Google First Page Rankings and Drupal SEO-friendly URLs
Get Your Drupal SEO in Check
The URL aliases are the addresses for your website. A node is a content item for your Drupal site and the following address represents the first content item for a node within your Drupal website:
- Default URLs for new content on a Drupal website: /node/1
- URL Alias module allows new content added to become more human readable and most important, SEO-friendly: /articles/title-of-the-article
This format is not exactly human-friendly, nor is it SEO-friendly. Let’s fix it…
Drupal SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Building a professional business plan includes SEO for your Drupal website. It’s that important!
When you first install Drupal, by default, you will most likely have “Path Auto” enabled. This is the reason your URLs are not by default, user-friendly. The good news is that this is an easy fix.
Drupal SEO Modules
Drupal out-of-the-box is pretty lean. It doesn’t do a whole lot. But there are over two-thousand Drupal modules that can be easily installed and enabled to enrich your Drupal website. Contributed modules provide new features for your Drupal website. Just like the App Store, if you need something, there is probably a module for that. When your looking for a new “feature”, you are looking for a Drupal module. Modules can also change how existing features work.
Modules for Clean URLs
There are a couple of modules that allow us to automatically change URLs to something more memorable. It gives us more human-readable, search engine optimized “friendly” URLs. This is very important for the long-term success of your Drupal site.
SEO-friendly URLs can help you achieve the business success you are looking for. Install the Drupal PathAuto and Token modules. Once you have these two two modules installed and enabled, it will remedy your ugly URLs problem.
- PathAuto (requires Token) – this module automatically generates URL/path aliases for various kinds of content (nodes, taxonomy, terms, users) without requiring you to have URL aliases like “category/my-node-title” instead of “node/123”.
- Token (provides a user interface for the Token API).
You can enable both of these modules at the same time (after you have them installed). If you do not have these modules installed and enabled already, you will want to download and enable them in your Drupal back end. You can download these modules at the Drupal website:
Install both of these modules and enable them to benefit from search engine-friendly URLs on your Drupal site.
Drupal SEO-Friendly URLs Better Than Just Human-Friendly URLs
Now, you will notice that your Drupal URLs will take on a completely different pattern. The URLs will represent something such as /content/article-name
This is an improvement, but still not best practice because as your Drupal content increases, everything will be “content” plus the article name. So, let’s take your Drupal SEO a step further.
- Hover on “Configuration”
- Hover on “Search and Meta Data“
- Hover on “URL aliases”
If your not seeing URL aliases, it’s OK since you just recently enabled these modules.
Enable Clean URLs
Enable this search and metadata option to make clean URLs possible for your site. Remember that content is king. Due to this, user friendly URLs like example.com/user instead of example.com/?q=user are better for Drupal SEO as well as an improved user experience.
To accomplish this, it’s pretty simple.
- Hover on “Configuration”
- Hover on “Search and Meta Data”
- Hover on “Clean URLs”
- Put a check mark in the “Enable Clean URLs” box and click the “Save Configuration” button.
Once this is done, you will notice that your new content will have human-friendly URLs.
Setup Patterns For Your URLs
- Setup patterns by clicking on the “Patterns” tab on the top of your Drupal dashboard.
- Highlight /[node:title] with your mouse and copy.
- Advance to the next “pattern” field that is empty.
- Type the name for each path and paste. For example, for your “book” content type, you will have the pattern book/[node:title]
- Complete this step until every pattern is defined.
- Click “Save Configuration”
Now click on the “List” tab and you will see that the URLs have not yet changed. This is because the content in the “List” tab was already created prior to you enabling your new URL patterns. All future content on your site will now reflect these new patterns.
NOTE: Don’t change the URLs of existing content articles on a live site! If you already have content indexed in Google, you will not want to make any changes to your URLs. Rather, you can set this up BEFORE your site goes live.
- Click on the “Delete Aliases” tab at the top.
- Check the “All Aliases” box.
- Click on the “Delete aliases now!” button.
- Click “Bulk Update” tab at the top.
- Choose all the boxes.
- Click “Update”
Drupal SEO-friendly URLs
Now all your URLs have been re-generated. You now have a pattern of your URLs that actually makes sense. You can test this by adding a new content item. Any testing data will do. Leave the default day and time enabled, then save it. You will notice in the URL that the address is not only human friendly, but it’s also SEO-friendly. The importance of this cannot be understated. Without SEO, your Drupal site will have few visitors. The Drupal SEO-friendly solutions are not difficult nor is it time consuming, yet the benefits are vast. Web design challenges are vast, but they can be overcome.
Drupal is an amazing tool for creating advanced websites and accessible usability pages.