what to do, but it doesn’t tell you how to do it. For that, check out my book, Drupal 8 SEO, or our Drupal SEO Guide. The book and guide have been written to explain how to implement the suggestions in the SEO Checklist. You can even turn on Drupal 8 SEO Checklist Book page numbers so that you can quickly find the corresponding page in the book.

2.     Clean up your URLs

To make Drupal optimization as effective as it can be, you need to ensure your URLs are clean, your site shows the right content, and link value is maintained even when your content changes.

Drupal installs clean URLs by default and it can’t be turned off, but you can do even more with the Redirect module. In Drupal, using the Redirect module allows you to redirect from old URLs to new URLs. This is great when you’ve moved a piece of content to another section of your site or inadvertently changed the URL.

The Redirect module creates 301 redirects from old URLs to new URLs on your website. This aids SEO by making sure that any URL that ranks in Google will still resolve when a visitor arrives. This module automates what once was an arduous and ongoing SEO chore – fixing broken links. Now you can turn on this module and forget about it.Have you ever moved content, put the wrong URL on printed advertising, or migrated content from another website? Then you know the problems this can create. With the Redirect module you can also create your own manual redirects.

Another great module for SEO is the Pathauto module. Using the Pathauto module, Drupal automatically generates URLs for your content that are great for SEO. This means that you don’t need to manually create every single content URL on your website.
 

3.     Implement meta tags

is your drupal SEO properly set up?Meta tags are an important step to making Drupal as effective as it can be. Meta tags are snippets of text that are used to tell Google, other search engines and social media sites about the content on each page of your website. This helps your SEO by communicating clearly what you think each page on your website is about and how you want it described on their sites. If you don’t do this, you will have to rely on the search engines to make up their own minds about your content. While they’re pretty good at this, it’s important enough that you don’t want to leave it to chance.

  • The Metatag module allows you to automatically provide title tags and structured metadata to each page of your website. This module places both the HTML title tag and meta tags in the header of a web page. This means less code and faster rendering of your web pages which also helps with your SEO.
     
  • The Alternate Hreflang Module automatically adds hreflang tags to all or your website pages. Search engines reference the alternative hreflang tag to serve the correct language or regional URL in the search results. This is very important for multilingual websites.
     

4.     Communicate directly with search engines

Search engines want to help you help them crawl and index your website. In order to do this, they provide tools and reports to help you communicate with them and better understand what’s going on with your website. The marketers who do this well will receive better search results and get a lot of traffic.

  • The XML Sitemap module creates an XML sitemap of your content that you can submit to the search engines. An XML sitemap is a specially formatted summary of each piece of content on your website. The module creates a properly formatted XML sitemap that can be submitted to Google, other search engines and other sites. Having an XML sitemap helps your SEO by giving Google a list of all your pages that you wish them to crawl. While Google can crawl your site without an XML sitemap, the larger and more complex your site becomes, the higher the chance that their crawler will get confused and miss pages or even whole sections of the site.
     
  • Cron is a system that maintains and cleans up your Drupal site. It does things like check for updates, index content, and rebuild XML sitemaps. Now your XML sitemap will stay up to date with all the new content that you add to your website.
     
  • The Google Analytics module adds the Google Analytics code snippet to your website and allows you to control how and when it is used. Google Analytics is an incredibly important tool for any web marketer. It allows you to find valuable insights into your visitors including demographics, behavior on your site, where they found you online, what keywords they used to find you and more. However, Google Analytics isn’t perfect. For example, it tracks all visitors by default—even Admins. The Google Analytics module can fix that by only showing the Google Analytics code snipped when a non-admin is using the site. This keeps your data clean and your reports more useful.
     

5.     Download the best Drupal modules for SEO

No one thing is so powerful that Google is going to suddenly fall in love with your website and boost you in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Rather, all the tools work together to produce an outcome that is significantly better than the parts alone ever could. The Drupal modules I’ve mentioned above are just a few of the very best. I’ve listed others in the book and in the Drupal SEO Checklist including:

  • The preferred method of adding schema markup to your website is through JSON-LD (JavaScript Object Notation for Linked Data) using the Schema.org Metatag modules. While Drupal now includes RDF (Resource Description Framework) baked into the Drupal core, you will have a higher possibility of getting rich snippets in the search results by using the Schema.org Metatag modules. This is important because, as Schema.org describes it, "[JSON-LD] markup helps search engines understand the information on web pages and provide richer search results.”
     
  • The Google Tag Manager module provides an easy method of installing your Google Tag Manager snippet, and one that marketers can complete without the aid of a developer.
     
  • You want your site to be fast, and the Advanced CSS/JS Aggregation module (AdvAgg) is one way of making sure your site is as fast as it can be. The AdvAgg modules aggregates (combines), minifies, and compresses .js and .css files, reducing their sizes and improving the time to download.
     

6.     Speed up and secure your website

Two important attributes of your website are security and speed. Google rewards websites that are secure (using https with a valid SSL certificate) and quick to render. All the great SEO in the world won’t make your site great if you get hacked. There are bad people on the internet who want to break your website, infest your visitors, steal your data, and/or blackmail you. From the Panama Papers fiasco (yes, Drupal was involved) to your garden-variety script kiddie, you’ve got to protect yourself and your Drupal website.

Speed became a ranking factor for Google searches in April of 2010. This means that, all else being equal, the faster site will rank higher. Therefore, it makes great sense to ensure that your site is as fast as you can reasonably make it within your budget.

Drupal has responsive web design as its default methodology. That’s good because Google specifically states that they prefer this method for serving mobile devices. In this setup, the server sends the same HTML code to all devices and CSS is used to change the way the page looks for each mobile device. It allows a single URL for the same content and that’s great for sharing and for offering up pages to all visitors. One way to speed up your website and be mobile-responsive is by downloading and implementing the Google AMP module.

Learn More with Drupal SEO

Search engine optimization is a game of inches. A title tag that’s missing a keyword, a body that doesn’t talk about the topic, metadata that isn’t quite right. Together, that’s enough to kick you off the front page of Google. Using just the tips above will help you down the path toward a rockin’ Drupal website. Of course, there is much more to learn. If you want to optimize your website yourself, you can find all the details in my book, Drupal 8 SEO or our Drupal SEO Guide.

If you don’t have the time to optimize your own Drupal website, sign up for our Drupal SEO Quick Start program -- we'll get these items (and a lot more) installed and optimized in short order. Volacci can implement the best of Drupal SEO whether you are creating a new website, you are migrating from one platform to another, or you just need to fix what you have.

Sep 10 2021
Sep 10

normal difficulty seo task

https://www.drupal.org/project/honeypot

Credit & Thanks

Thank you to:

SEO Training Camp
https://www.drupal.org/docs/contributed-modules/honeypot

About the Honeypot Module

No one likes getting those annoying spam-bot submissions via their website’s online forms. It’s a waste of site resources that could be better used by visitors to your site. That’s why we’ve included the Honeypot module in our list.

The honeypot and timestamp methods have historically been effective ways of eliminating spam-bot submissions in online forms. The Honeypot module combines both methods into a single module that will work with all web forms on your Drupal site.

Install and Enable the Honeypot Module

  1. Install the Honeypot module on your server. (See this section for more instructions on installing modules.)
  2. Go to the Extend page: Click Manage > Extend (Coffee: “extend”) or visit https://yourDrupal8site.dev/admin/modules in your browser.

    honeypot module installation
     

  3. Select the checkbox next to “Honeypot” and click the Install button at the bottom of the page.

If necessary, give yourself permissions to use the Honeypot module.

  1. Click Manage > People > Permissions (Coffee: “perm”) or visit https://yourDrupal8site.dev/admin/people/permissions.

    honeypot module permissions
     

  2. Select only the Administer Honeypot checkbox.
     
  3. Click the Save permissions button at the bottom of the page.

Configure the Honeypot module

  1. Go to the Honeypot module admin page by clicking Manage > Content Authoring > Honeypot Configuration (Coffee: “honeypot”) or visit https://yourDrupal8site.dev/admin/config/content/honeypot in your browser.

    honeypot module configuration
     

  2. Select the Protect all forms with Honeypot checkbox.
     
  3. Select the Log blocked form submissions checkbox.
     
  4. Change the Honeypot element name to "mobile". This name could be anything, but you want it to look more like a valid field name.
     
  5. Set the Honeypot time limit to 5.
     
  6. Click the Save configuration button at the bottom of the page.

Adjust Honeypot settings within Webform module (optional)

If you’re using the Webform module, you’ll need to make a slight adjustment to the default settings.

  1. Go to the Webform module admin page by clicking Manage > Structure > Webform (Coffee: “webforms”) or visit https://yourDrupal8site.dev/admin/structure/webform in your browser.
     
  2. Click on the Configuration tab across the top.
     
  3. Scroll to the Third Party Settings section.

    honeypot module configuration third party settings
     

  4. In the Honeypot section, make sure that Protect all webforms with Honeypot checkbox is selected.
     
  5. Leave the Add time restriction to all webforms checkbox unchecked.
     

    Note: We recommend selecting the time restriction setting on a form by form basis. When it is enabled, it  prevents the page on which the form displays will not be cached, and can impact the overall speed of your website if you have a form on every page of your site.

     
  6. Click the Save configuration button.

Using Honeypot within a Webform

After installation, the Honeypot module settings are now available on a form by form basis.

  1. Go to the Webform listing on our site by clicking Manage > Structure > Webforms (coffee: “webforms”) or visit https://yourDrupal8site.dev/admin/structure/webform in your browser.

    honeypot module with web forms
     

  2. Click the Title of the form you would like to edit. This will take you to the form’s page.

    honeypot module webform example
     

  3. Click on the Settings tab. This will take you to that form’s settings under the General sub-tab.

    honeypot module webform settings
     

  4. Scroll down to the Third Party Settings section (normally at the bottom of the page).

    honeypot module webform third party settings
     

  5. Make any changes to the settings and click the Save button at the bottom of the page.
     
  6. Repeat steps 1-5 for each form that needs additional spam protection.
     

WARNING
Enabling the Add time restriction to webform setting will prevent the page on which that form displays from being cached, which will impact the load time of that page. A form that is on every page of your site should not have this setting enabled.

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Aug 31 2021
Aug 31

https://www.drupal.org/project/security_review

Warning: As of the date of this writing, this module is still in alpha release, but appears to work as needed. Exercise caution and conduct extra testing should you decide to move forward installing this module during it’s alpha release.

Credits & Thanks

Thank you to:

Security Review Module

The Security Review module automatically tests for many security problems in the configuration of your Drupal site.

The Security Review module reviews your basic security settings and tells you if there need to be any changes that will make your website more secure. More often than not, security breaches come from un-updated Core software or basic settings that are exploited and turned into a breach. If you close those holes, hackers often move on to an easier target.

Install and Enable the Security Review Module

  1. Install the Security Review module on your server. (See this section for more instructions on installing modules.)
     
  2. Go to the Extend page: Click Manage > Extend (Coffee: “extend”) or visit https://yourdrupalsite.dev/admin/modules in your browser.

    drupal security review module installation
     

  3. Select the checkbox next to “Security Review” and click the Install button at the bottom of the page.

If necessary, give yourself permissions to use the Security Review module.

  1. Click Manage > People > Permissions (Coffee: “perm”) or visit https://yourDrupalsite.devadmin/people/permissions .

    drupal security review module permissions screen
     

  2. Select the appropriate check-boxes for  
     
    • “Access security review pages”
    • “Run security review checks”
       
  3. Click the Save permissions button at the bottom of the page.

Configure the Security Review module

  1. Go to the Security Review module admin page by clicking Manage > Reports > Security Review (Coffee: “security”) or visit https://yourdrupalsite.dev/admin/config/security-review in your browser.
     
  2. DO NOT CLICK the Run Checklist button. Instead, go to the Settings tab.

    drupal security review module configuration
     </span>

  3. Set any untrusted roles. The default selections are for typical site visitors. Your site may need to add more.
     
  4. Under Advanced, you can skip any tests that aren’t appropriate for your site. If you are unsure, don’t skip any of the tests.
     
  5. Click the Save configuration button at the bottom of the page.

Using the Security Review module

  1. Go to the Security Review module admin page by clicking Manage > Reports > Security Review (Coffee: “security”) or visit https://yourdrupalsite.dev/admin/reports/security-review in your browser.
     
  2. Expand the RUN section.

    expand the run checklist section
     

  3. Click the Run checklist button.
     
  4. The Security Review module will run. It can take several minutes before it will present its results:

    drupal security review module test results
     

  5. As you can see, the Security Review module shows where your site might be vulnerable to attack.

You’ll want to work with your developers to fix the items in red to harden your website against malicious attacks.

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Aug 17 2021
Aug 17
expert installation difficulty

https://www.drupal.org/project/scheduler

Credits & Thanks

Thank you to:

About the Scheduler module

The Scheduler module allows content editors to schedule nodes to be published (and -- if necessary -- unpublished) at specified dates and times. This functionality allows you to plan and execute your content strategy, which is critical to SEO success.

Let me put it this way: Google loves fresh content. If a website has fresh content, it ranks better. But manually publishing a week’s worth of content requires you to remember to post each time you want a new piece of content.

The Scheduler module allows you to schedule several pieces at once, which fits nicely with your other automated digital marketing tools in addition to helping your SEO.

Note: Most of the configuration for the Scheduler Module can be done through the Drupal administration interface.

However, because Drupal’s Core Cron only runs once an hour (or in many instances, less often), you may want to configure the Scheduler module’s Lightweight cron for more granular control of the publication times.

This one step must be passed off to a developer or server administrator in order to make sure the scheduled published times can be accomplished.

Install and Enable the Scheduler Module

  1. Install the Scheduler module on your server. (See this section for more instructions on installing modules.)
     
  2. Go to the Extend page: Click Manage > Extend (Coffee: “extend”) or visit https://yourDrupalsite.dev/admin/modules in your browser.

    drupal scheduler module installation
     

  3. Select the checkbox next to Scheduler and click the Install button at the bottom of the page.
     
  4. You may get the message “Some required modules must be enabled” and “You must enable the Actions module...”. If you do, click the Continue button.

If necessary, give yourself permissions to use the Scheduler module.

  1. Click Manage > People > Permissions (Coffee: “perm”) or visit https://yourDrupalsite.dev/admin/people/permissions.

    drupal scheduler module permissions
     

  2. Select the appropriate checkboxes for:
     
    • “Administer scheduler”
    • “Schedule content publication”
    • “View scheduled content list”.
       
  3. Click the Save permissions button at the bottom of the page.

Configure the Scheduler module

  1. Go to the Scheduler module admin page by clicking Manage > Configuration > Content authoring > Scheduler (Coffee: “sch”) or visit https://yourDrupalsite.dev/admin/config/content/scheduler in your browser.

    drupal scheduler module configuration
     

  2. Select the checkbox next to "Allow users to enter only a date and provide a default time."
     
  3. Set the Default time to 10:15:00. That way, if a time is not specified within the node, it will default to this time. Servers use use military time, so in this case, we have specified 10:15 A.M., which is a good time to publish business content.
     
  4. Click the Save configuration button.

Set up the Scheduler module’s Lightweight Cron

If you’re working with a developer, you’ll need to ask them to set up the Scheduler module’s Lightweight cron for you. To get the appropriate information to make the request:

  1. Go to the Scheduler module admin page by clicking Manage > Configuration > Content authoring > Scheduler (Coffee: “sch”) or visit https://yourDrupalsite.dev/admin/config/content/scheduler in your browser.
     
  2. Click on the Lightweight cron tab at the top of the page. You will need to copy the section highlighted in the image below to put into your email to your developer.

    drupal scheduler module lightweight cron

Here’s a helpful email that you can send to your developer, making sure to copy the instruction portion directly from the Lightweight cron tab within the Drupal interface.

Dear developer,

We are trying to complete the configuration of the Scheduler module within www.oursite.com. However, we will need your assistance to set up the Lightweight cron, which will allow us to publish content in a timely manner.

The instructions can be found here but are included below: https://yourdomain.com/admin/config/content/scheduler/cron

***Paste the instructions here that you copied from the area of the red box from your website (see above).***

Please let me know when this has been set up.

Thanks!

your name
Awesome Marketer

Configure Each Content Type

  1. Go to Content Types by clicking Manage > Structure > Content Types (Coffee: “content types”) or visit https://yourDrupalsite.dev/admin/structure/types in your browser.

    drupal scheduler module content type configuration
     

  2. Next to your first Content Type, below the Operations heading, open the drop-down menu next to Manage fields and click Edit.
     
