A presentation of all the essential Drupal SEO modules that you can use on your site to make the most of your SEO strategy.
In this Drupal SEO modules guide we are putting together a list of modules that are essential for your Drupal website's Search Engine Optimisation, continuing on from our SEO Fundamentals Guide. Most of these modules have been around for some time and will surely contribute to enhancing your site's performance so make sure you install and enable them (if you haven't yet)!
1. Essential Drupal SEO Modules
These modules need to be present on every Drupal website and they serve non-SEO purposes too. They've been around for a very long time, which means that webmasters continuously value them through time and they have proved their value.
Structure is generally valuable for Google and other search engines and structuring your URLs using keywords from your content is widely accepted as good practice.
The Pathauto module automatically generates aliases for any kind of content (pages, taxonomy terms, users, media assets etc.) without requiring the user to manually specify the path alias every time. By default, Drupal generates URLs like /node/123 for pages of any content type. Pathauto allows you to pre-set path patterns which generate the corresponding path every time you save a node.
For example, on this website, this is how Pathauto's Patterns screen looks like:
Let's say that you have defined a path pattern for a Posts content type that you use to publish articles and blog posts on your Drupal website as /posts/[node:title] (see Token section below for details on how [node:title] works). Next time you create a Posts node with title "Drupal SEO modules" and save it, the resulting path for that node will automatically be saved as /posts/drupal-seo-modules. Isn't that great? Apart from its SEO benefits, path structure also makes content management so much easier!
As stated on the module's page on Drupal.org, Token provides placeholder variables and an accessible interface for browsing available tokens on your website. For example, [node:title] will always be replaced by the (current) node's URL-friendly title, [user:name] with the current user's name and so on.
Tokens can used as placeholders in various places on your Drupal site such as content pages, taxonomy terms, Views - you name it! It provides an easy, centralised way of managing pieces of information that are frequently repeated in your content and it greatly reduces duplication. The Token module goes hand in hand with many other basic and important modules such as Pathauto, Metatag and more.
2. Meta-related Drupal SEO modules
The following Drupal SEO modules are mostly related to meta information that needs to (should) be present on your pages if you want to boost your SEO rankings.
The Metatag module allows you to define automated metatag patterns on your website. You can have separate patterns for content (nodes), Views (e.g. listing pages), taxonomy terms, users and more. It's also dependent on the Token module described above as it's heavily using patterned variables (tokens) for all the different meta tag value patterns you can define.
The module goes well beyond the basic meta tags such as title, description and keywords and provides a plethora of different meta tag fields, including robots.txt settings:
You can basically define default values for your entity types (e.g. content types, taxonomy vocabulary terms etc.) and, most importantly, you can override all of these values on a page-by-page basis.
We can't stress enough the importance of accurate, optimised and descriptive meta tags in your Drupal website's content so make sure you take full advantage of the Metatag module's capabilities.
The Schema Metatag module extends the functionality provided by the Metatag module to display structured data in the JSON LD format in the head of your pages. Schemas allow webmasters to describe their site's content in a well-defined manner and Google and other search engines read and use this information to understand more about your content. Schemas are vital for your content's SEO performance so don't miss this module:
You can find all the schema properties available on the Schema.org website.
Similarly to the Metatag module, you can define default patterns (powered by the Token module) for schema properties for your content types, taxonomy vocabulary terms etc., which you can then override on a page-by-page basis.
Hreflang is an HTML attribute that specifies the language and targeted locale (region) of a web page. It’s useful for sites that have multilingual content or cater to different geographies. Search engines use this attribute to serve the most appropriate version of a page to users. You can find detailed information on how to populate this property on your pages on the corresponding documentation page on Google Search Central.
The Hreflang module simply automates the process of adding these tags to your content, based on your site's enabled languages as well as the language switch provided by Drupal's Core.
3. More (Still Essential) Drupal SEO modules
The Redirect module provides the ability to create redirects and maintain a canonical URL for your Drupal website's content.
Redirects are important for SEO because they fix broken links to a page that has been moved or deleted and they help avoid 404 (page not found) errors.
This contributed module is loaded with features:
- Common API for loading, saving, and deleting redirects.
- Case-insensitive redirect matching with a hook to allow other modules to narrow down the candidate redirects.
- Redirect counter and last used timestamp, with automatic cleanup of inactive redirects.
- Integration with Drupal's page caching mechanism to optimise performance.
- Complete individual redirect access API.
- Integration with Views.
Simple XML Sitemap
This module does exactly what it says on the tin: It generates sitemaps.
The module provides an easy way to create and publish custom sitemaps with arbitrary content, as well as to directly submit the sitemaps to Google and other search engines. Sitemaps generated by this module adhere to the new Google standard for multilingual content by creating hreflang sitemaps and image sitemaps.
