Posted to Ben Finklea's blog on May 3rd, 2010

The Drupal SEO Justice League

Volacci’s staff is very secure in their nerd-hood. Shameless, really. So when they start discussing Drupal modules in Volacci’s Friday staff meeting, it doesn’t take long before someone makes a comparison to famous sci-fi characters or comic book superheroes. We’ve all heard the joke: “how many nerds does it take to screw in a light bulb”, right? In this particular debate, we narrowed down our comparisons to the original members of the Justice League of America. (There was much love for DC Comics from a few members of our participating audience) And with Free Comic Book Day being this past Saturday, who can blame them?

Drupal modules are one of the many attractive attributes of Drupal and its community. They help extend, enhance, and build on Drupal’s core functionality. So when the flood of comparisons started, and the passion-o-meter rose all the way to 11, I couldn’t help but share the results with our Drupal community.

Join me after the jump for Drupal SEO modules and their Justice League Superhero Equivalents:

Mollom Module = Superman

While many of his fellow superheroes mockingly refer to him as the “Big Blue Boy Scout”, Superman is also known to mere humans as the “Man of Steel”, “The Man of Tomorrow” and “The Last Son of Krypton”. In essence, Superman, introduced in 1932, is responsible for helping create the entire American superhero genre and growing its resounding popularity to this day. There are very few American cultural icons that symbolize humanity’s values and moral compass quite like Superman.

Just like Superman, Drupal’s Mollom Module protects honest internet citizens (websites) from getting attacked by common forms of cyber crime (spam, password hacking, fake identities). Mollom is currently being used on nearly 20,000 different sites including Sony, Adobe, Warner Bros. and NBC. Both Superman and Mollom seek truth, justice, and peace throughout their respective worlds.

This pairing is very fitting, as Mollom is actively developed and maintained by Dries Buytaert, founder and project lead on Drupal, and Benjamin Schrauwen. It’s only appropriate that the proverbial “Superman” of Drupal, Dries, gets paired up the with “Big Blue Boy Scout”. Dries might not see himself as Superman-type, maybe a Captain Marvel? Dries, if you’re reading, what DC superhero would you be?

The SEO Checklist = Batman

Batman, also known as the “Caped Crusader”, “the Dark Knight” and the “World’s Greatest Detective”, has been fighting crime since 1940. Unlike his Super Friends, Batman is a mere mortal and the only member of the League not possessing any superpowers.

Throughout the existence of the Justice League, Batman has had an abrasive relationship with the rest of the League, and especially with Superman. His unorthodox crime fighting methods and spontaneous decision-making are viewed as reckless and, at times, outside of the law. In turn, Batman keeps his distance from the team until Superman is feeling truly desperate. And even then its usually Wonder Woman making the phone call.

Instead of relying on superpowers, Batman has to make use of his intellect, detective skills, science, technology, martial arts, and, most importantly, a very impressive collection of crime-fighting toys on his utility belt.

Just like Batman, Drupal doesn’t come with any superpowers for getting ranked in the search engines. So Drupal needs its own utility belt for fighting its way to the top. The SEO Checklist optimizes your website’s performance to ensure you come out first in the fight for online survival and ranking!

The SEO Checklist provides a checkable list of Drupal SEO best practices that maximizes your web presence on Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. in easy, linear steps. It is a powerful organization tool that walks you through the search engine optimization process of your Drupal site. What would happen if Batman didn’t have his smoke bomb or grappling hook to get out of a tight spot? He’d most likely be a bat-kabob by now and so would your website, if you don’t have the SEO Checklist.

SEO Friend = Robin

Robin aka “The Boy Wonder” is one of the most famous sidekicks of all time. When Batman and Robin put their heads together, not much gets passed this dynamic duo. The first incarnation of Robin – Dick Grayson – appeared in 1940 as a way to pull in a younger audience and would later be portrayed by Chris O’Donnell in Joel Schumaker’s 1997 Batman and Robin. Have a strong opinion about that movie? Tell me about it in a comment below.

SEO Friend is a Drupal module meant to be used as a sidekick for existing Drupal SEO modules, such as the SEO Checklist, in order to make them more effective. So just as Robin assists Batman in his passionate pursuit for kicking butt, the SEO Friend helps the SEO Checklist runs for effectively.

