The must have Drupal modules for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The modules listed in this article provide the most basic functionality regarding Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). They guarantee that your website is indexed by the most important search engines and that your content is displayed properly in the search results. They also provide you the most basic functionality required to grow your search result impressions/clicks and to improve the ranking of your content.

Metatag
"The Metatag module allows you to automatically provide structured metadata, aka "meta tags", about your website. In the context of search engine optimization, when people refer to meta tags they are usually referring to the meta description tag and the meta keywords tag that may help improve the rankings and display of your site in search engine results."

As an absolute minimum you enable the core module metatag. If you use views or panels it is highly recommended to enable the corresponding submodules "Metatag: Views" and "Metatag: Panels". Optionally the submodules "Metatag: Dublin Core" and "Metatag: Open Graph" might be very useful too. Regarding configuration, you should ensure that the meta title and description tags are provided, as they determine the appearance in the Google search result. Thus the absolute minimum might be that you use the node title and site name for the title and the node summary as meta description (to do so you apply the following defaults [node:title] | [site:name]; [node:summary]).

Meta tags quick
„Meta tags implementation based on Fields API. Every meta tag (keywords, description, copyright) is treated as a separate field. Meta tag fields are then attached to registered entities (content types, taxonomy vocabularies), and appear in the entity edit form.“

We already use the module metatag, so why to use another meta tag module? I added this module because it offers a very easy and convenient way to add path-based meta tags i.e. meta tags related to URLs. This is very useful if you have URLs that are neither nodes, individual views or panels (for example an URL that shows different blocks or taxonomy terms without specific views).

Pathauto
„The Pathauto module automatically generates URL/path aliases for various kinds of content (nodes, taxonomy terms, users) without requiring the user to manually specify the path alias.“

Proper URLs are potentially important in many ways (display Google search result, ranking, etc.). The module Pathauto helps you to automatically generate suitable URLs based on so called tokens (example: node: title for the title of a node). Here the minimum is probably that you configure the different elements such as nodes or taxonomy terms to use the title or term name as basis for the URL.

Xml Sitemap
„The XML sitemap module creates a sitemap that conforms to the sitemaps.org specification. This helps search engines to more intelligently crawl a website and keep their results up to date. The sitemap created by the module can be automatically submitted to Ask, Google, Bing (formerly Windows Live Search), and Yahoo! search engines. The module also comes with several submodules that can add sitemap links for content, menu items, taxonomy terms, and user profiles.“

This module generates an xml site map and transmits it periodically to the most important search engines. Within the sitemap you can define which sites/menu items/taxonomy terms should be transmitted with what priority.

Global Redirect
„Once enabled, an alias provides a nice clean URL for a path on a site. However Drupal does not remove the old path (eg node/1234). The problem is that you now have two URLs representing the same content. This is dangerous territory for duplicate pages which can get you sandboxed by the search engines!“

GlobalRedirect is a simple module which provides you all the functionality to avoid such problems. Here you can just install and enable the default as this ensures the minimum functionality.

Search 404
„Instead of showing a standard "404 Page not found", this module performs a search on the keywords in the URL, e.g. if a user goes to http://example.com/does/not/exist, this module will do a search for "does not exist" and shows the result of the search instead of the 404 page.“

This module will help you to retain visitors coming in from wrong or old URLs linked from other sites or from search indices. This functionality is particularly important if you occasionally actively or passively (because you enabled autopath the URL might be changed automatically upon a change of title) change URLs.

Redirect
„Common API for loading, saving, and deleting redirects. Case-insensitive redirect matching with a hook to allow other modules to narrow-down the candidate redirects. Redirect counter and last used timestamp, with automatic cleanup of inactive redirects.“

This module works together with the above module Search 404. It allows you to see a ranking list of the URLs that have not been found and to redirect them to the correct URL or to another related URL (function "fix 404 pages").

If you need a helper for the installation of the above modules and more advanced tools, I recommend you the installation of the module SEO checklist: „The Drupal SEO Checklist uses Drupal SEO 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.“

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