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SEO in Drupal: site structure perspective

We've already discussed how to improve your site's content for SEO purposes in a previous blog post, so let's delve into how to improve it's structure and functionality in more detail.


  • Download and install the XML sitemap module
    • If you go to the module's settings page after enabling (/admin/config/search/xmlsitemap/settings), you'll see that none of your links, content or taxonomy terms are in your sitemap yet.  You've just started, after all
    • To get your sitemap filled in, go ahead and go to each of your content types, menus and vocabularies and specify whether you want them included in your sitemap or not.  You'll see a new XML sitemap section in each:
    • On the 'Search Engines' tab of the module configuration screen (/admin/config/search/xmlsitemap/engines/), make sure all (or the ones you want) search engines are checked for your site to auto-submit your updated sitemap for indexing!  Easy!

Page structure and duplicate content issues

  1. Enable clean URLs on your site
    • Go to Configuration > Search and metadata > Clean URLs (/admin/config/search/clean-urls), check the box and save!
  2. Install and enable the Global Redirect module
    • This helps by removing what may be perceived as 'duplicate content' by search engine crawlers, which can hurt your SEO ranking.
    • In Drupal '' and '' (note the trailing slash) will resolve to the same page, but they are two distinct URLs
    • In Drupal the clean and non-clean URL methods provide duplicate ways to get to the same page, but these may be viewed as duplicate content by a search engine
    • Once you enable the module you can check out its default settings by going to Configuration > System > Global Redirect (/admin/config/system/globalredirect).  The default settings should be just fine for most installations, but you can check out the page to see all that it does!
  3. Install and enable the Pathauto module
    • I absolutely use this on every single one of my sites.  It goes without saying that a URL like is NOT as SEO friendly as, right?!
    • Even without tinkering with this module's variety of customizable settings, the defaults will provide you with great functionality
    • Essentially, this module creates more descriptive URLs for your content by grabbing the first few words from the title and replacing the spaces with dashes.  You can see the default ways it creates the improved, customized URLs that redirect to your regular node/<nid> URL by going to Administer > Configuration > Search and Metadata > URL aliases
      • Feel free to modify any of the URL patterns to fit your needs better.

Content SEO improvements

  • The Page title module
    • Your page's <title> is one of the first thing that's crawled, because it's soooo high up in the source code of your page.
    • This module allows you to specify the patterns to auto generate your pages' <title>s, and can modify those by hand when creating each individual page.  By default, they get their content from your page's regular 'Title' field, but with this module you can make them longer or more detailed than your in-node title to help with SEO
    • This module also allows you to give your views titles!  Something that is sorely missing in Drupal, and is important for views that are very prominent on your site
  • Structure your content with good html practices
    • Use headings, rather than making 'important text' bold!  Headings indicate that the text between those tags is a paragraph or section header!  It means something to crawlers or site readers, so take advantage of that and structure your content in a semantically meaningful way.
    • Use link titles -> Crawlers get info about what type of resource the link is pointing to and what the referred to page is about.
    • Use image titles -> Crawlers can't index an image, but an alt and title tag may help provide metadata about the embedded image
    • Make sure your content includes, but does not over-use the keywords you're targeting for
    • Keywords you're targeting for


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