Spoiler = Wonder Woman

The Amazonian “Wonder Woman” was created in 1941 as a “distinctly feminist role model whose mission was to bring the Amazon ideals of love, peace, and sexual equality to a world torn by the hatred of men.” Wonder Woman is considered one of the “trinity” of DC characters, grouped with Superman and Batman, and yields superhuman strength, speed, stamina, agility, and the gift of flight. And don’t forget about that crazy golden lasso that every man fears. In other words, she would mop the floor with Xena, the Warrior Princess.

One of the earliest Saturday Morning Cartoon images I have burned in my memory is of Wonder Woman flying through sky and space in an invisible plane. That is why Volacci chose the Spoiler module as a pairing. The Spoiler module allows users to hide, or make invisible, potential “spoiler” content by inserting it between spoiler tags. The HTML tags render the text invisible until highlighted.

Views = Green Lantern

Green Lantern, a founding member of the Justice League of America, gets his powers from his green power ring, which allow him to fly and create objects. In the Super Friends cartoon, he used his powers often to create vehicles for transportation, like the “Lantern Jet”, a life-raft or double-bladed transport helicopter.

Like the Green Lantern’s ring, the Views module gives Drupal site designers the ability to control the look and feel of their website, e.g. content lists and tables of contents. Described as a “smart query builder that can build the proper query, execute it, and display the results,” the Views module is essentially your very own green power ring. You point it at the right content on your site, and it turns the content into exactly what you want it to look like. Views also creates reports, summaries, and displays collections of images and other content.

Superfish = Aquaman

Some days, it’s hard being Aquaman. He gets picked on a lot in pop culture for having seemingly useless superpowers. Essentially, he is a man-fish, swimming super-fast and being able to communicate with oceanic life. I mean, who doesn’t want to understand whale songs?! In all seriousness, I love Aquaman. He is the King of Atlantis, hangs out with killer whales and giant squid, and carries a wicked trident around just in case a blood-thirsty shark gets the wrong idea.

Honestly, I feel this one is a no-brainer. Aquaman is practically a “super-fish” himself. The Superfish module integrates jQuery Superfish plugin with your Drupal menus. Check out this screen shot:

The Superfish module offers a tons more features than its plugin version and is not dependent upon NiceMenus. This module supports delay, speed, DropShadows, AutoArrows, Fade in/out, and Slide in/out, and comes with 9 extra styles.

Boost = Flash

The Flash has super-speed and super reflexes. He was introduced to the Justice League in Justice League of America #9, when Earth is attacked by aliens and the world’s greatest heroes join forces to save the planet. He eventually became chummy with Green Lantern and had a few super-crushes on Black Canary and Zatanna... but who didn’t?!

Every Drupal site owner wants their site to perform with the super speed of the Flash. If your Drupal site receives mostly anonymous traffic, the Boost module give you a very significant performance and scalability boost. It provides static page caching for Drupal websites.

Although it is very easy to install and supports Shared, VPS and Dedicated hosting, this is considered an advanced module. Boost requires Cron & Clean URLs to be working, as well as some edits to your .htaccess and robots.txt files.

Check out the Boost Handbook Page for additional tips and help.

Visitors = Martian Manhunter

The Martian Manhunter is a green-skinned extraterrestrial humanoid from Mars, who gets pulled to Earth in an experiment and has no way of returning home. Naturally he decides to fight crime, like all aliens on Earth do, and begins rubbing elbows with other crime-fighting aliens, such as Superman and Green Lantern.

I really jumped on the “literal” train here with the Visitors module, but the more I look at it, the more it just makes sense. Drupal’s Visitors module allows you to log the information of visitors to your website with extended functionality and reporting. You can see what pages they viewed and visited frequently, as well as which pages on your site are the most popular per month, week, day of the month, day of the week, etc.

This pairing is perfect because the Martian Manhunter’s powers include telepathy, flight, super-hearing, and atomic vision. With the data you retrieve from the Visitors module, you will be able to read the minds of your visitors and tweak your site so that your online vision is exactly what your target audience wants.

Did I leave any of your favorite JLA members off the list? Do you think there are better suited modules for an aforementioned hero? Do you personally know what character Dries would prefer to be? Leave a comment below with your nerd-fueled remarks!

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