  3. Scroll down to the vertical tabs at the bottom and click the Scheduler vertical tab.

    drupal scheduler module scheduler tab settings
     

  4. Select the following checkboxes within this tab, which will give you additional options:
     
    • "Enable scheduled publishing for this content type"
    • "Enable scheduled unpublishing for this content type"
       
  5. Within this tab, expand the following sections: Advanced Options and Node Edit Page.

    drupal scheduler module advanced configuration
     

  6. Make sure the following items are selected:
    • "Change content creation time to match the scheduled publish time"
    • "Display an error message - do not allow dates in the past"
    • "Vertical tab"
    • "Expand only when a scheduled date exists or when a date is required"
    • "Show a confirmation message when scheduled content is saved"
       
  7. Click the Save content type button at the bottom of the page.
     
  8. Repeat steps 2-8 for the Content Types that need scheduling.

Tip: If you use event-related Content Types, it’s a good idea to enable the Unpublishing feature of the Scheduler module. Then, you can automatically remove the event from your website after it’s over.

Using the Scheduler module

  1. To use the Scheduler module, create a new piece of content.
     
  2. Go down to the Scheduling Options vertical tab and enter the Publish on fields for the date and time you would like it to when you create a new piece of content.

    drupal scheduler module how to use
     

  3. Uncheck the Published check-box that is right above the Save button.
     
  4. Click the Save button.

The content will be published on the next Cron run after the date and time you specify. The newly saved content will look something like this:

drupal scheduler module scheduled content example

  • The green notification at the top tells you when it will be published.
  • The pink highlight on the content indicates unpublished content.

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Aug 06 2021
Aug 06

https://www.drupal.org/project/diff

Credits & Thanks

Thank you to:

About the Diff module

The Diff module shows you differences between revisions to nodes. This function might not sound like a big deal, but if you see an increase or decrease in traffic, it’s helpful to see which edits caused the change. If you don’t use this module you should keep good records about every little change you make to your site.

To reduce the tedious nature of that kind of record keeping, turn on the Create New Revisions feature in Drupal Core for each Content Type using the Diff module.

Turn On “Create New Revision” for All Content Types

When editing a node, you can create a new revision without overwriting the original. You do this by selecting the Create new revision checkbox from the Publishing options tab. You can set your individual content types to select this checkbox by default when any new content is created. This preset saves a little time and ensures that revisions are saved no matter who edits your content.

  1. Click Manage > Structure > Content types (Coffee: “content types”) or visit https://yourDrupalsite.dev/admin/structure/types in your browser.
     
  2. Next to the first Content Type, open the drop-down menu under the Operations heading, next to “Manage fields”, and click the Edit link.

    content type edit link
     

  3. Near the bottom of this screen, click the Publishing options vertical tab near the bottom of the screen and make sure the Create new revision checkbox is selected. Some may have it selected by default, others may not.

    publishing options within a content type
     

  4. Click the Save content type button at the bottom of the page.
     
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 for each Content Type.

Install and Enable the Diff Module

  1. Install the  module on your server. (Go here for more instructions on installing modules.)
     
  2. Go to the Extend page: Click Manage > Extend (Coffee: “extend”) or visit https://yourDrupalsite.dev/admin/modules in your browser.

    diff module install and enable
     

  3. Select the checkbox next to “Diff” and click the Install button at the bottom of the page.
     
  4. There are no separate permissions required for the Diff module

Configure the Diff module

  1. Go to the Diff admin page by clicking Manage > Configuration > Content authoring > Diff (Coffee: “diff”) or visit https://yourDrupalsite.dev/admin/config/content/diff/general in your browser.

    diff module configuration screen
     

  2. Click on the Fields tab at the top to display all the Entity Type fields.
     
  3. Go through the Plugin column drop-down selectors for every Entity Type field and (if available) turn them all on.

    NOTE: The “on” setting will vary from field to field. Some fields will have no way to turn them on (“Don’t compare”) -- leave these as they are and move to the next field. Other fields will have multiple options -- select the one that best suits your site’s needs.

    diff module configuration screen

    At the very least, make sure the following field types are turned on:
     

    • Body
    • Title
    • Authored
    • Revision log
       
  4. Click the Save button at the bottom of the page.

Using the Diff module

  1. Make sure you are logged into the admin area.
     
  2. Go to a piece of content where you have saved revisions.
     
  3. Click the Revisions tab.

    diff module revisions tab
     

  4. You will see a list of revisions with radio buttons. Select the two revisions you wish to compare.

    drupal diff module in action
     

  5. Click the Compare selected revision button at the bottom.

    Note: If there are no revisions of your node, you will not see this option as there isn’t anything to compare.

    drupal diff module example in action

The node’s fields are displayed side-by-side with the changes highlighted. This screen makes it easy to see what edits made a difference in your search rankings, click- through rates, and conversions.

  • If you see “+” between the fields, that means some text was added.
  • If you see “-“, it means that some text was deleted.

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Aug 03 2021
Aug 03

https://www.drupal.org/project/search404

Credits & Thanks

Thank you to:

About the Search 404 Module

When a website visitor goes to a URL that doesn’t exist, the Search 404 module shows them alternative pages that might contain the content they are seeking. The module performs a search using the keywords in the missing URL to select appropriate content to show to the lost visitor.

For example, if a visitor goes to https://yourDrupal8site.dev/animals/cute-cats (which I assume doesn’t exist on your website) and finds nothing, then this module will search for “animals cute cats” and display those search results below the “404 Page Not Found” error.

This tweak to the 404 page helps your SEO by making sure that old or misspelled links to your site will still resolve to relevant content. It helps visitors find your content, and you want visitors to find the great content on your site. You especially want Google to be able to find related content if the indexed page has been removed.

Install and Enable the Search 404 Module

  1. Install the Search 404 module on your server. (Go here for more instructions on installing modules.)
     
  2. Go to the Extend page: Click Manage > Extend (Coffee: “extend”) or visit https://yourDrupal8site.dev/admin/modules in your browser.

    drupal 404 search module installation
     

  3. Select the checkbox next to “Search 404” and click the Install button at the bottom of the page.

There are no separate permissions required for the Search 404 module.

Configure the Search 404 module

  1. Go to the Search 404 module admin page by clicking Manage > Configuration > Search and metadata > Search 404 Settings (Coffee: “search404”) or visit https://yourDrupal8site.dev/admin/config/search/search404 in your browser.

    drupal 404 search module configuration screen
     

  2. Make sure the following check-boxes are selected:
     
    • “Jump directly to the search result when there is only one result”.
    • “Use a 301 Redirect instead of 302 Redirect”.
    • “Use auto-detection of keywords from search engine referrer”.
       
  3. Although there are many options on this page, you can leave most of them as you find them.
     
  4. Click the Save configuration button.

Now, try visiting a page on your site that you know does not exist, such as https://yourDrupal8site.dev/animals/cute-cats. You should see "Page not found" with the results of a search underneath it.

drupal 404 search module results page


 

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Jul 27 2021
Jul 27

https://www.drupal.org/project/sitemap

Credits & Thanks

Thank you to:

About the Sitemap Module

The Sitemap module provides an HTML sitemap that gives visitors an overview of your website. It also displays RSS feeds for blogs and categories.

The Sitemap module makes it easier for visitors to find content and that improves SEO. This helpful page can increase visitor time on site and reduce bounce rate.

Search engines will also crawl the HTML sitemap which, along with the XML sitemap, increases positive exposure for your content.

Install and Enable the Sitemap Module

  1. Install the Sitemap module on your server. (Go here for more instructions on installing modules.)
     
  2. Go to the Extend page: Click Manage > Extend (Coffee: “extend”) or visit https://yourDrupalSite.dev/admin/modules in your browser.

    enabling the drupal sitemap module
     

  3. Select the checkbox next to Sitemap.
     
  4. Click the Install button at the bottom of the page.

Configure Permissions for the Sitemap Module

  1. Click Manage > People > Permissions (Coffee: “perm”) or visit https://yourDrupalSite.dev/admin/people/permissions in your browser.

    drupal sitemap module permissions
     

  2. Select the appropriate checkbox to give yourself permissions for “Administer sitemap” if necessary.
     
  3. Since you want visitors to view the sitemap, you’ll need to select the check boxes to allow Anonymous User and Authenticated User to “View published sitemap”.
     
  4. Click the Save permissions button at the bottom of the page.

Configure the Sitemap module

  1. Click Manage > Configuration > Search and metadata > Sitemap (Coffee: “sitemap”) or visit https://yourDrupalSite.dev/admin/config/search/sitemap in your browser.

    configuring the drupal sitemap module
     

  2. In the Page title field, add the title of the page using some keywords or your site name.
     
  3. Add some text to the Sitemap message field that will display at the top of the page as an introduction to the page listing. This helps the page look more like a natural page on your website, and not just a “sitemap”. You can make this as long or as short as you like.

    drupal sitemap module content configuration
     

  4. Within the SITEMAP CONTENT section, select the appropriate check boxes. You’ll likely want your Main navigation and any other visitor-facing menus along with your primary Vocabularies (tags and categories).

    drupal sitemap module configuration settings section
     

  5. Within the SITEMAP SETTINGS section, make sure the Show titles checkbox is selected.
     
  6. Click the Save configuration button at the bottom of the page.

You can view the sitemap at https://yourDrupalSite.dev/sitemap.

what the drupal sitemap looks like

The little orange icons next to each section are links to RSS feeds. Visitors who want to subscribe to your site and return when you’ve published new content will use that link in their newsreader applications.

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Jul 13 2021
Jul 13

https://www.drupal.org/project/editor_advanced_link

Credits & Thanks

Thank you to:

SEO Training Camp: https://moz.com/learn/seo/title-tag

About the Editor Advanced Link Module

The Editor Advanced link module allows you to define title, class, id, target, and rel for links in CKEditor. This helps your SEO by placing more text information about each link on the page.

Install and Enable the Editor Advanced Link module

  1. Install the Editor Advanced Link module on your server. (See this section for more instructions on installing modules.)

    editor advanced link module installation
     

  2. Go to the Extend page: Click Manage > Extend (Coffee: “extend”) or visit https://yourDrupalsite.dev/admin/modules  in your browser.
     
  3. Select the checkbox next to Advanced Link.
     
  4. Click the Install button at the bottom of the page.

There are no separate permissions required for the Editor Advanced link module.

Configure text formats to use Editor Advanced link module

  1. Go to the Manage > Configuration > Content Authoring > Text Formats and Editors (Coffee: “text”) or visit https://yourDrupalsite.dev/admin/config/content/formats in your browser.

    editor advanced link module configuration screen
     

  2. Click the Configure button next to the first text type listed. This will take you to the configuration options page for that content type.
     
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and find the vertical tab called Limit allowed HTML tags and correct faulty HTML. If that tab is not there, skip to step 6.

    editor advanced link module allowed html tags
     

  4. In the field called Allowed HTML tags look for the tag.
     
  5. Put your cursor at the end of that tag within the field, and add “title class id target rel”. It will end up looking something like this but could vary:


     

  6. Click the Save configuration at the bottom of the page.
     
  7. Repeat steps 1-5 for each of the text formats.
     
  8. After completing all text formats, make sure to click the Save button at the bottom of the Text and Format Editors page.

Using the Editor Advanced link module when adding links to your nodes

  1. Open an existing node and click the Edit tab or create a new node.
     
  2. Select the text to be linked and click the link image button in the editor menu bar.

    editor advanced link module in action
     

  3. Open the Advanced drop-down section.

    editor advanced link module add link pop p window
     

  4. There will be fields to add a Title, CSS classes, ID and Relation information along with a checkbox that will open the link in a new window. Fill in the appropriate fields as needed.
     
  5. Click the Save button to create the link and make sure to save your content.

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Jul 09 2021
Jul 09

Thank you to Travis Carden for helping us get this module updated for Drupal 9!

The Drupal SEO Checklist module is sponsored by Volacci and was created in conjunction with Ben Finklea's SEO Books:

What does the Drupal SEO Checklist Module Do?

The Drupal SEO Checklist uses best practices to check your website for proper search engine optimization. It eliminates guesswork by creating a functional to-do list of modules and tasks that remain. Updated regularly with the latest techniques, it makes on-page Drupal search engine optimization hassle-free.

It breaks the tasks down into functional needs like Title Tags, Paths, Content and much more. Next to each task is a link to download the module from D.o and a link to the proper admin screen of your website so that you can configure the settings perfectly.

Drupal SEO Checklist also keeps track of what has already been done. It places a date and time stamp next to each item (when you click save). That provides a simple report that you can share with others showing what's been done.

Get the Drupal SEO Checklist Module

Download the module here: http://drupal.org/project/seo_checklist and follow these simple instructions for installing and using the module.

While this module is no replacement for proper Drupal SEO Consulting, it's a great start down the path for any Drupal website.

Jul 06 2021
Jul 06
normal difficul

https://www.drupal.org/project/easy_breadcrumb

Credit & Thanks

Thank you to:

About the Easy Breadcrumb module

The Easy Breadcrumb module uses the current URL (path alias) and the current node title to automatically create navigable breadcrumbs.

Breadcrumbs are those essential navigational elements that show visitors where they are on a website. They look something like this:

drupal easy breadcrumbs module

Breadcrumbs help your SEO by revealing the hierarchy in your content. Google loves hierarchy because it helps them understand your content. Visitors love hierarchy, too, because it helps them figure out your site’s organizational structure.
 

Install and Enable the Easy Breadcrumb Module

  1. Install the Easy Breadcrumb module on your server. (See this section for more instructions on installing modules.)

    drupal easy breadcrumbs module install
     

  2. Go to the Extend page: Click Manage > Extend (Coffee: “extend”) or visit https://yourDrupal8site.dev/admin/modules in your browser.
     
  3. Select the checkbox next to “Easy Breadcrumb” and click the Install button at the bottom of the page.

There are no separate permissions required for the Easy Breadcrumb module.
 

Configure the Easy Breadcrumb module

  1. Click Configuration > User Interface > Easy Breadcrumb (Coffee: “breadcrumb”) or visit https://yourDrupal8site.dev/admin/config/user-interface/easy-breadcrumb in your browser.

    drupal easy breadcrumbs module configuration
     

  2. In the General Settings section, select the following check boxes:
    1. "Applies to administration pages"
    2. "Include the current page as a segment in the breadcrumb."
    3. "Remove repeated identical segments"
    4. "Include the front page as a segment in the breadcrumb."
    5. "Use the real page title when available"
       
  3. In the Title for the front page segment in the breadcrumb field, you may want to consider entering something more descriptive than “Home”. You could use your company name (or an abbreviation, if the name is very long) or experiment with using a keyword that describes your website, service, or product.
     
  4. Unless you have a reason to change them, leave all settings in the Advanced Settings section at their default.

    easy breadrumbs advanced settings screen
     

  5. Click the Save configuration button at the bottom of the page.

The Easy Breadcrumb module builds the breadcrumbs from the current page’s path. That is, each "/" becomes a part of the breadcrumb. The first breadcrumb comes from the Easy Breadcrumb configuration page while the title of the node becomes the last breadcrumb.

easy breadcrumb example

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Jul 01 2021
Jul 01

https://www.drupal.org/project/google_tag

Credits & Thanks

Thank you to Jim Berry for creating and maintaining the Google Tag Manager.

About the Google Tag Manager Module

Even though installing Google Tag Manager (GTM) on your Drupal site adds a layer of complexity, it is far more flexible (and powerful) than Google Analytics (GA) alone:

  • GTM can be set up to track advanced analytics, like Scroll Depth, Link Clicks, & Video Playback information.
  • GTM makes it easy to install custom tracking, like LinkedIn Insights or Facebook Pixel, without developer help.
  • GTM makes it easier to track transaction data, like order amount, which is essential for ROI calculations for your ad campaigns.

While not difficult, it does take a little time and effort to complete. Below are the steps Volacci goes through to do a Google Tag Manager install on all our clients’ Drupal websites.
 

A NOTE OF CAUTION IF YOU ALREADY HAVE GOOGLE ANALYTICS INSTALLED

Except in very special cases, you do not want to have both the Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager modules (or embedded code snippets) enabled on your site at the same time -- it can skew your Analytics. We recommend coordinating the Google Tag Manager installation & configuration with disabling your Google Analytics module. Contact your developer if you have questions on how Google Analytics is currently installed on your website -- or if you have multiple GA codes deployed, which can complicate things further.