The Search 404 module helps retain visitors coming in from old URLs linked from other sites or search indices. This improves the site's SEO by making sure that old defunct URLs (or typo errors) do not distract visitors from getting to the content on the site that is relevant to their search.
External Links is a small module used to differentiate between external and internal links. It finds all external links on a page and adds an external icon indicating it will take you offsite (or a mail icon for mailto: links).
The module provides the following configuration options:
- Apply icons to either mailto: or external links or both.
- Configure external links to open in a new window.
- A confirmation message when leaving the site.
- Regular expression inclusion and exclusion of links considered external.
- CSS selector inclusion and exclusion of elements for processing.
As you can see, this module takes care of "nofollow", "noreferrer" and other link attributes which are commonly considered to be a contributing factor to your site's SEO performance (opinions vary regarding these attributes but it doesn't hurt having proper attributes set up on your links).
The Easy Breadcrumb module extends Drupal Core's Breadcrumb block with additional settings that are common features needed in breadcrumbs:
- Customise the title of the front page segment in the breadcrumb
- Include/Exclude the current page title as a segment
- Print the page's title as a link or as plain-text segment
- Use the real page's title when it is available instead of deducing it from the URL
- Include/Exclude on admin paths
- Add JSON LD metadata for breadcrumbs
- Replace titles with simple regex
- Optionally add the language as a crumb
- Optionally include taxonomy hierarchy
- Truncate the maximum length of a crumb title
- Include/Exclude invalid path alias as plain-text segments
- Exclude some paths from the segments to be generated
- Include/Exclude the front page as a segment in the breadcrumb
- Limit the total number of crumbs
Breadcrumbs allows visitors to navigate easily on your website but also impacts SEO rankings, driving traffic to your website.
4. On-Page Drupal SEO Modules
These modules provide a view of your SEO setup and Accessibility status, in real time. By installing the modules presented above, you're setting the foundation of your site's SEO performance. Then, you can use the on-page SEO modules listed below to continuously assert and confirm the progress you've made on your site.
Editoria11y Accessibility Checker
The Editoria11y ("editorial accessibility ally") module is built around three basic needs for ongoing content quality assurance:
- It checks content automatically. Authors do not need to remember to press a button or visit a dashboard.
- It checks rendered content, allowing it to detect issues that only appear after Drupal puts the page together.
- It focuses exclusively on content issues: inserting alerts and tooltips to assist authors at fixing the things that are their responsibility, without confusing or annoying them with code or theme issues.
This module is meant to supplement, not replace, testing with comprehensive tools and real assistive devices. Accessibility is very important for web content and Google and other search engines will certainly appreciate your content more if it's as accessible as it can be.
When you are logged in on your Drupal website and you're viewing pages, Editoria11y's toggle indicates what was found (no issues, some definite issues found, only some manual checks needed):
When the toggle is clicked, alerts are placed on your page's elements with issues and tooltips explain the problem and what actions are needed to fix it. An additional button is available to ignore the alert (for example when the item is a false positive). By default, these alerts appear automatically the first time new issues are detected:
There are lots of other examples and useful demos on the module's page so make sure you make use of its valuable powers.
The SEO Checklist module checks your Drupal website for proper search engine optimisation. It eliminates guesswork by creating a to-do list of remaining modules and tasks. It gets updated regularly with the latest techniques and it really makes on-page Drupal Search Engine Optimisation hassle-free:
As mentioned on the module's page on Drupal.org, you need the SEO Checklist module if:
- You know the SEO basics
- You need help keeping track of what you've done on your site
- You know how to configure modules for SEO properly
- You enjoy checking things off when they're done
If you've followed our SEO Drupal modules' guide so far and have installed and configured the suggested modules, you must've covered at list the first three items on this list!
Also bear in mind that, the SEO Checklist module does not:
- Provide a good SEO strategy on its own
- Do keyword research for you
- Build links
- Install other modules for you
- Replace the need for online marketing
Real-Time SEO for Drupal
This module provides real-time page analysis and makes sure that your content is loved by both search engines and users! It's really handy when you constantly update and improve your content and you need a quick, real-time overview of your site's SEO attributes and value.
There are numerous modules within the Drupal SEO context but this list is surely covering not only the basics but also more elaborate Search Engine Optimisation and keyword management needs your website has.
By using these modules on your Drupal 9 or 10 website (if you're on a lower version, contact us to discuss about the process of upgrading your Drupal website) you'll have the chance to exercise and perfect your skills in setting and configuring all those important SEO attributes and parameters in your content.
Make sure you combine the gains from this post with our SEO Fundamentals Guide to maximise your website's optimisation potential!