Search Engine Optimization is not a destination, it is a journey, they say. Especially so with constantly changing algorithms and the influx of new websites every minute (~175*). But what is it really that helps boost a website’s SEO ranking? I would like to classify this into two factors - direct and indirect methods. While direct methods can include improving SEO with the help of the right content placement, usage of keywords, and mobile-friendly designs amongst others, some indirect methods can include optimizing the website’s performance, improving user experience, and some off-page SEO techniques.
Applying all of these techniques is crucial to optimizing your website for search engines. As a CMS, Drupal offers many basic to advanced directly and indirectly impacting SEO boosting features, some of which can go unnoticed. In this article, we are going to talk about some of these features but before we dive into how Drupal lends itself well to SEO by default and with some helping modules, it is important to know what search engines are really looking for. And we are not including the quality and relevance of content here as it is one of the most important factors for your website to rank better.Understanding How Search Engines Rank a Website
The first step to understanding how search engines rank your website is to pick a search engine. And clearly, with a global market share of 83% of all search engines, Google is going to be the chosen one!
So what does Google really look for in your website? Here’s an excerpt straight from Google:
Let’s break them down and know what it really means:
- Meaning of the query: Involves identifying relevant results based on the intent of the query. Google uses various language models to match the words in the query with the most useful content. Thorough keyword research will help you identify and use the most trending and relevant keywords on your website.
- Relevance of the content: Google now checks if the content available contains the keywords in the query. Especially scans if the keywords are placed in the most strategic locations like the Headings (H1, H2, H3), Titles, Meta descriptions, etc. Beyond this, it also checks if the content provided on your page has enough useful information (relevant images, relevant topics) that is related to the query.
- Quality of content: This is more of an Off-page SEO factor that checks if other trusted sources have linked to the website and content. Therefore, the more quality backlinks you have, the better.
- Content and settings: In order to provide you with the most relevant results, Google needs to know you better. Like your geographic location so when you search for “Cake shops near me” from New York, you’re not taken to cake shops in Cambodia. It also checks for your search history (if enabled) to provide you with the most meaningful content. To improve this, some off-page SEO techniques like local search listing can be applied.
- Usability of web pages: Now this is where our on-page SEO techniques, which we are going to talk about in this article, come in handy! Google looks at Page experience aspects that impact user experience. Like the performance of the website, page load time, mobile friendliness, interactivity, safe browsing, accessibility, etc.
Although there are many contributed modules that can help boost your SEO, Drupal also lends well to SEO by default. Let’s take a look at some of those factors that directly or indirectly help improve your Drupal website’s SEO.Accelerated Performance
The Big pipe module uses the Big pipe technique (invented by Facebook) to load pages faster. It requires zero configuration and employs the Dynamic page cache module’s caching abilities to lazily load content. In reality, it improves perceived performance which helps improve the core web vitals and overall usability of your website.
In addition to that, images can now be Lazily loaded by default. Since version 9.1, Drupal has added default support to native lazy loading of images (a browser feature that defers offscreen loading of images). Since images take up a huge chunk of the bandwidth, this feature support hugely reduces the page load time of a website.
Since Drupal 9.2, support for WebP format images is now out of the box. WebP formats drastically reduce the image size while maintaining the quality and it is widely supported by modern browsers today. Using Drupal core Image Styles, you can easily convert any image (png, jpg, gif, etc) to a webP format. Additionally, you can also download the WebP Drupal module to convert your images to webP format in runtime.Responsive Web Design
Not only can you provide a responsive website to your user, but now managing content on your website is also easy on the fly. Since Drupal 8, responsiveness is out of the box which means that various design elements are provided and supported to ensure your site looks great on all devices.
Scaling down a bigger image to fit a small device is harmful to performance and consumes more data as it still needs to load the bigger image first. With the Responsive image styles and Breakpoint modules, images load faster as you can now provide various breakpoints for each device and load only a particular image for the specific breakpoint.
