A client came to us at Dorey Design Group because they were lacking in good traffic to their Drupal 7 website. Either a lot of people would visit their site and leave, increasing their bounce rate on Google Analytics, or people just didn't see them in Google's search results.
It can be frustrating to have a beautiful website that you invested heavily into and not have anyone visit your site. This is how our client was feeling, but after we worked with them to complete some on-page SEO, their new sessions increased 384.22% and they increased in their organic search traffic 156.21%. That's a pretty big increase.
How did we do this?
Or how do you get more organic traffic to your website? It all comes down to search engine optimization (SEO) to your Drupal website. There’s other things you can do like pay-per-click or buying ad spots. However, you would be surprised at the results you can get just by doing some on-page SEO on your site.
SEO is a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. SEO encompasses both technical and creative elements required to improve ranking and drive traffic. SEO isn’t just about building search engine-friendly websites. It’s about making your site better for people too.
How to SEO your Drupal website?
Search engines are limited in how they crawl the web and interpret content. So how a web page might look like to you or me is different than how a search engine like Google see's your website. You can use tools like Google’s cache to see how Google sees your site vs. how you see it.
Pretty quickly you can see how different your website looks compared to how Google see’s it. It's important for good SEO that all the content be in HTML, and that gif, jpg, or png are formatted with “alt attributes”. This helps search engines to understand what your image is about and how it's related to your site.
It’s important to know what keywords to put on your site. This includes what you think people would type into a search engine as Google. After compiling a list of keywords related to your site then you create description tags and title tags with those keywords.
This is how Dorey Design Group appears in Google when your search for Portland Web Designer. As you can see the name has “Design” in it which is one of our keywords as well as “Web Development” and “Drupal”.
By placing keywords like this in our meta descriptions and title tags we are able to help Google help people find our website. A good title tag will only be about 65-75 characters long. This is the same for social media sites. For meta descriptions, they can be any length, but they work best when they are no longer than 160 characters long.
This is how we helped our latest client with their Drupal 7 website as we updated over 50 title tags and meta descriptions with keywords we worked with the client over.
Links are another important aspect of good SEO. A big part of this is something that looks like rel=”nofollow”. This is placed inside of an href, but this link tag tells search engines that the sites owners do not want this link to be interpreted as an endorsement of the target page.
This ensures everything on your page is connected and related to each other and improves your SEO.
Since search engines display URL’s in the results, they can impact the click through and visibility. The key thing here is that URL construction generally has less of an impact on search engines, but poor URL structure can result in negative user experience.
This was the case for our last client as they had a lot of URL’s which were not constructed well. It’s a good idea to place yourself in the mind of the user while doing SEO and this is no different with URL construction. Its best to keep it short and to the point. If you use a keyword that's great. Lastly, it's best to use (-) rather than (%20) or (+) or (_).
Duplicate content is one of the most vexing problems any website can face and this was no different from our last client. Search engines have cracked down on pages with thin or duplicate content by assigning them lower rankings. Also, Canonicalization happens when two or more duplicate versions of a webpage appear on different URLs.
Search engines are picky about duplicate versions of a single piece of material. To provide the best search experience they will rarely show multiple, duplicate pieces of content. So, for our client we made an excel spreadsheet of all of these URL’s and did 301-redirects which turns maybe three weak pages into one strong page.
SEO is something that can seem intimidating and confusing, but it doesn't have to be. It can be something that really empowers your website. So, after you have done these steps above it’s important to maintain good SEO and continue best practices.
A good practice for this is to use Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics. With Webmaster Tools, you can find and correct any crawl errors or bad URL’s that arise. On Google Analytics, you can see which pages have your most popular content and which pages have a high bounce rate.
This information can be helpful to you as you adjust keywords or make sure you're following best practices when it comes to page layout designs.
Writing compelling copy goes hand in hand with good SEO for your site. A headline on your homepage must match your imagery as well as your company’s brand.
Finally, bringing everything together, it's important to note that a website is never really a finished product. It’s constantly changing as are search engines, and as change comes and goes, we must adapt to whatever the best SEO techniques arise.
A good example of this would be our site at DDG, as we had linked our name to each site we built which was good for our SEO, but then Google changed its algorithm. Now, the sites we built that aren’t related to web design or development hurt our ratings. And so, we had to adapt to the new algorithm. When it comes to good SEO on your Drupal website you always have to stay on your toes.