4 Must-Have SEO Drupal Modules

Just about every client I’ve interacted with since I’ve worked at Duo has asked a version of the same question: How do I make my site better when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO)?

When it comes to Drupal, there are a variety of modules you can use to improve various aspects of SEO and how your content performs in search. In my opinion, though, there are four modules that are essential when it comes to SEO.

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What it does:

The Pathauto module automatically creates clean URLs for your website.

Why you want it:

Utilizing understandable URL structure is one of the top guidelines listed in Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide. This clean and readable structure is search engine friendly, but it’s also user friendly. Well-constructed paths provide users with an idea of what they’re going to see before ever clicking a link. Poor URL structure, on the other hand, well, let’s take a look.

Example 1: https://www.examplewebsite.com/node/1234

Example 2: https://www.examplewebsite.com/blog/how-to-optimize-urls

Example 1 does not tell users or search engines anything about the content on that page. If I saw that URL online or in an email, I likely wouldn’t click it because I would have no clue what to expect. Example 2, on the other hand, tells users and search engines that content on that page is a blog post about URL optimization.

By default, Drupal pages and content are assigned URLs like Example 1. It’s possibly to manually adjust the URL, but that process can be time consuming; user error is also a potential risk. Pathauto, creates clearly organized URLs automatically.


Global Redirect 

What it does:

Global Redirect provides automatic 301 redirect options, including for pages with an unused alias.

Why you want it:

As mentioned above, it’s good practice to have a clean, understandable URL structure. One way to accomplish that is to create an alias for a page. Let’s examine the example from above once again:

Example 1: https://www.examplewebsite.com/node/1234

Example 2: https://www.examplewebsite.com/blog/how-to-optimize-urls

Both of these links feature the exact same content. That’s a problem. Search engines don’t know which URL to show in search engine result pages. Also, since the same content “lives” in multiple locations, it could be marked as duplicate content, and that devalues its worth in search engine rankings.

Global Redirect does a number of things that help SEO, but I think the three best are:

  • It will perform 301 redirects for nodes that have aliases. That means that if a node has an alias, it will always use the alias instead of the default node/nid format.
  • It will also check for clean url option, and if enabled, it will redirect query parameters to a clean format. For example, https://example.com/?q=node/1 would become https://example.com/node/1.
  • It will strip out trailing slashes and check for proper case in the url.

Google provides guidelines on how to best prevent duplicate content issues. Here is one of the main points from the list that can be easily addressed by the Global Redirect module:

  • “Be consistent: Try to keep your internal linking consistent. For example, don't link to http://www.example.com/page/ and https://www.example.com/page and https://www.example.com/page/index.htm.”

Please note that the Global Redirect module has been deprecated in Drupal 8 and its functionality moved to the Redirect module: https://www.drupal.org/project/redirect 



What it does:

The Metatag module provides support for a wide variety of meta tags.

Why you want it:

Meta tags often refer to the meta description and meta keyword tag for a webpage. When it comes to SEO, meta description tags no longer hold the same importance as they once did, and meta keyword tags are no longer utilized at all, but nevertheless, properly utilizing meta tags can improve the summary descriptions about your site for search engines and social networks.

One great aspect of this module is that it supports meta tags like Open Graph for Facebook and Twitter Cards that control how your content appears when it is shared on social media networks.

Another reason Metatag is useful is because it supports the rel=”canonical” tag, which basically tells Google what your preferred URL is. So if you have multiple URLs for the same page, that tag will tell Google which URL you want to appear in a user’s search for that page.


Real-time SEO for Drupal (Yoast)

What it does:

Real-Time SEO is exactly what it sounds like: it provides text analysis, metrics and suggestions in real-time when you’re creating content to help with SEO.

Why you want it:

Most WordPress users will be very familiar with the Yoast SEO module. Well, Real-time SEO is a very similar module for Drupal built on YoastSEO.js framework (although it is not affiliated with Yoast).

There is a saying in SEO social circles that “content is king.” In many ways, that is true, and there are a large number of factors that can improve readability and search engine placement of your content. These factors range from keyword utilization, text length, number of links, readability, images and more. Real-time SEO is a module that uses this information to help content creators and marketers write stronger SEO content.


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