Google Account Sign Ups

While we offer top level instructions in this section, you may need to find additional resources on the exact steps for signing up for these accounts. Google tends to change things periodically, so it’s best to find their step by step instructions. We've included links to their current instructions in this section.

  1. If you don’t already have one, sign up for a free Google Account.
     
    This will include a gmail account. If your company already uses Gmail for email, then you can use that Google Account. You’ll use this account for all the sign ups that follow.
     
  2. Sign up for Google Analytics for your website. When you complete this process, you will have created a property for your website on the GA admin Tracking Info > Tracking Code page. There will be a tracking code there that looks something like this:
     google tracking id sample
    We recommend opening a text editor and copying and pasting this tracking ID so you have it handy for your GTM set up. You’ll be using this text document again later, so leave it open.
     
  3. Create a Google Search Console (GSC) account for your website. This account will track organic (search) traffic to your website and can also be integrated into your Google Analytics (GA) account.
     
    For information on integrating GSC into your GA account, go here for their detailed instructions.
     
  4. Set up your website’s Google Tag Manager account.
     google tag manager set up screen
     
  5. Fill out the Account Name and Container name fields with your organization’s and website’s information, and select “Web” under Target platform.
     
  6. Click Create, agree to the terms of service and GDPR rules, and you should be presented with a pop up window containing two different code snippets. The top one will look like this:
     google tag manager snippet example
     
  7. Highlight the GTM-XXXXXXX number as we have in the example above.
     
  8. Copy and paste that number into the same text editor you placed your Google Analytics tracking ID.
     
  9. Deploy Google Analytics using Google Tag Manager by following Google's instructions. NOTE: You’ll need the UA-XXXXXXX-1 number you pasted into your text document for this step.
     
  10. Submit your XML Sitemap to Google by following Google's instructions.
     

Install The Google Tag Manager Module

You may need to get help from your developer with this process. Contact them should you have any questions or issues. Sending along a link to this page could help speed things up.

  1. Make a backup of your website. If something goes wrong, you’ll need to restore your website from a backup.
     
  2. Install the Google Tag Manager module available here: https://www.drupal.org/project/google_tag

    NOTE: Drupal module installation instructions can be found here: https://www.drupal.org/docs/extending-drupal/installing-modules
     

  3. Once the module is installed, make sure it’s enabled by going to the Extend page of your website: Click Manage > Extend or visit https://yourdrupalwebsite.com/admin/modules.
     
  4. In the search box, enter “google tag” to find the Google Tag Manager module.
     google tag manager drupal module installation
    • If the check box next to the module is checked, then the module has been enabled and is ready for configuration. Move on to Configure The Google Tag Manager Module.
       
    • If the check box next to the module is not checked, it will need to be enabled.

      If you have permissions to enable a module, you can select the check box next to the module, and click the Install button at the bottom of the page.

      NOTE: If you do not have permissions to enable the module, you’ll need to contact your web developer to enable it and give you the appropriate permissions to install and configure the GTM module.


Configure The Google Tag Manager Module

Make sure you have that text document handy that contains the GTM container ID that was generated above.

  1. On your Drupal site, go to Manage > Configuration > System > Google Tag Manager or visit http:///admin/config/system/google-tag in your browser.
     
    This will take you to the Google Tag Manager containers page.
     google tag manager containers
     
  2. Click on the + Add container button. This will take you to the Add container page.Drupal google tag manager containers creation page
  3. Enter a relevant name in the Label field.
     
  4. In the Container ID field, enter the Container ID  (GTM-XXXXXXX) you copied from Google Tag Manager.
     
  5. Leave all other settings at their default.
     
  6. Click the Save button at the bottom of the page.
     

Testing Your Installation

We recommend testing to make sure your Google Tag Manager is properly installed and configured. Here at Volacci, we test in several different ways using the Chrome browser. If you use a different browser, some of these methods may not work.

  1. Go into the Google Tag Manager workspace for your website and follow Google's instructions for testing with Preview mode.
     
  2. Install Google Tag Assistant within your Chrome browser. 

    For additional information on how to use Google Tag Assistant for testing and troubleshooting your Google product installations, visit Google's support page
     

There you have it. You should be all set to gather Google Analytics data and make deployment of 3rd party scripts to your website much easier.

We always try to make sure our posts are as accurate and up to date as possible. If you find something is wrong, or you have a question, please feel free to contact us with any questions or feedback you might have.

And remember, Volacci stands ready to help you implement your Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics should you need us to.

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Jun 29 2021
Jun 29

https://www.drupal.org/project/robotstxt

Credits & Thanks

Thank you to:

About the RobotsTxt module

The RobotsTxt module is great when you are running multiple Drupal sites from a single code base (multisite) and you need a different robots.txt file for each one. RobotsTxt can generate the robots.txt file for each and gives you the ability to edit on a site by site basis from within the Drupal admin interface.

Volacci uses this module to make changes to the default robots.txt because it is not completely optimized for SEO.

WARNING:
Before installing the RobotsTXT module, you’ll need to delete or rename the existing robots.txt file in the root of your Drupal installation. The module will not work properly until this is done.

  1. Install and Enable the RobotsTxt module on your server. (See this section for more instructions on installing modules.)
     
  2. Go to the Extend page: Click Manage > Extend (Coffee: “extend”) or visit https://yourDrupalSite.dev/admin/modules.

    installing and enabling the robotstxt module in Drupal
     

  3. Select the checkbox next to RobotsTxt and click the Install button at the bottom of the page.
     

Permissions

If necessary, give yourself permissions to use the XML Sitemap module.

  1. Click Manage > People > Permissions (Coffee: perm”) or visit https://yourDrupalSite.dev/admin/people/permissions.
     
  2. Select the appropriate checkboxes for "Administer robots.txt".

    setting the robotstxt module permissions
     

  3. Click the Save permissions button at the bottom of the page.
     

Adding the XML Sitemap to your robots.txt file using the RobotsTxt Module

Note: If you do not use the RobotsTxt module, you’ll need to do things the old-fashioned way. Skip to the next section for information on how to make changes to your robots.txt file.

  1. Click Manage > Configuration > Search and metadata > Robotstxt (coffee:robots) or go to https://yourDrupalSite.dev/admin/config/search/robotstxt in your browser.  
     
  2. Put your cursor within the Contents of robots.txt window and scroll to the bottom of it.

    editing your robotstxt file text in the Drupal interface
     

  3. On a new line, add this to the bottom of the field:

    sitemap: https:///sitemap.xml
     

  4. Click the Save configuration button at the bottom of the page.
     

Adding the XML Sitemap to your robots.txt file without a module

  1. Download your robots.txt file. One way to do that is to visit https://yourDrupalSite.dev/robots.txt in your browser and select File > Save Page As... from the browser’s menu.

    downloading your robots.txt file within a browser
     

  2. Using a text editor like Notepad or TextEdit, open your robots.txt file.

    DANGER!
    Avoid complex word processing programs to edit this file because they will add invisible markup that makes the file unusable by crawlers.

  3. Add this line to the bottom of your robots.txt file and save the file:

    sitemap: https://yourDrupalSite.dev/sitemap.xml
     

  4. Here’s what Volacci’s robots.txt file looks like.

    Note: You will always want to use the https version of your site because not doing so will impact your SEO rankings. Contact your web developer or hosting company to make sure your site has an SSL certificate and that your site defaults to the https protocol.

  5. Upload the new file to the root level of your Drupal site, replacing your existing robots.txt file. If you don’t have FTP access, ask your developer or hosting company to help you.
     
  6. Verify that you did it properly by visiting https://yourDrupalSite.dev/robots.txt, refresh the page, and look for your changes.

That’s it! Now, any other search engines can find the location of your XML sitemap by visiting your robots.txt file.

Jun 22 2021
Jun 22
normal difficulty

https://www.drupal.org/project/xmlsitemap

Warning: We’ve had some trouble getting the Drupal XML Sitemap module to work on some websites. In those cases, we’ve used the Simple XML Sitemap module which works great but lacks some of the robustness: https://www.drupal.org/project/simple_sitemap.

Credits & Thanks

Thank you to:

About the XML Sitemap module

The XML Sitemap module creates an XML sitemap of your content that you can submit to the search engines. An XML sitemap is a specially-formatted summary of each piece of content on your website. You can read more at https://www.sitemaps.org/.

Tip: If you’re running an eCommerce website, this module is of particular importance. We’ve seen catalogs with extensive product listings increase traffic by thousands of visitors per day with a proper XML sitemap.

drupal xml sitemap admin page screenshot

Having an XML sitemap helps your Drupal site's SEO by giving Google a list of the pages that you want them to crawl. While Google can crawl your site without an XML sitemap, bigger and more complex sites confuse the crawler so it could potentially miss pages and even whole sections. If you don’t do this, you will have to manually submit every single page of your site to Google which is ridiculously time-consuming.
 

Install and Enable the XML Sitemap Module

  1. Install the XML Sitemap module on your server. (See this section for more instructions on installing modules.)

    drupal xml sitemap module installation screen
     

  2. Go to the Extend page: Click Manage > Extend (Coffee: “extend”) or visit https://yourDrupalSite.dev/admin/modules.
     
  3. Select the checkbox next to XML sitemap, XML sitemap custom, and XML sitemap engines and click the Install button at the bottom of the page.
     

Permissions

If necessary, give yourself permissions to use the XML Sitemap module.

  1. Click Manage > People > Permissions (Coffee: “perm”) or visit https://yourDrupalSite.dev/admin/people/permissions.

    drupal xml sitemap module permissions screenshot
     

  2. Select the appropriate checkbox for “Administer XML sitemap settings”.
     
  3. OPTIONAL: If you wish for your XML sitemap to include user information, select the appropriate checkbox for “User > View user information”, otherwise go on to the next step.

    drupal xml sitemap view user info screenshot
     

  4. Click the Save permissions button at the bottom of the page.
     

Configure the XML Sitemap module

  1. Click Manage > Configuration > Search and metadata > XML Sitemap, (Coffee: “xml”) then click the Sitemap Entities tab or visit https://yourdrupalsite.com/admin/config/search/smlsitemap/entities/settings

    drupal xml sitemap custom entities settings screenshot
     

  2. Select the checkbox next to each entity you want to show up in Google. You will likely select your Content Types and Taxonomies but you may or may not want to select Comments, User, or other items. If in doubt, include them, as they’re often good content for SEO purposes.
     
  3. Click the Save configuration button at the bottom of the page. After saving, stay on the Sitemap Entities tab and complete in the Configuring Individual Content Type Sitemap Settings section below.
     

Configuring Individual Content Type Sitemap Settings

For each content type you selected on the Sitemap Entities tab, you’ll want to enable their inclusion in the XML Sitemap and weight the content. While not difficult, you’ll want to weight your content differently based upon the type of content.

  1. Click the Configure button next to the first content type. This will display the XML sitemap settings page for that content type.

    drupal xml sitemap settings for the article content type
     

  2. From the Inclusion drop down list, select “Included”. A new set of fields will display.

    drupal xml sitemap settings for the article content type screenshot 2
     

  3. Set the Default Priority and Default change frequency drop down lists to the settings specified in the table below for each standard content type.

    Table: Standard Content Type XML Sitemap Settings
     

    Content Type Default priority Default change frequency Article 0.8 always Blog 0.5 always Basic page (if used) 0.8 always Tags (all taxonomy terms) 0.5 always All other content 0.5 always
     
  4. Click the Save Configuration button at the bottom of the page.
     
  5. Once you are finished each content type configuration, go to the Settings tab. Here you will see the different content types divided into tabs.

    Note: Frontpage is automatically set to a Priority of 1.0 (highest) - you’ll want to leave this as it is.

    drupal xml sitemap content type weightings
     

  6. Make sure that the Minimum sitemap lifetime is set to “No minimum”.
     
  7. Make sure that the check box next to Include a stylesheet in the sitemaps for humans is selected.
     
  8. Click the Save configuration button at the bottom to save your changes.
     

Building Your XML Sitemap for the First Time

  1. Select the Rebuild tab or go to https://yourDrupalsite.com/admin/config/search/xmlsitemap/rebuild.

    drupal xml sitemap rebuilt screenshot
     

  2. Within the Select which link types you would like to rebuild block, select all items.
     
  3. Make sure the checkbox next to Save and restore any custom inclusions and priority links is selected.
     
  4. Click the Save configuration button. This will generate your sitemap for the first time. To see your new Drupal XML sitemap, go to https://www.yourwebsite.com/sitemap.xml to see it.

The XML sitemap is automatically updated when Cron runs. That makes it unnecessary to rebuild your sitemap again unless you run into problems.

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Jun 16 2021
Jun 16
easy hreflang module install and configuration

https://www.drupal.org/project/hreflang

Credit and Thanks

Thank you to Mark Burdett for creating and maintaining this module.

About the Hreflang module

The Hreflang module automatically adds hreflang tags to your pages. Search engines reference the alternate hreflang tag to serve the correct language or regional URL in search results which is important for multilingual websites.

In Drupal, the Core Content Translation module does add hreflang tags to translated entity pages. However, hreflang tags should be added to all pages, even untranslated ones. This module manages this for you.

Install and Enable the Hreflang module

  1. Install the Hreflang module on your server. (See this page for more instructions on installing modules.)
     
  2. Go to the Extend page: Click Manage > Extend (Coffee: “extend”) or visit https:///admin/modules.
     installing the hreflang module
  3. Select the checkbox next to Hreflang and click the Install button at the bottom of the page.
     

There are no permissions to set or further settings to change.

an example of what hreflang looks like in the code

As you can see from the above screenshot in the example website, the hreflang for each different language version of the site has been set by the Hreflang module.

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Jun 10 2021
Jun 10

When you're working on your Drupal SEO, the Meta tags module is important to your site because it tells the search engines what the content you have is all about. That is right, it's pretty much data about data. And while this seems redundant, it is incredibly important for the overall optimization of your site.

A controversy occurred during the dawn of the search engines (circa 1997) when many people abused meta tags by stuffing them full of keywords. While they were invisible to visitors, search engines gave a lot of credence to the meta tags, so it was a viable way to get to the top of the search engines.

These days, search engines use metatags less for rankings and more for determining what your website and pages are about and which keywords they best fit. Making sure these tags clearly state what your site and pages provide to a visitor will go a long way to ranking in the search engines.

There are also specialized tags that can help with local SEO and provide information that can get your products listed in the Shopping sections of the search engines, which is always helpful.

To get step-by-step instructions on how to make sure your Drupal website's metatags are properly set up, download our free Metatag module guide available within our Drupal SEO Guide section.

***

If your website has specific needs (e-commerce, local, etc.),
feel free to sign up for a free no-obligation consultation
to see if Volacci can help you with any SEO problem you might have.

Jun 09 2021
Jun 09

expert metatag module install and config

https://www.drupal.org/project/metatag

Credits & Thanks

Thank you to:

About the Metatag module

The Metatag module allows you to set up Drupal to dynamically provide title tags and structured metadata, aka meta tags, on each page of your site.

what metatags look like in web code

Giving you control over your HTML title tag is the most important thing that the Metatag module does for SEO. That all-important tag is critical to your search engine ranking.

Note: It may be confusing that the Title Tag functionality resides within the Metatag module, but it makes sense from a technical standpoint. Both the HTML title tag and meta tags are placed in the header of a web page. By handling them both in the Metatag module, it requires less code and enables (slightly) faster rendering of your web pages.

Besides handling the title tag, the Metatag module programmatically creates meta tags for your website. Meta tags are snippets of text that tell a search engine about your pages. Meta tags help your SEO by communicating clearly to the search engine and social networks what each page on your website is about and how you want them to describe it in the search results. If you don’t do this, you will have to rely on the search engines to identify and classify your content. While they’re kind of good at this, it’s important enough that you don’t want to leave it to chance.

Global metatag suggestion screenshot

Because the Metatag module is so important, and there are many nuances to configuration, the documentation on this module is rather extensive. For this reason, we have created a free download that you can use to follow along to install, enable, and configure with the same base settings Volacci uses for all our clients.

Fill out the form below, and we'll send your copy right away!

Need help with your Drupal SEO?
Contact Volacci and we'll set up a no-obligation consultation.

May 25 2021
May 25

Credits & Thanks

Thank you to:

About Tokens and the Token System

To fully take advantage of patterns, you need to understand a little about the Token system.

