Real-Time SEO for Drupal: Guide to Optimizing Your Content via A User-Friendly Module

Jul 10 2024

Authored by Nadiia Nykolaichuk.

If your website uses Drupal, it has huge potential to reach remarkable positions in search results. Drupal websites have an array of out-of-the-box SEO advantages such as clean URLs, customizable meta tags, robust content structuring and categorization options, responsive design, and more. Additionally, an impressive collection of contributed Drupal modules covers any aspect of SEO from setting up automatic URL creation patterns to connecting Google Analytics.

For stellar SEO results, you’ll need to combine SEO-friendly website structure and configuration with everyday content practices. In this post, we’ll run through the available SEO modules, while focusing on a tool that helps you optimize content on the fly — directly in the Drupal admin dashboard. The module’s name is “Real-time SEO for Drupal” and it’s always at your fingertips, making sure you never miss an important detail in the creation of SEO-effective content. You can use it even if you are far from being an SEO guru, and that’s the beauty of this lightweight and user-friendly module.

A glimpse at top Drupal modules for SEO

Before we move on to the guide on the Real-time SEO module, let’s run through some of the other famous Drupal modules for search engine optimization:

  • Metatag. With the Metatag module, you can automate the generation of meta tags for your web pages to optimize their appearance in search engine results and social media shares. Metatag belongs to the top 10 most installed Drupal modules of all time.
  • Pathauto. Automation goes on with the Pathauto module which can auto-generate URLs for content pages based on predefined patterns. Search engines are known to love well-structured and informative URLs. Just like Metatag, Pathauto is yet another honored member of the above-mentioned top 10.
  • Metatag. The Metatag module extends the Metatag module by adding structured data markup to web pages. Thanks to this, search engines show results as rich snippets (for example, an event snippet might show date, location, and ticket information instead of just title and description).
  • Redirect. The mission of the Redirect module is to provide a user-friendly interface to manage URL redirects on a Drupal website, ensuring seamless navigation for users and preserving search engine rankings. This module also takes care of automatically adding redirects if content URLs are changed (e.g. a title change causing Pathauto to change the path).
  • Simple XML sitemap. The Simple XML sitemap automatically generates an XML sitemap for your website, ensuring that your content is easily discoverable by search engines. It offers configurable settings, rich multilingual support, and more.
  • RobotsTxt. The RobotsTxt module generates the robots.txt file and enables you to edit it through the admin dashboard. The file controls how search engine crawlers access specific pages or sections of a Drupal website. The module is recommended when you use a multisite setup.
  • Google Analytics. By using the Google Analytics module, you can track website traffic and user behavior, getting valuable insights to optimize content strategies for better user experience and SEO. You can also install Google Tag Manager (GTM) and add Google Analytics to a GTM container for easier management and implementation of tracking codes.
  • SEO Checklist. The SEO Checklist module offers a Drupal-specific checklist of SEO best practices and optimizations to enhance a Drupal website’s search engine visibility and performance.

Real-time SEO for Drupal: a tour of the module’s capabilities

The Real-time SEO module for Drupal analyzes your content and automatically issues feedback based on a set of criteria. It has got you covered by reminding you about all the details that are so easy to forget. For example, it advises you to use the focus keyword in all the right places, make your content long enough, and much more.

  • Making content attractive to search engines and users

The module helps you optimize content in a natural, non-spam way. On the module’s page, there is a highlighted note saying that it helps you make your content loved by search engines and users alike, and it’s completely understandable. While there are technical recommendations for optimizing content, writing for users should be the primary focus, and human-centered SEO strategy always gives the best results.

  • Built on the YoastSEO.js library

The module is built using the YoastSEO.js library and the module’s machine name is yoast_seo. There is a popular plugin designed specifically for WordPress websites, which is called Yoast SEO. The Real-time SEO module was inspired by its capabilities and created for the Drupal infrastructure. 

It must be noted that there is a disclaimer on the module’s page that it is not affiliated with Yoast. Famous Drupal contributor Martin Anderson-Clutz (mandclu) talked about it at the “Module of the Week” episode of the “Talking Drupal” podcast dedicated to this module. “Eventually, the title on was changed because there’s no official affiliation,” said Martin. “It’s just a sophisticated wrapper for an open-source JS library, a fork of which is now being used because the Yoast SEO JS library itself is actually deprecated.” 

  • Working in the Drupal admin dashboard

The module works with content that is submitted to Drupal’s default rich text editor — CKEditor. This is very convenient for content creators because it’s possible to make changes on the fly.

If you have a content approval routine in your team involving Google Docs or other programs, you might doubt if it’s a good option to do edits in CKEditor. No worries — it’s possible to establish a content moderation workflow on a Drupal website using built-in modules only, with nothing new to install. Multiple people will be able to take part in drafting, approving, and publishing content directly on the website.

