SEO Guide

So I created a basic SEO guide to help webmasters (Drupal in particular) increase their SEO and search engine ranking.

Top Elements of SEO

Ordered by importance

  1. Incoming links (links from other domains) are the most important contributor to SE ranking with Google. Generally it is more important to have quality of links than quantity. Few high-quality links are better than many low-quality, and many high-quality links are best. The important factors are:
    1. The Pagerank of the site linking to you
    2. The relevance of the site linking to you. Sites with a similar content theme will elevate your ranking for their ranked keywords. Sites with a theme different from your site will dilute your keyword relevance.
      Note: One or two sites with a different theme are irrelevant. Only incoming link tendencies are important. As always, the higher the pagerank of the site linking in, the higher the importance of the link.
    3. The link label of the incoming link (e.g. SEO guide for Drupal)
      The link above links to basico’s page, and elevates the site’s ranking for the keywords (search words) Drupal and SEO
  2. On-page keywords. These are the words you want people to find you by when entering a search phrase in Google. E.g. “Drupal SEO” The important keywords here are Drupal and SEO, so these must be used in pages on the site that you want your users to find. The important places to use the keywords are:
    1. Page title: The title shown in the top of the browser window when viewing a page
      1. Note: Page title is not equal to headings in the document content
    2. Keywords in path: Having the keywords to rank for in the URL (e.g.
      1. The above URL will elevate the ranking for SEO, Drupal, guide and websites.
    3. Heading: The part of the page’s content that is wrapped in a <h1> tag
    4. Emphasized body parts: Parts of the text enclosed in the <strong> tag
    5. General mention of keywords in text.
  3. Internal links (links from other content on your own domain) should be treated like incoming links, albeit with less relevance.
    1. While links internally on your site are nowhere near as important as incoming links, they are still relevant.
  4. Sitemap
    1. A XML sitemap will tell SE’s what content you have an index it all. This is automatically generated and updated by Drupal if you have the XML Sitemap module installed.

Keyword considerations

  1. Research keywords by using google’s keyword tool
    1. Use this tool to find the keywords searched most by people relevant as customers for you.
  2. Do not target a page (one page in the website with a unique URL) towards too many keywords. This is always a trade-off. Google ranking is most determined by incoming link strength. This is divided by the number of keywords targeted in a page. The more different keywords, the less strength each will receive.
    More keywords means a page will target more searches, but have a harder time ranking top for each of them.
  3. Do not stuff a page# with too many mentions of the same keyword. 2-3 mentions of a keyword is sufficient, and too many will hurt SE ranking. If wondering if a page has too many or too few mentions of a keyword, use the following golden rule: Does the keywords flow naturally with the content?
    While this may seem superficial, this is exactly what Google attempts to determine. A page is most relevant if it is on topic without pretending to be something it isn’t.Note: Synonyms of keywords are regarded as the same keywords, but without incurring the same stuffing penalty. Using synonyms will work positively towards keyword ranking.

Targeting keywords

This section will assume that desired keywords for a page are already determined, and will give an outline of how to target them within Drupal with the modules Page Title, Nodewords, Pathauto, XML sitemap, Global Redirect, Path redirect, Site map, Search 404 Installed.

Go to the editing section of the page you wish to SEO-boost, and edit the following:

Give the page a title containing the desired keywords.

Meta tags

  • Description
    • The description is the field most search engines (including Google) will use to display a little example text to the user. This is where the user should be caught by the site when they see it in search listings.
  • Keywords
    • Meta keywords used to be the main source of info for search engines. Not anymore. It is discussed whether having your keywords listed here will affect your site ranking at all. It is rumored to have an impact on Yahoo ranking. I recommend listing the page’s keywords here, if nothing else, then just to have them listed for later reference.
  • Robots
    • This section of Meta tags is largely irrelevant, but the NOINDEX option can be used for pages that you dont want listed in SE’s. When this tag is set to NOINDEX, most search engines will disregard the page (note: some SE’s still index it.)
  • URL redirects
    • As will be discussed under “SEO Pitfalls”, having duplicate content is the single worst “White hat#” SEO thing you can do to your Google ranking. This is of course mainly targeted towards duplicating other people’s content on the web, but also refers to having duplicate content within your own site, such as two pages having the same content.If you want to have a page listed by two different URLs, or have a large amount of incoming links to a URL that is no longer valid, instead of creating a new page at the URL (creating duplicate content), you want to use URL redirects and add a redirect from the invalid URL to the page you are editing.
  • Body
    • Use the keywords when relevant in the the textual content of the page, preferably in boldface text.

SEO pitfalls

SEO pitfalls are practices that will effectively hurt your SEO ranking. Avoid these whenever possible:

As discussed above, dont overdo keyword mentions. Keep the text flowing naturally.

Broken links are links from your own, or other domains that link to nonexistant pages. These will hurt your SEO ranking, and irritate users trying to reach your site.

  • To find internal broken links, use the “Broken links” report within Drupal and fix the links on the reported pages
    • Disregard broken links in the report starting with “” – these are a remnant of the development phase and no longer an issue.
  • To find incoming broken links, use the “Top page not found errors” report, and create URL redirects for top the missing URLs to the relevant pages.
    • Always set URL redirects to 301 status. This tells search engines that the move is permanent, and that it is not duplicate content.
    • Use common sense when searching for broken links. Anything not a URL to a page that is missing can be disregarded (such as AutoDiscover/AutoDiscover.xml which is an automatic web indexer trying to find a weird xml document)

To read more about SEO factors, take a look at this site
SEO factors investigation

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