Tokens are variables in Drupal. There are thousands of Tokens available for you to use. To get a UI in the admin area for browsing all available tokens (and have tokens that aren’t available in core), then you’ll want to have your developer install the Token module.

To see what they are and get a better understanding of how they work, you can go to Manage > Help and click on the Token link.

drupal token listing


Bear in mind that not all of the tokens are available in all areas. For now, we are going to focus on just a handful of critical Tokens that we’ll use to create our URL path patterns. They are:

[node:title] - The title of the piece of content being displayed.
[term:vocabulary] - The vocabulary (top level category, so to speak) of the current taxonomy page.
[term:name] - The name of the current term (bottom level category).

KEY CONCEPT:
 
Whenever Drupal sends a page to a visitor, it first replaces the tokens with the corresponding text. i.e. the “Today” token might be replaced with “February 22, 2021” or “August 26, 2021”.
 
Don’t worry if this doesn’t make sense yet. What you need to know right now is that we’re going to tell Drupal to create some paths for us, and we’re going to use Tokens to make it happen.

Create Pathauto Patterns

Drupal URL paths operate in patterns. Instead of creating a path to every single piece of content, it’s better to specify a pattern (using tokens) for groups of content. Drupal will follow the pattern to create the path for each new piece of content, ensuring consistency across your website.

You’re going to add a Pathauto pattern for each Content Type and taxonomy that you have.

  1. Go to the URL aliases page: Click Manage > Configuration > Search and metadata > URL aliases (Coffee: url aliases) or or visit https:///admin/config/search/path/patterns.
     
  2. Click the Patterns tab.
     drupal path patterns in pathauto
  3. Click the + Add Pathauto pattern button.
     
  4. From the Pattern type drop-down, select Content. The form will update to reflect that content type’s settings.

    Note: Leave existing path patterns as they are unless you have a good reason to change them. Any changes to these settings will not change existing pages, only pages created moving forward and could create issues with your content siloing efforts.

    drupal pathauto pattern type dropdown selection
  5. Fill out the fields as shown.
     
    • Path pattern: “[node:title]”
    • Content type: select “Article” and “Basic page”
    • Label: Anything goes. We use something descriptive such as “Content Types: Article & Basic”
    • Select the Enabled checkbox.

      drupal pathauto pattern field settings

  6. Click the Save button near the bottom of the page. The resulting page will look something like this:

    pathauto page results
     

  7. Repeat the above steps for each of your Content Types.
     

    Note: When you create new content types, you’ll want to go through this process for each of those at that time.

Now, when you create new pages of these content types, the [node:title] will be replaced with a normalized version of the title of the content. Drupal will change the letters to lowercase, replace spaces with dashes, and remove any odd characters.

For example, if you create a page with the title of “Cat Pictures for the Cat Lover in All of Us” would get converted to something like this:

https:///cat-pictures-cat-lover-all-us

Going a step further with Pathauto

If you create your patterns like the example above, you will have a flat website with no hierarchy. If you created three basic pages called “Our Products”, “Our Team”, and “Our Customers” then you’d have three pages that look like this:

https://www.example.com/our-products
https://www.example.com/our-team
https://www.example.com/our-customers

Maybe that’s what you want, but maybe you want something a little deeper. You can edit the patterns you’ve created or delete them and create new ones. For example, let’s say you’ve created a new Content Type for your blog called “Blog Postings” and you want them to be under the /blog directory. You’d create a Pathauto pattern that looks like this:

pathauto patterns using tokens and static content

As you can see, you’d enter blog/[node:title] in the Path pattern field. Your blog URLs might look like this:

https://www.example.com/blog/my-happy-cat
https://www.example.com/blog/my-big-cat
https://www.example.com/blog/why-i-love-cats

Or, if your blog focuses on a single topic (cats, is it?) then you might put this:

cat-blog/[node:title]

Which produces this:

https://www.example.com/cat-blog/happy-cats
https://www.example.com/cat-blog/sad-cats
https://www.example.com/cat-blog/why-cats

Better! Now you’ve used the powerful key phrase “cat blog” which improves your SEO for that keyword. Now, when you create each new piece of content, it will be in the /cat-blog/ section of your website.

Now let’s update your taxonomy terms. Let’s say you create a new Pathauto pattern that looks like this:

pathauto patterns for taxonomies in drupal

You might be wondering about the Path pattern for the Taxonomy term.

[term:vocabulary] is the top level category that the term belongs to. In this case, Tags.
[term:name] is the name of the tag (i.e., the tag itself).

In use, it might look like this:

https://www.example.com/tags/siamese
https://www.example.com/tags/persian
https://www.example.com/tags/abyssinian/

This is not an exhaustive look at tokens, but it should be a good start when conducting SEO for your website.

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May 18 2021
May 18
easy file (field) paths module install and configuration

 

https://www.drupal.org/project/filefield_paths

Credits & Thanks

Thank you to:

About the File (Field) Paths Module

The File (Field) Paths module extends the default functionality of the Drupal core File module. That is, it allows you to automatically sort and rename your uploaded files using token based replacement patterns to maintain a nice clean filesystem.

We like to use it to make sure all uploaded files (especially images) get renamed to something similar to the node title in which it's used. Not only does this help with SEO, it makes it easier to find the files within the file system.

Install and Enable the File (Field) Paths Module

Install the File (Field) Paths module on your server. (Go here for more instructions on installing modules.)

  1. Go to the Extend page: Click Manage > Extend (Coffee: “extend”) or visit https:///admin/modules.
     file field paths installation
  2. Select the checkbox next to File (Field) Paths and click the Install button at the bottom of the page.

There are no separate permissions required for the File (Field) Paths module.

Configure the File (Field) Paths module

The File (Field) Paths module needs to be configured for each content type that uses file fields that you wish to use.

  1. Go to the Content types page by clicking on Manage > Structure > Content types (coffee: “content types) or go to https:///admin/structure/types.
     
  2. Next to the first content type, select Manage fields from the Operations drop down selection box. This will take you to the Manage fields page for that content type.

    file field paths manage fields
     

  3. Find the Image field and click the Edit button for that field. This will take you to the Image settings for that content type.

    file field paths image field type configuration
     

  4. Scroll down to the File (Field) Path Settings section, and expand it using the drop down arrow next to the heading.

    file field paths configuration settings
     

  5. Leave the File path field at its current default or, if empty, set it to [node:title].
     
  6. Expand the File Path Options section and make sure to select the following checkboxes:
    • Remove slashes (/) from tokens
    • Cleanup using Pathauto
    • Transliterate
       
  7. Leave the File name field at its current default.
     
  8. Expand the File Name Options section and make sure to select the following checkboxes:
    • Remove slashes (/) from tokens
    • Cleanup using Pathauto
    • Transliterate
       
  9. Select the Create Redirect checkbox.
     
  10. Select the Enable Alt field checkbox.
     
  11. [Optional] Select the Alt field required checkbox. This will remind content creators to add an alt field for this image.
     
  12. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Save settings button.
     
  13. If there are any additional Image Field types within this Content Type, complete steps 3-10 for them.
     
  14. Complete steps 1-11 for all content types. If a content type does not have an image field, then move to the next content type.

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May 11 2021
May 11
easy pathauto module install and configuration

 

https://www.drupal.org/project/pathauto

The Ctools and Token modules are required:
https://www.drupal.org/project/ctools
https://www.drupal.org/project/token

Credits & Thanks

Thank you to:

About the Pathauto Module

The Pathauto module generates URLs for your content without requiring you to enter the path alias manually. In other words, if the title of your new blog post is “My Big Cat” then Pathauto will set the URL to

yourDrupal8site.dev/my-big-cat

instead of

yourDrupal8site.dev/node/23.

Putting the right words in the URL is great for SEO, so this module is essential to your project. If you don’t use the Pathauto module, you must remember to create every single content URL on your website manually.

Install and Enable the Pathauto Module

WARNING:
If you have an existing site with the Pathauto module installed and enabled, before making any setting changes, you’ll want to check with your developer and content creators to make sure that any existing paths do not get changed, which can create problems with your SEO.

  1. Install the Pathauto module and the required Chaos Tools and Token modules on your server. (See this section for more instructions on installing modules.)
     
  2. Go to the Extend page: Click Manage > Extend (Coffee: “extend”) or visit https:///admin/modules.

    Drupal Pathauto Installation
     

  3. Select the checkbox next to Pathauto and click the Install button at the bottom of the page.

    NOTE: You may get a message asking for your permission to install the Chaos Tools and Token modules. If you do, click the Continue button.

    Drupal Chaos Tools Module Installation

Permissions

If necessary, give yourself permissions to use the Pathauto module.

  1. Click Manage > People > Permissions (Coffee: “permissions”) or visit https:///admin/people/permissions.

    pathauto permissions screen
     

  2. Select the appropriate checkboxes for:
    • “Administer pathauto”
    • “Notify of Path Changes”
       
  3. Click the Save permissions button at the bottom of the page.

Configure the Pathauto module

The Pathauto module adds four tabs to the URL aliases admin page. They are Patterns, Settings, Bulk generate, and Delete aliases. We only discuss Patterns and Settings in this book:

pathauto installs these tabs
  1. Go to the Pathauto admin page (Coffee: “URL aliases”), visit https:///admin/config/search/path/patterns, or:
     
    1. Click Manage > Extend.
    2. Search for Pathauto from the module list.
    3. Expand the Pathauto module section by clicking on the down arrow in the description:

      pathauto configuration link
       

    4. Click on the Configure link within the expanded description area.
       
  2. Click on the Settings tab.
     
  3. Scroll down to the Update action section and select Create a new alias. Delete the old alias This will ensure that when titles get changed, the URL will change accordingly.
     
  4. Select the Reduce strings to letters and numbers checkbox. While not necessary, if you tend to use punctuation or special characters in your blog and page titles, it’s best to make sure they get changed to something more basic and easily readable.
     
  5. If you changed anything, make sure to click the Save configuration button at the bottom of the page.
     
  6. WAIT! You aren’t done -- Scroll back down to the Update action section and click on the Redirect module settings link or visit https:///admin/config/search/redirect/settings.
     redirect module settings link within pathauto
  7. Make sure your settings match those in the box below:redirect module settings screenswhot
    • Select the Automatically create redirects when URL aliases are changed checkbox.
    • Select the Retain query string through redirect checkbox.
    • Set Default redirect status to “301 Moved Permanently”.
       
  8. After any changes, be sure to click the Save configuration button at the bottom of the page.

NOTE: We’ll investigate the rest of the Pathauto module settings in the next section.

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May 04 2021
May 04
easy redirect module install and configuration

https://www.drupal.org/project/redirect

Credits & Thanks

Thank you to:

About the Redirect Module

The Redirect module redirects visitors from old URLs to new URLs. When you move a piece of content to another section of your site or inadvertently change the URL, this module can really help.
    
The Redirect module creates 301 redirects which help your SEO by making sure that any URL that ranks in Google will still resolve when a visitor arrives. If you don’t install this module, you will have to regularly look for any URLs that have changed and fix them.

This module highlights the power of Drupal, automating what was once an arduous and ongoing SEO chore. Thanks to the power of Drupal and the Redirect module, fixing links is a much less frequently needed task.

Install and Enable the Redirect Module

  1. Install the Redirect module on your server. (See this section for more instructions on installing modules.)
     
  2. Go to the Extend page: Click Manage > Extend (Coffee: “extend”) or visit https:///admin/modules.
     
  3. Search for the Redirect module in the search field:

    redirect module install for drupal 9
     

  4. Select the checkbox next to “Redirect” and "Redirect 404" and click the Install button at the bottom of the page.

Permissions

If necessary, give yourself permissions to use the Redirect module.

redirect module permissions for drupal 9
  1. Click Manage > People (Coffee: “people”) and click into the Permissions tab. Or go to https:///admin/people/permissions.
     
  2. Select the appropriate checkboxes under the “Redirect” section.
     
  3. Click the Save permissions button at the bottom of the page.

Configure the Redirect module

  1. Visit the Redirect Admin page: Click Manage > Configuration > Search and metadata > URL redirects > Settings (Coffee: “url redirect” then click the Settings tab) or visit https:///admin/config/search/redirect/settings.

    redirect module configuration settings drupal 9
     

  2. The default settings are usually adequate, so make sure your settings match the image above.
     
    1. Select the appropriate checkbox next to Automatically create redirects when URL aliases are changed.
    2. Select the checkbox for Retain query string through redirect.
    3. Select “301 Moved Permanently” from the Default redirect status drop-down.
    4. Select the checkbox Enforce clean and canonical URLs.
    5. Select “10000” from the 404 error database logs to keep drop-down
  3. If you changed anything, click the Save configuration button at the bottom of the page.

How to create a manual redirect

The Redirect module also allows you to create manual redirects. If you move content, put the wrong URL on some printed advertising, or you’re migrating content, this is an invaluable function to understand.

Note: Creating a manual redirect isn’t necessary right now. However, it’s an essential skill for a growing site, so I’m covering it here.

  1. Go to the URL Redirects page: Click Manage > Configuration > Search and metadata > URL redirects (Coffee: “redirects”) or visit https:///admin/config/search/redirect.
     
  2. Click the +Add redirect button.

    add a rule redirect in drupal 9
     

  3. Enter the From and To URLs in their respective fields:
     
    1. Path is the old URL that is broken.
    2. To is the new URL. If it’s a link on your site, you can use just the path beginning with the /. For example: /your/path/here. If it’s an external URL, put the entire URL including the https://.
       
  4. Select “301 Moved Permanently” (or one of the other options as suited to the situation) from the Redirect status drop-down menu.
     
  5. Click the Save button.

Now, when someone visits the old URL, they’ll be automatically redirected to the new one.

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Apr 27 2021
Apr 27

easy enable clean URLs for seo

A query string is text in a URL preceded with a “?”. Drupal’s “clean URLs” rewrite query strings into human-readable text. Query strings get in the way of search engines. Google’s not bad at understanding URLs with query strings, but it doesn’t always get it right. The best practice is to make sure your URLs don’t contain query strings.

Clean URLs are installed on your Drupal 8 site by default and cannot be turned off. But, it is possible that the server your site is on hasn't been properly configured, so it’s worth checking to be sure.

Complete Drupal.org documentation on Clean URLs can be found here.
 

How to tell if clean URLs are enabled

  1. Open an Incognito window and go to the homepage of your website.
     
  2. Click on a piece of content on your site. You need to navigate to an actual blog post or node, not the home page.
     
  3. Look for "?q=" in the URL.clean urls vs unclean urls
    1. If the URL looks like this: https://drupal8.dev/my-blog-post-title then clean URLs are enabled and you can skip to the next section of this guide.
       
    2. If the URL looks something like this: https://drupal8.dev/?q=node/4 then clean URLs are not enabled. Continue in this section.
       

How to fix your URLs if they are dirty

Here’s the good news: there’s nothing you can do yourself to fix your dirty URLs. You need to get in touch with your developer or hosting company and say this magic sentence:

“It looks like my URLs are dirty because I’m seeing “?q=” in the paths. Would you please enable mod_rewrite for Apache on my server?”

You can point them to this URL: https://www.drupal.org/getting-started/clean-urls#dedicated which explains things in more detail, but the magic sentence above will normally get the job done.

Once mod_rewrite is turned on, you should use an incognito window to test the URLs again.

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Apr 20 2021
Apr 20
easy admin toolbar module install and configuration

https://www.drupal.org/project/admin_toolbar

Credits & Thanks

Thank you to:

About the Admin Toolbar Module

The Admin Toolbar module gives you one-click access to Drupal admin screens. It works like a drop-down and slide-out menu system that is so popular on the web.

While we prefer the speed and ease-of-use of the Coffee module, there are times we need to see the hierarchy. The Admin Toolbar module provides that ability.

admin toolbar drop down example

Install and Enable the Admin Toolbar Module

  1. Install the Admin Toolbar module on your server. (See this section for more instructions on installing modules.)
     
  2. Go to the Extend page: Click Manage > Extend (Coffee: “extend”) or visit https://  
  3. Enter “admin toolbar” in the search field to find the module:
     drupal admin toolbar installation
  4. Select the checkbox next to Admin Toolbar.
     
  5. Click the Install button at the bottom of the page.

The Admin Toolbar module uses the Admin menu permissions. If you can access the Admin menu, then you have the permissions you need. Otherwise, you may need to get the appropriate permissions.