Drupal’s new default front-end theme, Olivero, is creating waves for its modern and mobile-friendly design features. It also offers native support for CSS variables which means that changing styles based on breakpoints is now easy. Navigation elements like breadcrumbs and menus are highly optimized for mobile devices.Accessibility
Drupal is constantly improving accessibility and is always committed to providing an accessible web for all. The community’s Accessibility team works towards identifying and resolving accessibility barriers. By default, Drupal offers accessibility support for features like WAI-ARIA (Web Accessibility Initiative - Accessible Rich Internet Applications) elements, Aural alerts (providing timely messages to aural users), Alt text (making images/videos more understandable), Accessible in-line forms (making it easy to identify the errors while filling up a form), Tabbing Manager (guiding non-visual users to ‘tabbable’ parts of the page) and many more. The default WYSIWYG editor, CKEditor, also supports accessibility in that it enables a good semantic structure for content.
Olivero, the default front-end theme, was designed with accessibility in mind. It has a level AA compliance with the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). The combination of light and dark colors in the theme also enables good accessibility. Additionally, the color contrasts used in the forms and buttons are beneficial for accessibility.
Besides Drupal's front-end theme, the back-end theme - Claro, also has high accessibility standards. It has been a part of Drupal core since version 8.8. It conforms with the WCAG 2.0 AA guidelines having a large enough base font size, careful usage of spacing, AA standard approved form elements usage, and more.Must-have SEO-Boosting Drupal Modules
Now that we know how Drupal is great for SEO straight out of the box, let’s look into some crucial and absolutely must-have contributed Drupal modules that will enhance your website’s SEO ranking.
- Enable structured data with the Drupal MetaTag module. Read these articles to know more about the module and how to configure it.
- Generate user-friendly URLs with the Drupal PathAuto module. Read this article to learn more about the module and how to generate bulk URL aliases.
- Avoid invalid URLs and direct your users to the right path with the Drupal Redirect module. Read more about the Redirect module and other powerful Drupal SEO modules in this article.
- Find and fix broken links with the Drupal LinkChecker module. It periodically checks for broken links and generates a report for the same.
- Preview and edit SEO content in real-time with the Drupal Yoast SEO module. It also does content analysis and tells you what you are missing - like reminding you of the max length of the content, readability score, word count, right placements for the focus keyword, and more.
- Ensure your website follows all necessary SEO best practices with the SEO checklist module. It checks your website if it is search engine optimized and provides you with suggestions for improving it.
Optimizing your website for search engines and getting listed above your competitors is critical for business growth today. As we mentioned right at the start, SEO is a journey, a process that keeps evolving with the market trends. Drupal is an ideal choice of CMS to help you sail through that journey smoothly. At Specbee, our Drupal experts and technical SEO experts. offer a comprehensive Drupal SEO services package to help your website get to the top of all search engines. Talk to us today!
Author: Shefali Shetty
Meet Shefali Shetty, Director of Marketing at Specbee. An enthusiast for Drupal, she enjoys exploring and writing about the powerhouse. While not working or actively contributing back to the Drupal project, you can find her watching YouTube videos trying to learn to play the Ukulele :)Drupal Drupal 9 Drupal Planet Drupal 8 Drupal 9 Module Drupal Development
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Today we are talking about The Schema.org Blueprints Module with Jacob Rockowitz.
- What is Schema.org
- What is the Schema.org first approach
- Is this just for SEO
- What is the Schema.org Blueprints Module
- What are the goals
- How does this module benefit your project
- Can you give us a demo
- Why Paragraphs
- How do you handle schema you do not need
- How do you handle missing schema
- Have any sites used this
- What is your maintenance approach
- Contributing to Schema.org
- Introducing the Schema.org Blueprints Module for Ambitious Drupal Site Builders
- Schema.org Blueprints project page
- Schema.org-first blog posts
Flex Field Defines a new “FlexField” field type that lets you create simple inline multiple-value fields without having to use entity references.
The Drupal Community Working Group (CWG) enters its 9th year and its members feel that it is their duty to continue pursuing the mission of building a friendly and welcoming community for Drupal projects and even uphold the Drupal Code of Conduct to its best ability.
So, through this article let’s walk through the initiatives taken by the Drupal Community Health team and also look into the facts that would depict the state of the contributions made till now in order to improve the experience of working in the Drupal community.What is CWG Community Health Team?
In the year 2020, the Drupal Community Working Group expanded, and the Community Health Team was formed. The mission of this new team was to prioritize community health tasks that included workshops and knowledge transfer.
As a refresher, the Community Health Team was asked to look after the following tasks:
- Community Event Support – To provide resources and support in relation to the Code of Conduct for Drupal events.
