Search Engine Traffic and Optimization for Drupal

  • Posted on: 17 July 2013
  • By: Michael

Drupal out of the box, properly configured, is very SEO friendly. But don't expect your 10 to 20 page site to get any significant search engine traffic. And by search engine, we're talking Google. Google routinely accounts for about two thirds of all US search engine traffic, and other than China, a significant portion of the worlds search engine traffic.

But I want Search Engine Traffic!

Absolutely nothing beats a properly configured Drupal site with significant amounts of unique, relevant, similarly topic'ed content.

If you don't want to bother with creating content, you supposedly can "hire an 'SEO guru' who will rocket your site to the first page of Google results and/or sell lots of your product through PPC." I have several problems with these statements.

  1. I have yet to find anyone in the SEO field who's willing to be paid for performance. This is across multiple years and numerous projects. Usually the final response becomes a bait and switch, like this verbatim response:

    Adam wrote:
    Thanks for reaching out. It sounds like you're looking for a
    commission-only outside sales/marketing person or, perhaps, someone to
    serve as an affiliate for your service. Unfortunately those are not
    services we offer. We'll manage PPC campaigns for a monthly fee based off
    of what the client pays to Google for clicks each month and will also do
    Conversion Optimization for an additional monthly fee. So it sounds like
    we're not a good fit for what you're looking for.

  2. Those that are offering just SEO invariably tell you to start writing content, so they can ...
  3. I'm uncomfortable always being worried that Google has blacklisted me due to the SEO agent using previously Google accepted behavior that Google now dislikes.

Okay, But I Still! Want! Search Engine Traffic!!

I've generally found, unless a client has no English writing skills at all, that a client is better served by:

  • Creating the first pass of their own unique content,
  • Turning it over to an editor or technical writer to polish, and
  • Publishing it on a fairly defined schedule.

If you're a local business write about local events, activities, and other items of interest to your target demographic. The key is what interests your target demographic?

A publishing schedule can be any thing from daily (not recommended!) to no less than monthly. Drupal does have a scheduler function, so it makes it easy to write several at a time and have Drupal automatically 'turn them on' as their publish dates come up.

No, this is not cheap, but the 'total costs' between this and and a 'SEO guru' are about the same, and I know I sleep better at night. In the long run it is usually cheaper than using AdWords type activities.



PS: Extra Tidbit (Related to SEO), External link behavior:

Many business want all external links to open a new browser window. Rightly or wrongly, this forces the user to come back to their site at some point (even if just to close the tab). This allows for the potential of increased sales.

Here's one solutions:

Personally I'm ambivalent to whether this is a good practice or not. On the plus side, there's been many times I've had to dig through History to re-find a site I was interested in, on the negative side, if I'm not interested in your site you've annoyed me. Then again, I wasn't interested in your site, so what's the penalty for annoying me?

Obviously we will install this for any of our clients that ask ...

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