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Apr 13 2021
Apr 13
easy coffee module install and configuration

https://www.drupal.org/project/coffee

Credits & Thanks

Thank you to:

About the Coffee Module

The Coffee module is the fastest way to get to any admin screen in Drupal. As you SEO your Drupal site, you will spend a lot of time jumping into admin to change a setting or check on updates. You’ll have to go through menu navigation if you don’t have the Coffee module. That’s fine, but sometimes it’s hard to remember where every single setting is in the Admin Menu.

With the Coffee module installed, you can type ALT-D on your keyboard (Option-D for macOS) to have a text field pop up. Start typing into this field and the Coffee module will show you the admin menu items that match. Press the Enter key to select the first item or use the arrow keys to select a different item and press the Enter key to go directly to the admin page that you want.

Tip: Throughout this guide, you’ll see us present Coffee shortcuts when appropriate. For example, when we mention Coffee: "extend", then you’ll hit your Coffee shortcut keystroke (typically Alt-D or Option-D) and type "extend".

Install and Enable the Coffee Module

  1. Install the Coffee module on your server. (See this section for more instructions on installing modules.)
     
  2. Go to the Extend page: Click Manage > Extend (Coffee: "extend") or visit https:///admin/modules.

    drupal coffee module installation screenshot

  3. Select the checkbox next to "Coffee" and click the Install button at the bottom of the page.

Permissions for the Coffee Module

If necessary, give yourself permissions to use the Coffee module.

  1. Click Manage > People (Coffee: "people") and click on the Permissions tab. https:///admin/people/permissions.

    drupal coffee module permissions screenswhot
     

  2. Select the appropriate checkboxes for:
    • "Access Coffee"
    • "Administer Coffee"
       
  3. Click the Save permissions button at the bottom of the page.

Configure the Coffee module

  1. Go to the Coffee admin page: Click Manage > Configuration > User Interface > Coffee (Coffee: "coffee") or visit https:///admin/config/user- interface/coffee.

    drupal coffee module configuration screenshot

  2. Select the checkbox next to any additional menus that you want to include in the Coffee interface. We typically include them all, but if it starts getting cluttered, then you can take them out later.
     
  3. Click the Save configuration button at the bottom of the page.

Using the Coffee Module

  1. To access the Coffee interface, click the following key combination based upon your computer type:

         PC: alt+D (or alt+K)
         Mac: opt+D
     

  2. Start typing the name of the Drupal admin section you are looking for. For example, if you are trying to get to the Metatag settings interface, you would start typing "metatags" -- entering the first few letters will normally bring up what you're looking for, but can also provide other related settings as well.

    Drupal coffee module interface
     

  3. Click the appropriate result item to take you where you want to go. In our example, you could click on the entry titled "Metatag".
     

Once you are familiar with the different admin sections, the Coffee module can get you where you need to go far faster than by using the administrative menu.

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Apr 06 2021
Apr 06

 This guide is an extension of the first ever published book with the step-by-step, technical details you need to search engine optimize a Drupal website. Originally written by Ben Finklea (Volacci's Fearless Leader) in 2017, it is the first step to digital marketing excellence that will reward you with increased ranking, traffic, customers, and sales.

While these instructions were written for marketers, developers can also benefit. The ability to provide a more easily SEO'd website to a client will always be in demand. Should you wish to partner with Volacci on SEO services for new websites, please feel free to reach out to us.

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We will keep this section updated with the latest Drupal SEO instructions,
but please be patient -- research and writing takes time.

What this guide is.

If you were sitting at the desk next to us right now and needed help with a Drupal SEO technical problem, we’d just tell you how to solve it, walking you through the necessary steps. That’s what this guide is.

What this guide isn’t.

We won't go into detailed, basic explanations on what SEO is and why it's important. There are many great resources online with full explanations of how SEO works, what Google is looking for, and how to win the online marketing game. We’ll link to some good ones so you can dig deeper when you need to. We’re especially fond of Moz.com, and always send people to their Beginner’s Guide to SEO if they’re just starting out.

We explain how we do the technical SEO on a Drupal website. It’s not the only way, but we’ve found it’s the way that works best for us. If you get through this guide (or get too busy to complete it), and your site is still not ranking, then seek professional help

How to read this guide.

It’s best to install the SEO Checklist module, and check the items off as you complete them. This guide details each section of that Checklist.

Throughout this guide, you’ll find various text styles to help make concepts clearer or to draw your attention to important aspects of a task. Here are some examples:

  • Italic. Warnings or critical terms.
  • Bold. New words or to draw attention.
  • Code. URLs or code snippets
  • "Quotes". Interface elements you’re interacting with.
     

Notes, Tips, Warnings

Extra information that helps you better understand a concept, avoid a misstep, or give additional functionality.


Sometimes, it can be helpful to know how hard a task is going to be, so we’ve included them to make things clear. Here’s what they mean:

normal and hard rating system

  • Easy: Straightforward and quick.
  • Normal: A bit more involved, maybe 2 or 3 separate steps but no heavy lifting.
  • Hard: It’s going to take some thought and time to do this. Still, most marketers should be able to knock it out with some effort.
  • Expert: This task is time-consuming, technical, or difficult. You may need to get some help from your Drupal developer to get it done.
Jan 01 2021
Jan 01

A Drupal Primer for Marketers

  1. Key Drupal Concepts
  2. Permissions
  3. Installing a Drupal Contrib Module
  4. Helpful Browser Tips

Drupal is the content management system of choice for sophisticated enterprise websites because it was built from square one with the anticipation and extensibility needed to optimize every node, every view, and every snippet of code for search engines. That is, of course, if you know how to configure it.

With many new additions to ease-of-use, functionality, and robustness, Drupal is the superior method for creating and marketing your website to the world.

We’ve had customers who have tripled traffic in weeks after upgrading from another platform. Drupal has competitive advantages from site-wide optimizations like Schema or AMP that put clients on the cutting edge of SEO. The benefits are higher rankings quicker and more traffic.

Unlike previous versions, Drupal 8 began scheduled feature releases at six-month intervals. Which means we don’t have to wait around for years if a new technology like responsive design, HTML 5, or CSS 3 comes along.

Because Drupal is dependent on Symfony 3, and Symfony 3's end of life is November 2021, Drupal 8 will reach end of life and support in November 2021. But you still can take advantage of Drupal’s SEO abilities that should port to your Drupal 9 site when you decide it’s time to upgrade.
 

Key Drupal Concepts

Let’s discuss a few key concepts that you need to know about if you’re new to the Drupal community. (Long-time Drupalers can skip to this section.)

The Drupal Community

Drupal is more than just software. It’s a community of people. Who makes up that community? It’s made up of the people who use Drupal. That’s you! Congratulations, you are now part of the Drupal community. Welcome!

The community is a club (scores of local meetups), it’s a group of companies (Acquia is just the biggest of many businesses in the Drupal community), and it’s an organization (the Drupal Association). But you can be involved without ever touching any of those entities.

Many people first get involved in Drupal by downloading the software and then, when help is needed or confusion arises, asking for assistance on Drupal.org. That’s a common way of getting to know the community. The more involved you become, the better time you’ll have using the software. It’s nice to use tools made by people you know.

"Drupal Core" and "Drupal Contrib"

Throughout this book, we refer to Core and Contrib. It’s important to understand the difference, so you know where to go for help if something isn’t working right.

All Drupal sites run a version of the Core Drupal project—Core for short. The extra contributed modules, contributed themes, and custom code that are installed are what make each project unique. Together, these contributed modules and themes are referred to as Contrib.

drupal core and contrib module differences

On your server, Core is in the /core directory. Everything else is Contrib or custom– you’ll see a /libraries, /modules, /themes, /vendor, and a few other directories.

To make it as simple as possible:

  • Core features are built into Drupal.
  • Contrib features are added-on to Drupal.
     

The Drupal community has created tens of thousands of Contrib modules. Every once in a while, a widely-used and well-written Contrib module is added to Core. This is one of the ways that Drupal Core gets new features. In fact, with the release of Drupal 8, several modules and functions that used to be Contrib are now included in Core. This means less installation, less code for you to update, and a more stable website.

A Warning About Contrib

The Drupal community develops contrib modules and themes. That means that anybody with a problem to solve (or ax to grind) can build a module and publish it on Drupal.org. Be careful when you decide to install community-contributed code on your Drupal site.

Near the bottom of the project page for a module, you’ll see something like this:

drupal module version example box

Notice there are different versions of the same module. The “7.x” and “8.x” tells you which version of Drupal it is compatible with. You’ll want to install the version that is compatible with your version of Drupal.

NOTE: As in the image above, you’ll see that the 8.x.* version will work with both Drupal 8 and 9, so keep an eye out for those.


Beta and Dev versions mean they are not ready for prime time. However, if you still need/want to use those particular versions, make sure you:

  • Backup your site before installing
  • Do some extensive testing after installation to make sure nothing is broken and it works nicely with all the other modules and code on your site.
     

WARNING: Install new modules on a development server and test them thoroughly before pushing them to the live site.

Permissions

You need permission in Drupal to use the modules called for in this book. Drupal is quite secure, and one of the ways it remains secure is with a robust, multi-layered permissions system. If you’re working with a developer, you’ll need to ask them to assign a role to you that has Administrator level permission.

Here’s a helpful email that you can send to your developer:

Dear < developer first name >,

My username on the < drupalWebsite > web server is < your username here >.

Please grant my account the “Administrator permissions” access. https://< yourDrupalSite.dev >/admin/people/permissions#module-user

I will be working with some new modules for SEO and I need to give myself permissions as I go.

< OPTIONAL > It may be a good idea to create a “Marketing User” role for this, but I’m open to your suggestions on the best way to grant me the access I need.

Thanks!

< your name >
Awesome Marketer
 

Installing a Drupal Contrib Module

Verbiage associated with installing and enabling modules can be confusing, even within the Drupal documentation. You can upload and install a module to your Drupal site, but the module will not be functional until it is enabled.

Log into your Drupal admin area and go to Manage > Extend. You’ll see a complete list of modules that are installed. However, some will have check marks next to their name, while others will only have an empty checkbox.

drupal module install

The modules with check marks next to them are enabled, while the ones without them are simply installed and not functional. We do not recommend enabling all modules unless you know what they are for or if they are necessary.

Also, while we recommend installing the modules discussed in the next sections, we recommend you enable them one by one and test your site each time before enabling any others. While this may seem tedious, enabling them all at once could result in some issues (some serious) and you won’t know which one is causing the problem.

Finally, if you are not able to enable a module (the checkbox is is not clickable), expand the module description to see if there are any missing dependent modules that will also need to be installed:

drupal module with missing requirements

With the above in mind, you can get the latest instructions for downloading, uploading, installing, and enabling modules directly from the Drupal.org website:

Helpful Browser Tips

While fairly easy, these items should be included in your skill set to help troubleshoot problems with on-page SEO.

How to View Source of a Webpage

Sometimes, we’ll instruct you to “view source”. It’s easy: most browsers provide a way to do this. Here’s how to find it:

  • Chrome: View > Developer > View Source
  • Firefox: Tools > Web Developer > Page Source
  • Edge: Tools > Developer > View Source
  • Safari: View the instructions here

How to use an Incognito Window

An incognito window is like a new browser. It doesn’t have any of the cache, cookies, login data, browsing history, etc. It’s a fast and easy way to see what a new visitor to your website will experience.

  • Chrome: File > New Incognito Window
  • Firefox: File > New Private Window
  • Edge: File > New InPrivate window
  • Safari: File > New Private Window
     
Oct 29 2020
6
Oct 29
  1. Download SEO Checklist
  2. Clean up your URLs
  3. Implement meta tags
  4. Talk to the search engines
  5. Best Drupal SEO modules
  6. Speed up your site

Drupal is phenomenal for SEO. When you use Drupal 8 for your content management system, you have a powerful tool to rock search engine optimization. Working with Drupal websites for the past 12 years, I've experienced firsthand just how quickly search engines respond to a well-optimized Drupal website. I’ve seen customers triple their traffic in weeks after upgrading from another platform. I’ve seen competitive advantages from site-wide optimizations like RDF or AMP that put my clients on the cutting edge of SEO because they use Drupal. The benefits are a faster website, higher rankings, and more traffic.

One of the main reasons Drupal is the content management system of choice for complex enterprise websites is the fact that it has been built from square one with the functionality and flexibility needed to optimize every node view, and snippet of code for search engines.

Drupal 8 – the latest version of Drupal – has brought many new additions for ease-of-use, functionality, and robustness. It is the superior method for creating and marketing your website to the world. Yet, for all its improvements, Drupal 8 still feels like Drupal. Faster, cleaner, more refined, and certainly more up-to-date, but still Drupal.

With the introduction of Drupal 8, I saw a need for helping marketers using Drupal make the most of the features available to optimize their website. With that in mind, I wrote Drupal 8 SEO. Written for marketers, Drupal 8 SEO provides the step-by-step details you need to rock Drupal 8 SEO. If you follow the steps in the book, the rewards will be great: increased Google ranking, higher website traffic, more customers and greater revenue. In fact, we based our own Drupal SEO Kickstart service on this book.

Drupal 8 SEO is over 200 pages of detailed instructions for making the most of Drupal 8’s core features and optional modules to optimize your website. While there is much to share, I have chosen six tips you can use to get started on the road to rocking Drupal 8 SEO.

1.     Download the Drupal SEO Checklist Module

I may be biased because I’m the author, but I believe the most important thing you can do is download the Drupal SEO Checklist module at Drupal.org. Robert Shea of IBM says that “Drupal SEO Checklist is the most powerful Drupal module that ‘does nothing.’ ” Essentially, this module just tells you what to do.

Following the Drupal SEO Checklist, you can implement the best modules and tasks that are needed to optimize your website. By giving you a complete list of best practices, it makes on-page Drupal SEO hassle-free. When you have completed the to-do list, you will have a fully optimized website.

The module’s tasks are segmented by functional needs like Title Tags, Paths, Content and more. Next to each task is a link to download the module and a link to the proper admin screen of your website so that you can configure the settings perfectly. Drupal SEO Checklist also keeps track of what has already been done by placing a date and time stamp next to each item.

The SEO Checklist Module tells you what to do, but it doesn’t tell you how to do it. For that, check out my book, Drupal 8 SEO. This book has been written to explain how to implement the suggestions in the SEO Checklist. You can even turn on Drupal 8 SEO Checklist Book page numbers so that you can quickly find the corresponding page in the book.

2.     Clean up your URLs

To make Drupal 8 optimization as effective as it can be, you need to ensure your URLs are clean, your site shows the right content, and link value is maintained even when your content changes.

Drupal 8 installs clean URLs by default and it can’t be turned off, but you can do even more with the Redirect module. In Drupal 8, using the Redirect module allows you to redirect from old URLs to new URLs. This is great when you’ve moved a piece of content to another section of your site or inadvertently changed the URL.

The Redirect module creates 301 redirects from old URLs to new URLs on your website. This aids SEO by making sure that any URL that ranks in Google will still resolve when a visitor arrives. This module automates what once was an arduous and ongoing SEO chore – fixing broken links. Now you can turn on this module and forget about it. Have you ever moved content, put the wrong URL on printed advertising, or migrated content from another website? Then you know the problems this can create. With the Redirect module you can also create your own manual redirects.

Another great module for SEO is the Pathauto module. Using the Pathauto module, Drupal 8 automatically generates URLs for your content that are great for SEO. This means that you don’t need to manually create every single content URL on your website.
 

3.     Implement meta tags

Meta tags are an important step to making Drupal 8 as effective as it can be. Meta tags are snippets of text that are used to tell Google, other search engines and social media sites about the content on each page of your website. This helps your SEO by communicating clearly what you think each page on your website is about and how you want it described on their sites. If you don’t do this, you will have to rely on the search engines to make up their own minds about your content. While they’re pretty good at this, it’s important enough that you don’t want to leave it to chance.

  • The Metatag module allows you to automatically provide title tags and structured metadata to each page of your website. This module places both the HTML title tag and meta tags in the header of a web page. This means less code and faster rendering of your web pages which also helps with your SEO.
     
  • The Alternate Hreflang Module automatically adds hreflang tags to all or your website pages. Search engines reference the alternative hreflang tag to serve the correct language or regional URL in the search results. This is especially important for multilingual websites.
     

4.     Communicate directly with search engines

drupal 8 seo kickstart by volacciSearch engines want to help you help them crawl and index your website. In order to do this, they provide tools and reports to help you communicate with them and better understand what’s going on with your website. The marketers who do this well will receive better search results and get a lot of traffic.

