Posted to Ben Finklea's blog on April 7th, 2010

10 Drupal SEO Mistakes to Avoid

Everyone makes mistakes. That’s just a part of being human. But only those who learn from their mistakes will truly succeed.

When it comes to SEO, making mistakes happens just like in all other ventures. But the problem that occurs in SEO is that most people who make these mistakes don't know they are making them.

If you are planning on implementing SEO on your Drupal site, are currently do so, or just want to learn more about this mysterious and intriguing process, please join me after the jump for 10 Drupal SEO mistakes to avoid with your website.

Mistake #1: Not tracking or not tracking the right statistics

Occurs when

You don't have any Analytics software installed.

Fix by

It can be fixed by installing analytics as soon as you launch the site.

A good analytics program will help you learn which online marketing initiatives are cost effective and see how visitors interact with your site. With that information, you can make informed design improvements, drive targeted traffic, and increase your conversions and profits. Analytics won't make the tough decisions for you—they will give you the data you need to make those decisions.

It's important to install analytics as soon as possible, so that you can start to accumulate data about your site visitors. The more data you have, the better the reports and decisions you will be able to make. Depending on your site traffic, it may take weeks or months before you have enough meaningful data to put to use improving your site.

There are dozens of analytics packages out there and it's hard to beat Google's free suite which is simply called Google Analytics. It's easy to install, quick to get started, and has easy-to-read charts. Yet, it boasts very powerful features like advanced segmentation, customizable reporting, and industry benchmarking.

When using Google Analytics with Drupal, it's even better. It's easy to install, configure and test thanks to the Google Analytics module. The Google Analytics module was first created by Mike Carter and is now maintained by Alexander Hass. Thank you, gentlemen!

Mistake #2: Picking keywords that don’t produce enough traffic

Occurs when

You pick terms that match your product or service but don't check to make sure that your customers actually use those terms. Great rankings don't mean a thing if nobody searches for those terms.

Fix by

It can be fixed by picking terms that are targeted but also produce some good traffic. It will take you longer to rank but you'll get a lot more out of it when you finally do.

Keyword research is one of the most important things you'll do in SEO so make sure you've taken the time to do it right.

As a Drupal site owner, you have the opportunity to position yourself as the best site available for the keywords people are searching for.

Mistake #3: Duplicating content

Occurs when.

You have the exact same content on two or more pages on your site. Drupal does this when clean URLs are turned on.

Fix by

It can be fixed by installing and configuring the Global Redirect Module. The Global Redirect module takes care of some housekeeping issues that come up when clean URLs are enabled in Drupal.

Let's say, for example, that you create a new web site and create the first node that you call My First Post. Later, because you want the front page of your site to be the content of that node, you go into site settings and make node/1 the front page of the site. Sounds pretty harmless, right?

Wrong. The search engines will think that you have six pages of the exact same content. That's not good. Global Redirect fixes that by redirecting all the URLs you don't want to the one URL that you do.

Mistake #4: Changing the node path without creating a redirect

Occurs when

You edit a node and change the path. The node is still displaying properly but the old path shows a file not found error.

Fix by

It can be fixed by properly installing and configuring the Path Redirect module. This module allows you to specify a redirect from one path to another path or an external URL, using any HTTP redirect status.

Mistake #5: Spending time on meta tags that don’t matter

Occurs when

You go through your site setting keyword and other meta tags on each node.

Fix by

It can be fixed by remembering that Google doesn't use the keywords meta tag. Go ahead and set them for your main pages but don't spend too much time on it.

Mistake #6: A slow Drupal site

Occurs when

Your site takes more than about two seconds to load.

Fix by

It can be fixed by turning on caching, upgrading your server or changing your hosting company. There are also more advanced caching mechanisms you can use.

Mistake #7: Flash, frames, graphics, and other things are obscuring your site from Google

Occurs when

The site was built more for looks than for ranking well in the search engines.

Fix by

It can be fixed by making sure that your keywords appear in your site—especially on the pages that contain a lot of graphics or Flash.

Mistake #8: Optimizing for your company’s name

Occurs when

The company name appears first in the title tags and other places on the site. It's easy to forget that your corporate site will probably rank first in Google for your company name and brand names so there's probably no need to optimize for it.

Fix by

It can be fixed by using keywords at the beginning of your title tags and moving your company name to the end. For example: 'Mortgages by Big Bank Corp' instead of 'Big Bank Corp Mortgages'.

Mistake #9: Not putting contact information on the site

Occurs when

Your company phone number or other contact information doesn't appear in the banner of your site which would make it very easy for people to contact you.

Fix by

It can be fixed by putting the phone number big and bold in the banner. Make sure you put it in the footer and other obvious places like the contact us page.

Mistake #10: Not enough links

Occurs when

There is a belief that if you just put up a good site with good content then you'll rank at the top of Google and the other search engines. While these things help a lot, most sites will need to generate at least a few good links in order to rank.

Fix by

It can be fixed by spending a few hours getting some links. If you're not sure how to do this, it may be worth it to call in an SEO consultant to help you out.

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