  • A tandem with the Metatag module

The Real-time SEO module works together with the earlier-mentioned powerful Metatag module, so it can also help you optimize your content’s metadata.

The Real-time SEO module in action

  • Installation

The Real-time SEO module depends on the Metatag module, which, in its turn, depends on the Token module. So you’ll need to install both Token and Metatag before installing the Real-time SEO module. Enable all the modules on the Extend page of your Drupal admin dashboard.

If you use Composer, it will take care of the dependencies automatically. With the following command, you’ll install version 8.x-1.8 of the Real-time SEO module, which is currently the latest stable version:

composer require drupal/yoast_seo:8.x-1.8

  • Creating content

Let’s go to Content > Add content > Article and create an experimental article with lorem ipsum and see what feedback the module will provide. You might need to save the article first because the module might give slightly different and a smaller amount of feedback at the beginning.

A dummy article to test the Real-time SEO module’s work.
A dummy article to test the Real-time SEO module’s work.
  • Customizing meta tags (optional)

You could also click Meta tags > Basic tags to the right of the content form and create a custom meta title and meta description for the new article.

If you don’t change anything there, the title and description will be created automatically based on the default Metatag settings — the title will be “[node:title] | [site:name]” and the description will be “[node:summary].” The brackets mean the use of placeholders that will be replaced by the actual values for every content item. Automatic generation is great for content-heavy websites, so you may customize the meta tags only when you need it.

Customizing the meta tags for a Drupal article.
Customizing the meta tags for a Drupal article.
  • Adding the focus keyword

Scroll down the content editing form to see the “Real-time SEO for Drupal” section. You’ll need to specify the focus keyword for your article so the module can analyze how well you’ve used it in your article.

  • Overall SEO assessment 

Right below the focus keyword, the module will give an overall SEO assessment (for example, SEO: good). It uses different colors for different grades to provide better visualization. Red means “poor,” orange means “ok,” and green means “good.”

  • Snippet editor

Next, you’ll see the Snippet editor section which will show you how your post will appear in search engine results, including its title, meta description, and URL. 

The Real-time SEO module automatically appends “example-post” to base the URL of your website. This is a so-called “slug,” or the human-readable part of a URL that identifies a specific page or resource. By displaying the slug in the snippet preview, the module allows you to visualize how the full URL will look.

Click “Edit snippet” to replace the slug with the actual URL path and experiment with the title and description. The Snippet Editor gives immediate visual feedback on how changes impact the appearance of the snippet. The changes you make will be reflected in the Meta tags section but will be applied on a permanent basis only after you save the article.

The focus keyword, general SEO score, and snippet editor in the Real-time SEO module’s UI.
The focus keyword, general SEO score, and snippet editor in the Real-time SEO module’s UI.
  • Content analysis

Finally, the module provides comprehensive content analysis, visualizing the score for each point with colors (red for “poor,” orange for “ok,” and green for “good”). The red ones come first so you can address them faster.

Here are some of the insights the module might give you:

  • Keyword density. The module will calculate your keyword density or the percentage of times the focus keyword appears in the content relative to the total word count, and suggest improvements if needed. 
  • Keyword placement. To help you enhance your content’s relevance and visibility in search results, the module will make sure you place the focus keyword: 
    • at the beginning of the page title
    • in the meta description
    • in the first paragraph
    • in subheadings
  • Readability score. Your content’s readability will be assessed via the Flesch Reading Ease test, which measures how easy a text is to read. If your text scores low, the Real-time SEO module may suggest simplifying language, shortening sentences, and using more common words.
  • Alt text. Missing Alt text for images can impact accessibility and SEO. The module will prompt you to add descriptive Alt text, ensuring your content is accessible to all users and optimized for search engines.
  • Meta description size. Keeping the meta description within 156 characters is important as search engines typically display only the first 150-160 characters, truncating the rest. If your description exceeds this limit, you might be advised to shorten it to ensure full visibility in search results.
  • Page title size. Search engines typically display the first 50-65 characters of a page title. To prevent truncation and ensure maximum visibility, the Real-time SEO module might recommend keeping the title more concise.
  • Word count. Having at least 300 words of content is generally recommended for SEO, as it provides enough text for search engines to understand the page’s topic. The module will do the word count and let you know whether your text length is enough.
  • Links. Internal and external links are vital for SEO, aiding navigation and enhancing credibility. You might see a recommendation to add relevant links to improve user experience and strengthen your content’s authority.
Content analysis by the Real-time SEO module.
Content analysis by the Real-time SEO module.

Final thoughts

We wish you all the luck in boosting your content’s SEO performance by using the Real-time SEO module’s feedback. Stay tuned for the hottest insights on all areas of your Drupal website’s well-being, including SEO. Learn how to:

Stay tuned for more great tips, and we will always have you covered!

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