  • The XML Sitemap module creates an XML sitemap of your content that you can submit to the search engines. An XML sitemap is a specially formatted summary of each piece of content on your website. The module creates a properly formatted XML sitemap that can be submitted to Google, other search engines and other sites. Having an XML sitemap helps your SEO by giving Google a list of all your pages that you wish them to crawl. While Google can crawl your site without an XML sitemap, the larger and more complex your site becomes, the higher the chance that their crawler will get confused and miss pages or even whole sections of the site.
     
  • Cron is a system that maintains and cleans up your Drupal site. It does things like check for updates, index content, and rebuild XML sitemaps. Now your XML sitemap will stay up to date with all the new content that you add to your website.
     
  • The Google Tag Manager (our preferences) and Google Analytics modules allow you to add the Google Analytics code snippet to your website and allows you to control how and when it is used. Google Analytics is an incredibly important tool for any web marketer. It allows you to find valuable insights into your visitors including demographics, behavior on your site, where they found you online, what keywords they used to find you and more. However, Google Analytics isn’t perfect. For example, it tracks all visitors by default—even Admins. These modules can fix that by only showing the Google Analytics code snipped when a non-admin is using the site. This keeps your data clean and your reports more useful.
     

5.     Download the best Drupal 8 modules for SEO

No one thing is so powerful that Google is going to suddenly fall in love with your website and boost you in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Rather, all the tools work together to produce an outcome that is significantly better than the parts alone ever could. The Drupal modules I’ve mentioned above are just a few of the very best. I’ve listed others in the book and in the Drupal SEO Checklist including:

  • While Drupal 8 now includes RDF (Resource Description Framework) in its core, the Schema.org Metatag module allows youto integrate Schema.org seamlessly during or after the site building process on Drupal 8. This is important because, as Schema.org describes it, “On-page markup helps search engines understand the information on web pages and provide richer search results.”
     
  • The Linkit Module provides an easy interface for creating links in your WYSIWYG content editor by using an autocomplete field. It makes sure that all the links that you add to your content are well-formed, up to date and automatically use the proper path. Properly formed and placed links are a powerful strategy for any SEO campaign.
     
  • The D8 Editor Advanced Link Module helps your SEO by placing additional text information about each link on your website.
     

6.     Speed up and secure your website

Two important attributes of your website are security and speed. Google rewards websites that are secure (using https with a valid SSL certificate) and quick to render. All the great SEO in the world won’t make your site great if you get hacked. There are bad people on the internet who want to break your website, infest your visitors, steal your data, and/or blackmail you. From the Panama Papers fiasco (yes, Drupal was involved) to your garden-variety script kiddie, you’ve got to protect yourself and your Drupal website.

Speed became a ranking factor for Google searches in April of 2010. This means that, all else being equal, the faster site will rank higher. Therefore, it makes great sense to ensure that your site is as fast as you can reasonably make it within your budget.

Drupal 8 has responsive web design as its default methodology. That’s good because Google specifically states that they prefer this method for serving mobile devices. In this setup, the server sends the same HTML code to all devices and CSS is used to change the way the page looks for each mobile device. It allows a single URL for the same content and that’s great for sharing and for offering up pages to all visitors. One way to speed up your website and be mobile-responsive is by downloading and implementing the Google AMP module.
 

Learn More with Drupal 8 SEO

Search engine optimization is a game of inches. A title tag that’s missing a keyword, a body that doesn’t talk about the topic, metadata that isn’t quite right. Together, that’s enough to kick you off the front page of Google. Using just the tips above will help you down the path toward a rockin’ Drupal website. Of course, there is much more to learn. If you want to optimize your website yourself, you can find all the details in my book, Drupal 8 SEO.

If you don’t have the time to optimize your own Drupal website, sign up for our Drupal SEO Kickstart program -- we'll get these items (and a lot more) installed and optimized in short order. Volacci can implement the best of Drupal SEO whether you are creating a new website, you are migrating from one platform to another, or you just need to fix what you have.

Sep 29 2020
Sep 29
easy drupal install and configuration

https://www.drupal.org/project/seo_checklist
The Checklist API module is required: https://www.drupal.org/project/checklistapi

Credits & Thanks

Thank you to Travis Carden for helping Volacci create and maintain the SEO Checklist module. Travis also created the required Checklist API module.

About the SEO Checklist Module

The SEO Checklist module uses Drupal SEO best practices to check your website for proper search engine optimization.

The SEO Checklist module and the original book from which this guide is based upon, were designed to work together. While the SEO Checklist module tells you what to do, the book (and this guide) tells you how to do it. Over the course of this guide, we go through the SEO Checklist module one task at a time, explaining in more detail how to do each task and sometimes even a bit of why each item is needed.

As a module, the SEO Checklist does several helpful things that will speed up your work and learning curve.

  • It provides a to-do list with checkboxes of the SEO steps needed to optimize your Drupal site. There are modules to install and tasks to complete, organized by function. If you own this book or follow through this guide, you’ve got the one-two punch for Drupal SEO.
  • It checks for installed modules and, if it finds them, checks them off for you.
  • It adds a timestamp and username to track task completion.
     

TIP: Remember to click the Save button each time you check off an SEO Checklist to-do item or if an item is checked off for you!


Install and Enable the SEO Checklist Module

NOTE: Drupal module installation instructions for modules can be found here: https://www.drupal.org/docs/extending-drupal/installing-modules

  1. Install the SEO Checklist module available here: https://www.drupal.org/project/seo_checklist
     
  2. Install the Checklist API module available here: https://www.drupal.org/project/checklistapi
     
  3. Once the modules are installed, make sure they are enabled by going to the Extend page of your website: Click Manage > Extend (Coffee: “extend”) or visit https:///admin/modules.
     
  4. In the module filter search field, start typing “seo checklist” to  find the SEO Checklist module.

    seo checklist installation screen shot
     

  5. Select the checkbox next to “SEO Checklist” and click the Install button at the bottom of the page.
     
  6. You may get a message stating, “You must enable the Checklist API module to install SEO Checklist. Would you like to continue with the above?” If so, click the Continue button.

    checklist api module installation

Give yourself permissions to use the SEO Checklist module.

  1. Click Manage > People (Coffee: “people”) and click on the Permissions tab. Or visit https:///admin/people/permissions.
     
  2. Select the appropriate checkboxes for
  3. Click the Save permissions button at the bottom of the page.
     

Using the SEO Checklist module

To use the SEO Checklist module:

  1. Go to Manage > Configuration > Search and metadata > SEO Checklist (Coffee: “seo”) or visit https:///admin/config/search/seo-checklist in your browser.

    using the seo checklist within drupal screen shot
     

  2. You may see the message at the top that says “SEO checklist found X unchecked items...”. If you do, it means that there are some tasks already completed. Nice! You’re ahead of the game. If this happens, click the Save button near the bottom of the page.
     
  3. Click on the Be efficient tab. This expands the section and you'll be able to see:
    • A progress bar that shows you how many tasks remain;
    • Timestamps on your saved tasks (if you’ve done any yet);
    • Commands for Composer, Drupal Console, and Drush;
    • Task links to help you quickly get things done.

You’ll also notice that the tabs on the SEO Checklist loosely follow the sections of the Drupal 8 SEO book. We are currently updating and adapting that book to an online guide, so stay tuned for more content in the coming months! You can easily follow along and check things off as you go.

As you continue on your Drupal SEO journey you can use the SEO Checklist module to make sure you’ve done all you can to get the most out of your Drupal site.

Tip: Many steps throughout this guide start with going to an admin page, permissions page, etc. The links on the SEO Checklist can be another, even quicker way to get there.


You can now keep track of the Drupal SEO steps you've completed.

We always try to make sure our posts are as accurate and up to date as possible. If you find something is wrong, or you have a question, please feel free to contact us with any questions or feedback you might have.

And remember, Volacci stands ready to help you implement your Drupal SEO should you need us to.

Did you like this walkthrough? Please tell your friends about it!

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Feb 28 2019
Feb 28

basketball hoop demonstrating a goalChoosing good SEO goals is a critical first step in your digital marketing campaign. As with any long-term endeavor, knowing your marketing end goals and working directly toward them saves time, money, and stress.

Good SEO cannot be done in a vacuum. It depends on business goals, the needs of the sales and customer support team, and intimate knowledge of the competitive landscape in which you work. Engage the critical stakeholders in each area of your business and work together to come up with a list of needs. You may be surprised at how SEO can help each team meet its objectives.

It’s important to choose the right goals before implementing any SEO strategy and get continual buy-in from your team. Combine and categorize ideas to find the ones that digital marketing is well suited for. If possible, pick some “easy” objectives and start stacking up quick wins with your team. This buys you time for longer-term strategies that SEO is suited for.

If you’re struggling to get buy-in from team members, or they don’t have enough knowledge to understand how SEO can help their department, it may help to bring some ideas into the conversation to get the creative juices flowing.

Let’s look at seven different SEO Goals and how they can impact your business.

hands with fingers that are also handsSEO Objective #1: Lead Generation and Direct Marketing

Build customers and revenue, one form-pop at a time.

If you are a lead-driven business, it’s likely that your customers require at least one personal contact from your company before they buy. You may have a higher-than-average purchase price, or your solution involves customization. The key to a thriving lead generation SEO campaign is the conversion rate.

CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) is almost always the best place to start when you are looking for more leads from your website. It’s easier to make direct changes that can dramatically increase your lead flow.

Implement A/B testing to try different approaches that make it easier for your customers to convert. Here are several ways to make an impact right away:

  • Shorten your forms. Do you really need 2 different phone numbers and a full mailing address on the very first customer interaction?
  • Inform your visitor precisely what will happen when they submit the form.
  • Don’t use the word “Submit” on your form buttons (Who wants to submit, anyway? It sounds painful.)

Once your on-page conversion rate is at least 5% (or higher—hopefully much higher), you can turn your attention to increasing targeted traffic. This can be accomplished by creating excellent customer-focused content and don’t be afraid to ask for the conversion. Consider offering a valuable freebie for newsletter signups and then market to your newsletter to create demand.

Capturing their information is only the first step. Make sure you use a good marketing automation tool and CRM to keep in touch with your customers.

 crowd of people walkingSEO Objective #2: Increase Raw Traffic to Your Website

Traffic for traffic’s sake.

This is just what it sounds like. Get as many click-throughs to your content and try to keep them on your site as long as possible. You want to use this objective when you can monetize traffic without actions or financial transactions. If for example, your site is sponsored or ad-driven, this is an excellent place to start.

Concentrate your efforts on great content and conduct keyword research to find topics that are of high interest to your target audience. And make sure to use those keywords in your content.

Use Google Answers to find questions that people ask and then write a series of blog posts to answer them. This will earn traffic on long-tail Google queries. Make sure your articles are easy to share and optimized for viral spreading by employing share buttons.

However, be cautious about using clickbait or fake news to drive adrenal-based clicking. People are becoming savvy to this kind of egregious traffic generation, and you could set yourself up to tarnish your brand for a short-term gain. Focus instead on helpful, interesting, or timely content that truly provides value to your target audience. Provide follow-up content and give them a reason to stay. Bounce rate is an important SEO ranking factor so do what you can to increase the time that visitors spend on your site.

online shopping or ecommerceSEO Objective #3: Increase E-commerce Sales

Focus on driving relevant traffic to your online store and boost transactional sales.

About 10% of the retail sales in the USA comes from e-commerce. Only about half of that is Amazon, which means there are millions of other websites competing with you for your customers’ clicks and purchases. Leveraging SEO can create long-term, competitive advantages for any business in this hyper-competitive space.

When you have transactional products and/or services for sale on your site, do not overlook the funnel in your keyword strategy. Generally speaking, this means the more precisely a visitor is searching for a product, the closer they are to making a purchase.

  • Industry words (“vacuum”) are top-of-the-funnel. They require a lot of information, are looking broadly for a solution, and may not even be looking for the product that you offer.
  • Generic product names (“vacuum cleaner”) can be considered top or mid-funnel. They know they need a solution but don’t necessarily know what. Provide comparative information, and show your product in many different scenarios.
  • Longer tail generic phrases (“robot vacuum” or “automatic robot vacuum cleaner”) could be considered mid to low in the funnel. They know what they want and are looking to compare similar products to help them make a decision.
  • Branded searches usually are considered lowest in the funnel, especially when combined with buy words (“buy roomba vacuum” or “discount roomba vacuum”).
  • Specific part numbers can be a good indicator that someone is looking to buy right this minute. Maybe its a replacement or refillable part, or that they know exactly what they want. You will find the more specific the keyword, product name, or even part number, the more likely your visitors will purchase. Optimize content for the problems that your product solves; create very focused content that builds confidence and leads your customer through the purchase.

Once you’ve identified your audience and keywords, focus on making the transaction as easy as possible with conversion rate optimization (CRO). The objective of CRO is to increase average conversion value. A good way to test the efficacy and potential ROI of keywords and phrases is to conduct a pay-per-click campaign to discover if they are providing traffic and conversions.

cow surprised at getting a brandSEO Objective #4: Branding

Increase customer awareness and lower resistance to future transactions.

Branding is often overlooked but is a mission-critical part of an ongoing marketing campaign.

If you’re just starting to build your brand with your target market, branding eases future conversations by creating space for you in your customer’s mind. It’s easier to engage with a known company than a new entity you only recently found.

For established brands, ongoing branding protects your domain and builds trust. Ranking well for industry terms around your business can create awareness of new solutions and gain a quick customer while lesser brands struggle. Leverage your brand by making your presence known in keyword searches that involve competitive words and products. Make sure you are part of every conversation.

SEO gets consumers participating and interacting with your brand. Your keyword focus becomes straightforward as you will be targeting your company and product name so you will achieve more with less intensive effort. Make sure your site is accessible with good link structure and focus on links from high-quality sources that legitimize your brand. These high-quality links are valuable to Google as an indicator of the importance of your website.

star wars troopers needing reputation managementSEO Objective #5: Reputation Management

Protect your brand.

We get it. Everybody makes mistakes. In the Internet era, every mistake is magnified and can stick around hurting your brand for months or years.

When you are trying to protect your brand from having a negative reputation or change an existing negative image, SEO can be a huge help in achieving this perspective shift.

First, own your brand name in all its forms. You want to have 10 out of 10 branded search results in Google in your control. This involves optimizing pages on many different domains so you can “own” complete pages of search results. Create presences on Facebook, Linkedin, Github, Reddit, Twitter, etc. and run branded SEO campaigns on those pages. When you own the top 10, don’t relax. Keep steady pressure with additional unique content and links relevant to your brand.

Then, focus on keywords that are highly relevant to your brand. It could be your legal business name, personal name, brand name or a popular variant. Use public relations, press releases, social media profiles, links from networks of sites you may own or control.

Do not underestimate the power of a personal response from the founder or CEO to an online complaint. However, if you aren’t experienced or comfortable doing this, consider using outside professionals, because responses must be carefully crafted. Quick, unconsidered comments can be seen as flippant, out-of-touch, uncaring, or worse: defensive and angry. However, an appropriate word can diffuse a situation and actually increase customer loyalty in the long run.

Even if you don’t have a negative situation, consider starting now to protect your brand. Reputation management is one of the most challenging SEO practices when done in an emergency. Plan ahead, build your reputation, and be ready when an emergency does happen.

girl holding a sparklerSEO Objective #6: Customer Service

Your customers are asking questions on Google. Make sure the answers come from you.

If you want long-term relationships with your customers, be there when they need you. That means anticipating their needs after the sale and providing answers to questions that they have at each stage of the ownership cycle of your product. Each interaction is an opportunity to reinforce your brand in their mind, control negative impressions, and build a relationship that will last.

Find content ideas by mining your customer service logs, online support requests, or looking at other companies in your industry. Answer questions with a blog post, video, or instructional document and then link to it from relevant places on your website. That’s just the beginning.

Another tactic for acquiring new customers is to create content that answers questions about competitor’s products! Help them without reservation, and gently guide them to your solution.

one smiley face in a sea of unhappy facesSEO Objective #7: Target a Specific Person or Company

Reach out and touch someone.

One last SEO objective to consider is the Internet’s unique ability to target specific individuals with your content. Say that a salesperson has been trying to break into a company with your product. But, try as they might, they can’t get past the gatekeepers for a phone call. Email isn’t working, and cold calling is a non-starter. Should you give up? Hardly.