- Community Health – To provide opportunities in order to educate and train community members to be more effective contributors.
- Membership - To help recognize and recruit community members for the CWG.
- Ambassadors (subject matter experts) – To provide expertise and advice in relation to geographic, cultural, and other differences both inside and outside the Drupal community.
To your surprise, the team also worked on the following proactive community-health-related projects:
- Initial work on a Drupal Code of Conduct update.
- Continued development and monthly meetings of a group of community health representatives from other open source communities.
- Ongoing Code of Conduct contact workshops.
- Initial authoring of the Drupal Event Accessibility Playbook.
- Blog posts related to community health.
- "Nudges" for Drupal Slack Workspace and issue queues.
In fact, to accomplish the long-term goals, the Community Health Team continues to include providing an on-ramp for the Conflict Resolution Team and recognizing and presenting additional community-health-related workshops for the community.Familiarizing with the Conflict Resolution Team
The Conflict Resolution Team welcomed its newest member, Donna Bungard in May 2021. In fact, the team is looking on to add multiple new members to the team in 2022.
The Conflict Resolution Team happens to work on ongoing and new Code of Conduct-related issues. During the weekly meetings, they usually work on three types of tasks:
- Internal business – In this, the examples include recruitment, public blog posts, and presentations, Aaron Winborn Award, event organizer requests, and other non-conflict-related requests from community members.
- External, old business – It includes ongoing conflict resolution tasks that are generally brought to the Conflict Resolution Team from community members.
- External, new business – It includes new conflict resolution tasks, that are generally brought to the Conflict Resolution Team from community members.
Well, the conflict resolution team decided to perform a quantitative analysis of the number and kinds of conflict resolution issues they work on by comparing data from 2019 and 2020 with data from 2021.
The team’s methodology enabled them to assign one or two of the following categories to each new issue they received during 2019-2021:
- Social media conflict
- Issue queue conflict
- Drupal Slack workspace conflict
- In-person Drupal event conflict
- Virtual Drupal event conflict
- Not CWG domain
- Other – In this, the examples include content issues on Drupal.org, issues related to local Drupal communities (but not directly related to an event), and interpersonal issues occurring in areas not covered by any of the other categories.
Talking about the overall number of incidents they continue to observe fewer new conflict-related incidents, with 14 reported during 2021 (in comparison with 35 in 2019 and 17 in 2020).
- Not a surprise, that the number of conflicts reported from in-person events was zero.
- There were zero incidents reported to the team from social media conflicts between Drupal community members.
- The number of issue queue conflicts was down to 6.
Let’s see what 2022 holds
It’s time to take a look at what exactly the Community Health team holds in 2022.Conflict Resolution Team: Membership
Having served more than 3 years on the team, the multiple current resolution team members look forward to adding new members to the team. This seems to be one of their major goals for 2022. In fact, they have been interviewing multiple candidates already in 2022 and wish to have an announcement soon.
Also, one of the goals of the Community Health team is to offer an on-ramp to the Conflict Resolution Team. The Community Health team will ask all the potential Conflict Resolution Team members to join the Community Health Team as a necessity.
With the addition of Donna Bungard in 2021, they could document and formalize their onboarding process for new conflict resolution team members. Also, during the onboarding period, new members mainly shadow the team and have very limited access to historical conflict resolution reports.
The new members at the conclusion of the trial period will either become regular members or won’t be able to be a part of the team any longer. And all the trial members need to be approved by the CWG Review Panel as per recommended by the team’s charter.Community Health Team: Code of Conduct
The Community Health Team strongly plans to focus on the aforementioned Drupal Code of Conduct update, assisting with the expansion of the Community Health Discussions group from multiple open-source communities and continued support for the other proactive community health initiatives in this year 2022.
These videos also can give you better clarity on the contributions made by the Drupal Community Health Team.
Learn more on:
- The role of Community Initiatives to help Drupal evolve
- Drupal for Every Industry: Serving Needs and Fulfilling Demands
- The new features and improvements in Drupal 10
Hoping that this article really helped you in getting a proper understanding of how the Drupal Community Health Team is taking initiatives in building a secure and friendly community for all aspiring Drupalists.
You also get to learn about their future plans and endeavors which can possibly help them in creating an atmosphere where every contributor can grow and reach their desired career goals with ease and convenience.