Search Engine Optimization with Drupal 6 and Drupal 7

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Presented by David Minton and Stephen Pashby at
Drupalcamp Atlanta (10/27/2012)

This session covered the basics of SEO, including search philosophy & fundamentals, recent changes to the Google algorithm (Google Penguin and Google Panda), and how to effectively use common modules to improve search results for Drupal 6 and Drupal 7 websites..

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Search Engine Optimization with Drupal 6 and Drupal 7

  1. 1. Search Engine Optimization with Drupal 6 and Drupal 7 Saturday, October 27th David Minton @DH_David Stephen Pashby @DH_Stephen @DesignHammer 1
  2. 2. Overview • Search Philosophy & Fundamentals • Google Updates • Off-page SEO • On-site SEO • On-page SEO 2
  3. 3. Search Fundamentals and Philosophy 3
  4. 4. Search Fundamentals Why worry about Search Engine Optimization? 4
  5. 5. Search Engine Optimization “If you build it, they will come.” TheVoice [from the cornfield] Field of Dreams 5
  6. 6. Search EngineWatch (02/2012) 6
  7. 7. Search Engine Optimization “In my experience, the traffic difference from position #1 to position #11 is…something closer to 1/100th of the visits.” Rand Fishkin CEO & Co-Founder of SEOmoz 7
  8. 8. Is SEO Science or Magic “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Arthur C. Clarke’s Third Law of Prediction 8
  9. 9. Is SEO Science or Magic “The technology behind Google’s search algorithm is a closely held secret; no amount of SEO work can guarantee top placement. The only company that can guarantee you a top spot in Google is Google.” David Minton DesignHammer 9
  10. 10. Is SEO Science or Magic “Our most recent algorithm does contain signals that can be gamed. If that one were 100 percent transparent, the bad guys would know how to optimize their way back into the rankings.” Matt Cutts Google 10
  11. 11. Is SEO Science or Magic “Google works in mysterious ways.” Stephen Pashby DesignHammer 11
  12. 12. Types of SEO • Pay-per-click (PPC) • Organic Search • Off-page optimization • On-site optimization • On-page optimization 12
  13. 13. Pay-Per-Click • Largest: Google AdWords,Yahoo! Search Marketing, and Microsoft adCenter • PPC results not based on website content • Outside scope of presentation 13
  14. 14. Off-page examples • Incoming links from other websites • Links from Tweets & other Social Media 14
  15. 15. On-site examples • Keywords in domain name • Keywords in file path • XML site map • Server availability and load times 15
  16. 16. On-page examples • Keywords in page title • Keywords in headlines • Keywords in image and link attributes 16
  17. 17. Anatomy of SERP 17 Pay-per-click (PPC) Organic Search Listing
  18. 18. Anatomy of SERP 18 Description Page Title URL
  19. 19. SEO Philosophy SEO is more than just #1 rankings. 19
  20. 20. Usability “Usability means making sure something works well, and that a person of average ability or experience can use it for it’s intended purpose without getting hopelessly frustrated.” Steve Krug,Author Don't Make MeThink: A Common Sense Approach toWeb Usability 20
  21. 21. 21 Optimized for users’ search? No Fail No Fail No Fail Top search position On target copy on landing page? Yes Profit Yes Enticing title and description? Yes User Behavior
  22. 22. Google Updates 22
  23. 23. Google Updates • Google regularly updates their algorithms to: • Deliver the best search results • Adapt to SEO techniques that (Google feels) distort the search results 23
  24. 24. Google Panda? 24
  25. 25. What is Panda? • Released February 2011 • Affected about 12% of all search results • Intended to penalize low quality websites • Updated about once per month • Named for key engineer on team 25
  26. 26. How to get bitten • Duplicate content on website* • Low-quality content on website • Low content to ad ratio • Content on your website on other sites ✴Solution discussed later 26
  27. 27. Google Penguin? 27
  28. 28. What is Penguin? • Released April 2012 • Affected about 3% of English search results • Intended to decrease search engine ranking of websites that violate Google’s TOS • Updated May 2012 and October 2012 • No explanation provided for code-name 28
  29. 29. How to get bitten • Incoming links from low-quality websites: • Participate in Link Exchange Schemes • Purchase paid links • Listing in low-quality, un-curated directories 29
  30. 30. Off-page Optimization 30
  31. 31. Back links With great power comes great responsibility! 31
  32. 32. Know your Links 32
  33. 33. Linking in Action 33
  34. 34. More than the Beatles 34
  35. 35. …and major sports 35 786,000,000 Football 415,000,000 Basketball 216,000,000 Baseball 131,000,000 Hockey 68,500,000 The Beatles 1,616,500,000
  36. 36. On top: Adobe Reader 36
  37. 37. On top: Adobe Reader 37
  38. 38. Why is this top result? 38
  39. 39. Incoming links Over 10 million incoming links, like this: “You will need Acrobat Reader to read or print this document.To download Acrobat Reader click here.” 39
  40. 40. Real life searches 40