There is an entire marketing sub-industry around the idea of marketing to the individual. It’s called Account Based Marketing (ABM). ABM is a strategic approach to business marketing in which an organization communicates with individual prospects or customer accounts as markets of one. Although it’s typically employed in enterprise level sales organizations, companies of any size can and do use these techniques to make key account acquisition easier.

The first step is to clearly identify the exact people you need to market to. The list is usually relatively short, 25-100 people. You can then combine SEO practices—like buying their name on Google Adwords or Linkedin and running a simple ad which leads to a personalized landing page—with the best of ABM and create unique solutions to help you reach new customers.

Final Thoughts

This stuff isn’t easy. If it were, business wouldn’t need marketing professionals like yourself to figure out these objectives and implement them. There is no cookie cutter approach to marketing. Every company has different customers, products, and competitive pressures, so be careful when applying these objectives to your situation. Nothing can replace genuine conversations and openness.

And these are just some of the top objectives of SEO. Here are several secondary objectives that I’ve seen over the years:

  • Increase the number of product pages in Google SERPs
  • Reduce leads from low-budget customers
  • Reduce customer service calls
  • Apple/Android App Store SEO
  • Amazon product listing SEO
  • Educate the consumer
  • Measure coupon use
  • Event-specific SEO
  • Drive retail sales
  • Reduce returns
  • Ego

Whether your objectives are on this list or not, Volacci stands ready to help you create the best possible online presence for your business. If you’d like a quick leg-up on your Drupal SEO, take a look at our SEO Quick Start Plans and give us a call us today. Whatever your objectives, Volacci can help.

Sep 12 2018
Sep 12

Creating great website content and presenting it well is the best way to improve Google rankings and engage more visitors. While you need to create the content, Drupal 8 is one of the elite Content Management Systems (CMS) available to organize and show it off well. Drupal’s ability to organize your marketing content is one of the reasons it has always been great for SEO.

A winning SEO strategy requires relevant, timely, and well-organized content. Website content provides the relevant substance for your keywords and includes links to related content. Fresh content takes precedence over older, stale content in Google search results. When your website content is well-organized, visitors and search engines will find it easier to navigate and Google will reward your site with even higher rankings.

6 strategies and actions for better content management with Drupal 8

With that in mind, here are a few tips to create great content and organize it well in Drupal 8.

1. Create great content

Write content that you would love to read. This holds your audience’s interest and gets them talking about--and linking to--your website. Remember to write for your audience not for the search engine. Search engine algorithms are smarter than ever and consider much broader concepts than just keywords. The search engine will evaluate your entire page for the best search match.

With Drupal, you can turn great ideas into organized text, graphics and videos that are valuable to your users. Drupal’s built in Taxonomy system allows you to categorize and tag content so that it is easy for your audience to find what matches their interest. Another building system, Views, gets your content out of Drupal and onto the page without needing a query. You create views and filters that meet specific needs.

natural seo keywords2. Use keywords naturally

While the latest Google search algorithms may lessen the need for exact key phrases, don’t give them up just yet. You should still optimize your content with keyphrases, just don’t overuse them or use them unnaturally. Repeating keywords without any valid reason will turn off visitors and search engines. Even so, make sure your keyword shows up once or twice in the document.

To find related words that will help your ranking, try typing your keyword into Google like this: ~yourkeyword. This is an approximate or synonym search. It finds terms that are related to the one you’re searching for. Pay attention to the bolded items in the search results and you’ll see keywords that Google considers approximate and relevant. Write additional content around those terms and Google will reward your efforts.

In Drupal 8, the Real Time SEO module can help you optimize your content around keyphrases. This module evaluates your text and compares it to SEO best practices.

When you create a new node, you’ll see a section called Real Time SEO for Drupal. Here you can identify the focus keyword. The module shows you what your listing will look like in Google and allows you to edit it. You can also edit the title tag, URL path and meta description. Then the module evaluates your content and makes recommendations on what to change to improve SEO. It will give you a list of items to fix as you create content. Having this module will keep your SEO strategy on track.

3. Use internal links

Properly formed and placed links are a powerful strategy for any SEO campaign. Quality links can improve navigation and increase website traffic. Links to other sites and link to pages within your own website are also useful in helping visitors to view more relevant content.

Ensuring that your internal links stay accurate is made easier using the Linkit module for Drupal 8. This module provides an autocomplete field in your content editor making it easy to create links and ensures that the links are well formed, up to date, and accurate. The Linkit module replaces the built in linking mechanism in your WYSIWYG editor. Once the module is installed, all you need to do is select the text that you wish to link and click the link button.

To get even more value from links, you can install the D8 Editor Advanced Link module. Now when you add a link in your text, there will be an “Advanced” dropdown box. Here, you can fill in the appropriate fields such as title, class, id, target and rel for each link in CKEditor. SEO is improved because there is more text information about each link on your page.

4. Organize your content

Organized content is useful content. Organize your content around categories, then create sections on subtopics that support the main idea. Drupal 8 has built-in modules to help you do this already, which is another reason that Drupal is the best CMS for SEO. By keeping similar ideas together, your website will be more useful to your visitors. It’s also easy to see where to focus your writing efforts to fill in content categories.

For the main content of your site, you should create a taxonomy category with a handful of keyword-rich terms that all of your content will fit under. If you have great categories and loads of content in those categories, it’s easy to add a few relevant keywords to the category pages. If your content is spread out over too many categories, or it’s not organized at all, it’s almost impossible to get all those ideas onto one page.

Organized paths and URLS matter too. No content should be more than three clicks from the home page. The closer the node is to the home page, the more important Google thinks it is and the higher that individual page will rank.

Using Drupal, it’s easy to create paths that give your site a nice, clean hierarchical structure, making it easier for visitors to find their way around. Using the Pathauto module you can automate SEO-friendly URLs. Putting good words in the URL is great for SEO so this module is essential. Drupal URL paths with Pathauto operate in patterns. Instead of creating a path to every single piece of content, it’s better to specify a pattern for groups of content. Drupal will follow the pattern so that you have consistency across your website.

breadcrumb examples on a cat website

The organization and labeling of your whole website is important. Taxonomy (for example, blog categories and tags) should be well-structured and hierarchical. Google loves hierarchy because it helps them understand your content. Visitors love hierarchy because it helps them figure out your site’s organization structure.

Another way to show your site’s hierarchy is through breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs are top-of-page navigation elements that show visitors where they are on a website. Drupal 8 will create breadcrumbs automatically for you when you add the Easy Breadcrumb module. This module builds the breadcrumbs from the Drupal path. Each “/” becomes a part of the breadcrumb. The first breadcrumb comes from the Easy Breadcrumb configuration page while the title of the node becomes the last breadcrumb. Breadcrumbs help SEO by showing the hierarchy of your content to Google too.

Navigation is also improved when you provide an html sitemap. The Sitemap module for Drupal 8 provides an html sitemap which is a “cheat sheet” that makes it easier for visitors and search engines to navigate your website. Your visitors can use the sitemap to find the content they are looking for. This increases their time on site and reduces the bounce rate.

6. Keep your content compliant

Poorly written HTML might confuse the Googlebot or even your visitors’ browsers. When your HTML follows web standards such as the ones created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), you may find that better SEO follows. Thankfully, checking your website’s HTML is easy with the W3C Validator module. This Drupal 8 module checks the markup validity of your website. Once you run the module, you will receive a list of errors for each page which you can turn over to your web developer. While you don’t need to obsess over every error, fixing the big mistakes can make a difference for your SEO.

Improve your Drupal 8 content management

Using the tips above will go a long way toward improving your Drupal 8 website for more website traffic and quality leads. If you need step-by-step guidance to improving Drupal 8 content management and SEO, take a look at Drupal 8 SEO. This book is the definitive guide to optimizing your content and boosting your Google rankings and it covers all of these tips in step-by-step detail..

Volacci is the expert when it comes to specialized Drupal SEO. Our Drupal marketing services will help you gain better, faster results for your website marketing strategy. Whether you are migrating from another CMS, upgrading from older Drupal platforms, or optimizing your current Drupal 8 website, we can help.

Give us a call at 512.989.2945 or get in touch on-line.

Jul 31 2018
Jul 31

Topic clusters has been a hot topic in the SEO community lately. They move the emphasis in SEO away from individual keywords to broader categories. Instead of optimizing a page for a keyword like “reduced fat mozzarella cheese”, the goal is to create valuable content for a strategic category such as “cheese”. By focusing on multiple topics within categories and linking these pages to the main topic page, businesses gain authority and performance for the entire topic cluster.

I agree that it’s a great idea, I’m just not so sure that it’s a “new” one. Organizing by topic clusters is old news for Drupal; it has had this capability for years. If you have a Drupal website, you may be ahead of the trend and well positioned for changing SEO strategies. Even if you haven’t designed your website around content categories, your Drupal website already has the tools you need to organize around topic clusters.

hummingbird updateWhat are Topic Clusters for SEO?

Topic clusters for SEO really got its start with the Hummingbird update to Google search in 2013. In this release, Google began to pay more attention to the context of content. Instead of focusing on individual words in a search for content, Google began to pay more attention to the intent of what the person is trying to find out. This began to push the focus of SEO strategy to content not just keywords.

The first article I remember written on the subject, was at moz.com: "Building SEO-Focused Pages to Serve Topics & People Rather than Keywords & Rankings." In this whiteboard Friday blog, Rand Fishkin wrote about how SEO is more effective when focused on a topic.

"With updates like Hummingbird, Google is getting better and better at determining what's relevant to you and what you're looking for. This can actually help our work in SEO, as it means we don't have to focus quite so intently on specific keywords.... And this is why we're seeing this big shift to this new model, this more modern model, where SEO is really about the broad performance of search traffic across a website, and about the broad performance of the pages receiving search visits.”

As a result of the Hummingbird and other updates, experienced SEO providers began changing their tactics. Even so, HubSpot’s article in May 2017, titled “Topic Clusters: The Next Evolution of SEO,” generated a lot of attention in the SEO world. This blog clearly defined topic cluster strategy. Mimi An states:

“SEO is now shifting to a topic cluster model, where a single 'pillar' page acts as the main hub of content for an overarching topic and multiple content pages that are related to that same topic link back to the pillar page and to each other. This linking action signals to search engines that the pillar page is an authority on the topic, and over time, the page may rank higher and higher for the topic it covers. The topic cluster model, at its very essence, is a way of organizing a site’s content pages using a cleaner and more deliberate site architecture.”

Because these articles have done a great job of explaining why we should be using topic clusters, I’m not going to expand on this.

What I bring to the table is years of experience in specialized Drupal SEO that includes helping clients organize their websites into topic clusters. And one thing is sure: Drupal 8 is great at organizing content around topic clusters. That isn't new at all.

How to Organize Around Topic Clusters in Drupal 8

One of Drupal’s greatest features is the way it manages, stores, and displays content, which is one reason why it is such a great CMS for marketers. Drupal gives you the control and flexibility necessary to customize how and where your content is displayed. This flexibility sets Drupal apart from other CMSes.

Drupal 8 has two core modules that allow you to organize content around topic clusters: Taxonomy and Views. (Incidentally, these features are available or can be added to older versions of Drupal, too.)

The Taxonomy system controls the categorization of your content. Other CMSes call them “categories” but in Drupal is a little different. And, in a way, "taxonomies" is a more accurate description anyway.

The first step to any topic cluster strategy is to choose your topics. The topics should be driven by your business strategy and the Taxonomy should be determined by the business requirements of your website.

To choose topic clusters, think about how your customers categorize what you do or sell. Consider what key issues your customers are dealing with when they are searching for your website. Once you’ve chosen one or more high-level topics, think about how the topic cluster can be broken down into subcategories.

grocery store organized by product taxonomyYour local grocery store is a good example of how this should work. Grocers divide the store into aisles of related products. In the dairy aisle, you will find products further segmented by cheese, sour cream, yogurt, etc. Think about how crazy your shopping trip would be if the grocers just put the items in the store without categorization.

Instead of simple trips up and down aisles, you would probably have to navigate back and forth across the store. (Insert sound of shopping carts crashing here!) Would you go back? When it is easy and quick to find what you want, you are more likely to go back for more.

Your website should work the same way. The product segments, like cheese, make up topic clusters; Taxonomy is like the refrigerator aisles and shelves that neatly hold the products.

Real-Life, Drupal Examples of Topic Clusters

Now let’s get into how this really works in Drupal. Once you have chosen your topic clusters, you can use Taxonomy to organize and display your content.

(Really quick aside: the Taxonomy system contains multiple Vocabularies. Each Vocabulary contain many Terms. It’s confusing at first but makes a lot of sense once you understand it. Just remember: Taxonomy > Vocabulary > Term.)

An often used Vocabulary is called “Tags”. The Tags vocabulary holds all of the terms that you’ve used to tag content on your site. I think everyone knows what tagging an article on your website is, but just in case: it’s a small snippet of text that describes what an article is all about. For example, this article is tagged with “Drupal 8” , "Drupal Tips", and “SEO”.

When you tag content as it’s created, Drupal’s taxonomy system creates a term in the Tags vocabulary. By tagging each piece of content, you connect, relate, and classify your content. Each term can be reused for other content as well.

Taxonomy keeps track of all the content that has a particular term applied to it and provides menu and navigation schemes to view and display that content together on a single page, called a "Term page". Hmmm...that sounds a lot like a content cluster, doesn’t it?

If a user selects any category term, Drupal will display the content links tagged with that term. Drupal automatically creates searchable topic cluster pages with links to relevant content.

Here's an example on the Volacci.com website. Our whole website is about Drupal SEO, but we have topics within that subject, such as Drupal 8 SEO and Drupal News. In this website, Drupal SEO is the main topic cluster. Within that topic, we have detailed content such as Drupal 8 SEO lead generation that add up to provide a broad range of knowledge about Drupal SEO.

why amazon bought whole foods article on volacci.com

Under the title and subtitle, you’ll see the tags I chose for that article — some already existed, some were new. Once I put the tags on this blog, Drupal automatically created a searchable page for these categories. When the reader clicks on the “Planet Drupal” tag, they see this:

taxonomy topic cluster for planet drupal on volacci.com

I don’t have to do anything to create this page; Drupal will just show all the content that is published and tagged. The module that does this for you is Views. Views is a core module in Drupal 8 but is also available as an add-on in previous versions.

The Views module allows you to use the default taxonomy term view but see it differently without the need for additional coding. For example, you can filter the results or sort it alphabetically. A great example of this is customer information; you can create customer views that show current orders sorted by product or date.

Once you’ve selected the topic cluster you want to view, Views allows you display the content in multiple forms. For this particular view, I added an author name and picture. Now, the user can click on one of the links to read more about the topic category, or even explore a new category.

This is a very simple example of how Drupal creates Google-searchable pages around topic clusters. You can even try it for yourself with this post. Take a look at the Drupal 8 tag under the title of this post right now and click on the following tag: "drupal 8". Go ahead. I'll wait.

You should have gotten a page that looks something like this:

topic cluster drupal 8 taxonomy on volacci.com

Implement Topic Clusters on Your Drupal Website

Would you like your Drupal website to be easy to explore? If you need some help setting up your website for topic clusters, contact Volacci. Using our proven processes and strategies for Drupal SEO, we can work with you to choose topic clusters and implement them on your website.

Aug 23 2017
Aug 23

[Photo credits: Ben Finklea, Jan 2017. Photos captured from iPhone video shot at Texas Grappling Challenge Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournament in Cedar Park, Texas.]

My Drupal developer friends and I (like any friendship) don’t always see eye-to-eye. While we have much in common—we both want stylish, high-performing websites—in some areas our goals are different. This can create the appearance of conflict. However, after working through the issues (or hitting the mats, as they say in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu), we can find common ground and mutual respect.

In Drupal 8 SEO, I lay out a list of modules that should be installed on your Drupal website to enhance SEO. I wrote this book for marketers and provide the step-by-step details you need to increase Google ranking, website traffic, customers, and revenue. While most of these activities can be completed without a developer, there are times when more expertise is needed.

Recently, one of my readers contacted me with a problem: his developer was pushing back on SEO recommendations with “I don’t see anything here that looks critical to your SEO activities.” Respectfully, I disagree. I’ve done hundreds of Drupal SEO projects and have the results to prove that these methods work.

Who’s right? You decide. Read on as a Drupal Developer and the Drupal SEO Guy spar. This blog post is based on a real email exchange and includes pushbacks and recommendations for one particular project.

Common Drupal 8 SEO Pushbacks: “You don’t really need it.”

Drupal Developer: The Admin Toolbar is totally not related to SEO. If there is something you can’t find, just use the “Go To” link on the toolbar and type to search admin pages.

Ben Finklea, the Drupal SEO Expert: I agree that this is not *necessary* for SEO. It's necessary to make Drupal easier to use, though. The problem with using the toolbar is that it's difficult to know what to search for if you don't know Drupal well. In fact, I'm experienced in Drupal 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 and still don't always know where to look. I use the Coffee module when I know exactly where I want to go and Admin Toolbar when I don't.

Drupal Developer: I’m skeptical of the benefits of using RDF UI.

Ben: RDF UI simply exposes the existing RDF. I have used RDF with much success. Every product you have on your site should have this. You can display ratings, reviews, price and more in google listings. It's amazing. The added product information gives your search listing more presence and searchers are more likely to click through to your website.

Drupal Developer: Linkit and D8 Editor Advanced Link are helper modules and aren’t relevant.

Ben: Internal linking is important for SEO. The only reasons you don’t need these modules is if you will never publish content on your site, never write blog posts or articles, or never create special listing pages for products or promotions. These modules make linking easier and more accurate. Linkit makes it easy to link on important keywords across the site. Is it necessary? No. But with Linkit, you reduce the time spent adding those links to your body content. D8 Editor Advanced Link prevents a problem that new sites won’t have right away. As sites grow and age, content is moved around (in Drupal parlance: the path is changed) and that breaks links and causes redirects. Redirects are bad for SEO. This module makes sure that links are formed properly so that they don't break even when content is moved.

Drupal Developer: Creating a sitemap isn’t useful for our platform. We don’t want to expose our human visitors to this.

Ben: Sitemaps can be very useful for bots and spiders (although not all of them use it), and it can also be helpful to site visitors if configured properly. I wouldn't put thousands of products on it. Instead, put your product category pages, taxonomies, tags, etc.

Drupal Developer: Scheduler isn’t relevant unless you feel the need to put front page callouts on a rotation.

Ben: This module works great for product promotions and blog posts, or a product released on a certain day or time. Leave it off until you need it.

Drupal Developer: AdvAgg is relevant to performance but not SEO specifically. I don’t think it makes a perceivable difference for users on high-speed connections but could save some seconds for mobile users on slow connections.

Ben: Speed is very important to great SEO results and the user experience. I talk about speed and Google SEO in this article: How to Improve Drupal 8 Website Performance. But you don’t have to take my word for it, Google has indicated the speed matters in this blog. You can also learn more at moz.com.

Google has also placed high significance on quality mobile interactions. That’s not surprising given that mobile devices have overtaken desktops as the primary search device.

“Mobile has grown so fast that it’s now the leading digital platform, with total activity on smartphones and tablets accounting for two-thirds of digital media time spent…”

Source: comScore

Having a slow page speed can cause higher bounce rates and lower average time on page. It can also mean that search engines crawl fewer pages which can lower your SEO results.

Common Drupal 8 SEO Pushbacks: “It’s too much work.”

Drupal Developer: The Easy Breadcrumb module would require a rework of our theme and will cause too many problems.

Ben: If you have a budget to make the changes, I highly recommend it. Easy Breadcrumb helps with SEO especially when you tag the breadcrumbs using Schema.org's RDF or JSON-LD. This improves your listing in Google by displaying the breadcrumb instead of the URL. Your search results will be clearer and should get more searchers clicking on your links.

Breadcrumbs are especially good for users on e-commerce sites. This article by BigCommerce has a great explanation of the importance of using breadcrumbs. According to the article, breadcrumbs not only improve click-through rates but also make it easier for search engines to crawl the site.

Drupal Developer: Yoast SEO makes sense. But keep in mind it depends on the Metatag module which takes a long time to configure.

Ben: Yes, Yoast SEO requires the Metatag module. Configuring it is indeed very time-consuming. It takes me about a day per site and I’m a pro.

Drupal Developer: The Metatag module can be used to add these page header tags, but I can do better. The Metatag module lets you dynamically add tags based on entity content but those tags can be added through our theme layer as well. I can program the website to use meta tags well outside the capability of the metatag module.

Ben: Metatags are mission critical. It's much more than just a tag. It's used by search engines, social sites, crawlers, browsers, etc. in a lot of ways. For example, the description tag is what shows up as the description in a Google search. The OpenGraph image tag determines the image that Facebook will show when a product is shared on their site. Twitter tags have a similar function.

In your past, presumably you tried it and it didn't work so you programmed a different solution. It’s possible your products are complicated and can't use straightforward Drupal SEO methods, but I can't really say so I'll withhold comment for now.

Generally speaking, unless it’s absolutely necessary, don't go out of your way to recreate functionality that a module already has. Other modules work well with Metatag—like the Realtime SEO for Drupal and the Schema Metatag module.

(Psst...Would you like to learn more about these and other Drupal 8 SEO modules? Check out Drupal 8 SEO.)

Drupal Developer: The Drupal AMP module would require a new mobile theme, so this is not one you should install.

Ben: AMP is more for news sites, so if you don’t have a lot of news, skip it. However, if you want your news to be top-of-page for Google, make sure this fits with your theme.

Common Drupal 8 SEO Pushbacks: “I can do this, but...”

Drupal Developer: Yes, we can do this but W3C Validator is more or less a one-time thing, not something that needs to be run regularly since we won’t be doing regular markups.

Ben: I agree and good call. Do this on the W3C site instead of using the module. As of right now, the module doesn't work like it should. I've posted a support ticket to Drupal about this but it hasn’t been resolved.

Drupal Developer: Search 404 sounds like it might be useful.

Ben: Search404 helps users and bots find content that has moved or find a relevant page if it has been deleted. As products go away and are replaced with new ones, you don't want to strand your visitors.

Drupal Developer: Diff gives you a view into what has changed between revisions, so this is just a content management aid. If you want you can install it, but revisions are not supported for products, promo boxes, brands, collections or mini-sites so I say don’t bother.

Ben: I use Diff to identify revisions that may have caused an increase or decrease in website traffic, but I didn’t know that it doesn’t work on products.

And the Winner Is...

Okay, shake hands–the match is over. Who won? You did! When the developer and I are on the same page, we can agree on most things. We just need to get our wires uncrossed and work out a solution that makes everyone happy. Sometimes that means I need to know more about your specific installation, and other times, the developer needs a little more education on Drupal SEO.

If you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend getting Drupal 8 SEO to learn more about my recommendations. While the book is written for marketers, if you are a developer, you may find it useful too. If you have any questions about how your Drupal SEO should be set up, give me a call.

Aug 17 2017
Aug 17

Decoupled—or “headless”—content management systems have been trending in the last few years. This web development strategy, in its most basic form, is a “write once, publish anywhere” technology that separates the content from the presentation layer. Well, um...what the heck does that mean? It means that you can publish a piece of content and then use different systems to display that blog post on a computer, a mobile device, a voice-based system like Amazon’s Alexa, or even a smart watch. Basically, it allows developers to write to many different platforms without having to tediously recreate the wheel each time. (I think…)

It is a hot topic in the Drupal community. In fact, Acquia is holding Decoupled Developer Days this weekend (August 19-20 in NYC). Much of the conversation is still occurring in the developer community, but it is also important for marketers to understand the implications of this strategy as well. The strategy has its place, but is not always the best option for several reasons.

But first, here are some terms marketers should know. Then I’ll share what factors you should consider when deciding whether to follow a decoupled CMS strategy.

What is Decoupled (Headless) Drupal? Some Terms to Know

A decoupled CMS is one where the CMS serves as the backend to store, maintain and edit content but no longer necessarily provides the delivery of that content. It’s considered “headless” because it means chopping off the part of the CMS that provides the web display.

A headless CMS usually delivers content through an API, which means that it can deliver content anywhere, on any device. You will often hear this strategy as API-first.

API-first is an approach that starts with the RESTful API as the communication between the backend, headless CMS and user devices such as websites, mobile applications, wearable, IoT devices and more.

Content as a Service (CaaS) is like a Software as a Service (SaaS), headless CMS. Think of Drupal as the host, managing the content and offering that content as a service. This separated content management and display means that the content is easily used by other sites and apps.

The decoupled CMS approach is industry wide and affects more than just those using Drupal. But if you have a Drupal website, you will want to know more about headless Drupal. In normal installations, Drupal provides a way to store data, an administrative area to manage content, and a way to display data. In a headless installation, the data display functionality is replaced with an API to the data. Then, a different framework uses that API to access, format, deliver, and display the data.

Drupal 8 includes a RESTful Web Services module in its core which plays well into adopting a headless CMS. This module along with other powerful modules such as Views and Paragraphs makes Drupal a good choice for a decoupled application.

Benefits of Decoupled Drupal to Marketers

With a headless CMS, it is possible to build flexible, responsive, interactive experiences for your users. New devices are popping up all the time and one of the big questions that marketers need to ask is how they will provide content on them. When the user interface is decoupled from the CMS, the logic for displaying content on each device is on the front-end and can provide full control of the user experience in its native tools. In other words, you, as a content provider, no longer need to worry about how the content is going to be displayed as that is handled on the device itself.

Decoupled CMS may also be faster. When the logic is on the front-end interface, the back-end CMS can be streamlined. The back-and-forth interaction happens in real-time in the browser.

At this point, you might be wondering why everyone isn’t heading toward decoupled CMS. After all, as a marketer, being able to get content out to any device quickly is paramount. However, there is a price to be paid for this ability. In many cases, that price is quite high.

Reasons Why Marketers May Not Want to Decouple Drupal

Drupal is a complete CMS with years and millions of hours of development behind it to provide a full-featured system. Going headless bypasses the value that Drupal brings to content delivery. You lose a lot of functionality that must be re-created on the front end. That will cost you more in development time and expense. Often, headless sites need multiple layers of complexity to gain back the advanced features that you have lost by rejecting the full Drupal system.

For example, if you need multi-lingual content, you will pay more for that functionality with custom development for a decoupled Drupal backend.  Meanwhile, the full Drupal CMS offers multilingual support out of the box.

When you choose to use a decoupled Drupal strategy it is also important to consider the impact on SEO. You will lose standard SEO functionality and SEO will take considerably more time and money.

Here are three examples of real-life problems we have faced when working with customers who have decoupled Drupal 7 or 8 websites:

  • Meta tags are not automatically output. While the Metatag module was installed and properly configured, the data wasn’t being pushed to the page. Search engines weren't seeing them. Extra code had to be written to retrieve the meta tags from Drupal. This took weeks of lost time and dozens of hours between the developer and the SEO team.

  • Decoupled sites that have non-standard URLs. If you are changing the way that URLs work, other things break, like Sitemap. This is another case where functionality had to be re-created. In fact, we opted to not use the available modules and use a third party service to crawl and create a sitemap manually because the development overhead would have been too costly. This functionality is trivial in a non-headless environment, not to mention free.

  • The current crop of SEO SAAS tools do not work on headless sites. If you use any third party tools like Moz, you’re out of luck when it comes to crawling and understanding your decoupled site. While those services may add support for headless CMS in the future, as of today, many hours of manual evaluations and looking at pages that used to take seconds with an automated tool are required.

And a lot more. Almost none of the recommendations I make on my SEO Checklist work with decoupled Drupal sites without some kind of additional development time and effort.

Keep in mind that all of this custom development means that you are responsible for maintenance and upkeep of this code. If there are issues or bugs with your website, your IT team will need to resolve them. Security problems? You’re largely on your own.

Can You Justify Headless Drupal?

If all you need is a CMS to manage content for a responsive website, headless Drupal is overkill and will actually slow time to market. The times to consider decoupling Drupal is when you have several different uses for the same content such as multiple websites displaying the same articles, various front-end device, and custom user experiences. Or, perhaps when you need truly real-time updates to a site where performance would be killed by using Drupal’s entire system (and even then, there are ways to do this without headless).

Powdr Ski Resorts could justify using headless Drupal because they have multiple websites for their network of ski resorts as well as around 50 unique events each year. They need flexibility to have different designs on the front-end but uniform data on the backend to manage content. The website project was completed by Elevated Third, Hoorooh Digital, and Acquia. You can learn about the challenges of this project in this blog: Decoupled Drupal: A 10,000 Ft View.

When the right situation exists, you still need to evaluate the financial impact of decoupling Drupal.

Additional costs for decoupling Drupal include:

  • Custom development to recreate existing Drupal capabilities

  • Custom development to create the data hand-off

  • Custom development for each device

  • Additional development to implement SEO

  • Added SEO maintenance and reporting costs

  • Maintenance of custom development

You may evaluate these costs and still find that headless Drupal is the way to go for your business. But in the majority of cases, the costs are too high.

And just to be perfectly clear: I’m not anti-headless Drupal. In fact, I’m very much in support of it when there are very good and specific applications that call for that particular set of functionality. It’s not bad, it’s just not the right tool for most sites.

That said, I’m very anti-headless when it’s just “for fun” or “that's the way the cool kids are doing it”. That’s crazy and expensive. Unfortunately, that’s what I’m seeing more and more. Implementing headless Drupal for static brochure websites is irresponsible and will drive people away from using Drupal in the long run.

Drupal SEO Services

Before you head down the decoupled Drupal path, be sure to factor in extra time and expense for Drupal SEO development. Volacci can work with your development team to ensure that the right functionality is available in the finished product. Contact us for an evaluation of your SEO needs.

Aug 10 2017
Aug 10

 “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Benjamin Franklin

This age-old advice from Benjamin Franklin is applicable in many situations but is a clear truth when you are upgrading or migrating your website to Drupal 8. The fact is: if you do not plan for SEO in your website transition, you will see a drop in Google rankings and traffic.

Whitepaper Cover_Key Steps to a Successful Drupal 9 SEO Website Migration or UpgradeVolacci has over ten years of Drupal experience and has created meticulous, process-driven methods for SEO during website migrations or upgrades. We've detailed all of our steps to a successful transition in our new whitepaper: Key Steps to a Successful Drupal 8 SEO Website Migration or Upgrade. Download for free here.

We’ve seen it happen over and over again: prospective clients come to us, after completing a website migration without an SEO plan, desperate to get their rankings and search engine traffic back. They are getting those dreaded 404 errors because URLs have changed and they are missing valuable content from their old site. By failing to plan for SEO during the transition, they have prepared to fail in Google search results!

The best Drupal migration or upgrade starts with a plan. Starting with an SEO transition plan helps you avoid these problems. In fact, if done right, your traffic and rankings will improve.

What Does a Drupal 8 Migration Plan for SEO Look Like?

“If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could better judge what to do, and how to do it.” Abraham Lincoln

Just as Abraham Lincoln suggests, the first thing to do is evaluate where you are, where you want to be and then determine how to get there. A Drupal SEO transition plan should include the steps below. Following these steps will take you from where you are with your old website to where you want to be with your new one.

  1. Establish a ranking and traffic baseline on the old site.
  2. Agree upon goals for the newly migrated website.
  3. Evaluate your customer and how you target them.
  4. Analyze the competition. Steal their best ideas.
  5. Review content: keep, improve, or redirect.
  6. Implement technical SEO for the new website.
  7. Evaluate your landing and transaction pages for conversions.
  8. Communicate with Google and other sites about the change.
  9. Measure and monitor your new website before, during and after the migration.

Learn more about each of these steps in Volacci’s new whitepaper: Key Steps to a Successful Drupal 8 SEO Website Migration or Upgrade. You’ll see key metrics to evaluate, questions to answer, and other things to consider in a complete Drupal SEO transition plan.

Transition to a New Drupal 8 Website with Confidence

"Once you have commitment, you need the discipline and hard work to get you there." Haile Gebrselassie

The greatest SEO transition plan is useless if you don’t follow through. Once the plan is in place, the hard work begins. Upgrading or migrating your website to Drupal 8 can be time-consuming and costly, but the results may be essential to improving your digital presence and business growth.

You don’t have to do it alone. Volacci offers specialized Drupal SEO services so that you can make the transition with confidence.  Contact us to sign up for a free migration evaluation or give us a call at (512) 989-2945 x201.

About Drupal Sun

Drupal Sun is an Evolving Web project. It allows you to:

  • Do full-text search on all the articles in Drupal Planet (thanks to Apache Solr)
  • Facet based on tags, author, or feed
  • Flip through articles quickly (with j/k or arrow keys) to find what you're interested in
  • View the entire article text inline, or in the context of the site where it was created

See the blog post at Evolving Web

Evolving Web