  41. 41. Penguin watch: Off-page 41 • Look for high-quality, relevant links with a diverse selection of keywords • Do not use link exchanges, paid links, low quality sites, or request links from “bad neighborhoods” • Offer content to other quality sites in exchange for links (guest blog posts, articles, etc.)
  42. 42. Linking post Penguin 42
  43. 43. Linking post Penguin 43
  44. 44. How to taunt penguin • Actively: request links from low quality sites • Passively: links submitted to low quality sites by competitors* ✴Monitor your back links! 44
  45. 45. On-Site Optimization 45
  46. 46. robots.txt The gatekeeper of your content. 46
  47. 47. robots.txt • Instruct crawlers on what not to crawl •Most important thing to get right! 47
  48. 48. robots.txt (Drupal 7.x, 6.x) 48
  49. 49. robots.txt (Drupal 7.x, 6.x) 49
  50. 50. robots.txt (Drupal 7.x, 6.x) 50
  51. 51. robots.txt (Drupal 7.x, 6.x) 51 User-agent: * Disallow: /
  52. 52. XML Sitemaps Make it easy for the web crawlers to do their thing. 52
  53. 53. XML Sitemaps • Identify URLs to be crawled along with: • Last updated • Frequency of updates • Relative importance 53
  54. 54. xml sitemap (Drupal 7.x, 6.x) 54
  55. 55. xml sitemap (Drupal 7.x, 6.x) 55
  56. 56. Clean URLs, Path, & Pathauto “You cannot travel the path until you have become the path itself” — Buddha 56
  57. 57. Drupal Path Options • Core with Clean URLs disabled http://example.com/?q=node/2/ • Core with Clean URLs enabled http://example.com/node/2 • Path module (automated by Pathauto) http://example.com/drupal-seo 57
  58. 58. Clean URLs (Drupal 7.x, 6.x) 58
  59. 59. Path & Pathauto (Drupal 7.x, 6.x) 59
  60. 60. Redirects, & Canonical One path to rule them all. 60
  61. 61. Redirects • Redirect from one path to another (alias) • Redirect an external URL (301 redirect) 61
  62. 62. Path Redirect (Drupal 7.x, 6.x) 62
  63. 63. Path Redirect (Drupal 7.x, 6.x) 63
  64. 64. Canonical • For websites with nodes of duplicate or very similar content, or multiple aliases • Prevents dilution of incoming links • Reduces chance of penalty by search engines for duplicate content 64
  65. 65. Meta tags (Drupal 7.x) 65 Scroll down
  66. 66. Load Times & Caching Google factors page load speed. 66
  67. 67. Page Load • Optimize images, CSS, and javascript • Test site for speedbumps • Google PageSpeed • YSlow! • Firebug/Web Inspector 67
  68. 68. Google PageSpeed (Chrome) 68
  69. 69. Caching • Google crawls as anonymous user • Cache pages for anonymous users • Consider Caching Server (Memcached) • Consider Reverse Proxy (Varnish) 69
  70. 70. Performance (Drupal 7.x, 6.x) 70
  71. 71. More on performance • If you missed today’s session on “Performance for Site Builders” by Erik Webb of Aquia, look out for the video! 71
  72. 72. Panda watch: On-site • Use canonical tag for any duplicate content • Don’t make stub pages • Monitor ad to content ratio 72
  73. 73. On-Page Optimization 73
  74. 74. Page Title Your most important tag for SEO. 74
  75. 75. Page Title • Top item in SERP listing • Default in Drupal is :node title: | :site: • Modules allow separate optimization between the page title and the node title • Individually created for each page • Procedurally created via tokens 75
  76. 76. Page Title (Drupal 6.x) 76
  77. 77. Meta tags (Drupal 7.x) 77
  78. 78. Meta Description Entice searchers with carefully crafted content. 78
  79. 79. Meta Description • If relevant, may be displayed as the SERP listing description • Not counted for placement • Allows content creators to craft a targeted description of the page • Individually created for each page • Procedurally created via tokens 79
  80. 80. Nodewords (Drupal 6.x) 80
  81. 81. Meta tags (Drupal 7.x) 81
  82. 82. Structure vs. Presentation Appearances may be deceiving 82
  83. 83. Structure tags HTML tags used to identify the significance of content, such as: • <title> — document title • <h1> — level one headline • <p> — paragraph 83
  84. 84. Presentation The style applied to content that affects the way it looks. An example of a CSS style: h1 { ! font: bold 24px arial; ! margin: 10px 0 10px 0; } 84
  85. 85. Good Structure 85
  86. 86. Underlying Structure 86
  87. 87. Poor Structure 87
  88. 88. Underlying Structure 88
  89. 89. Panda watch: On-page • Content should be main focus of page • Avoid machine generated content • Avoid over optimization of content • Create content for USERS, not ROBOTS 89
  90. 90. Penguin watch: On-page 90 • Black-hat techniques such as • Keyword stuffing • Cloaking
  91. 91. It Doesn’t End Here The battle for SEO dominance never ends. 91
  92. 92. Other Hurdles • SEO is a contest, there can only be one #1 • You must beat others to move up SERP • Without keyword research all efforts are a shot in the dark • Content creators must buy in to succeed • Off-site factors can trump any on-site work 92
  93. 93. Conclusion • Drupal best practices will provide a solid framework for SEO efforts • SEO is fun! 93
  94. 94. Special thanks 94
  95. 95. 95
  96. 96. David Minton Stephen Pashby Follow us! @DesignHammer facebook.com/DesignHammer www.designhammer.com drupal.org/node/1128082 96

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