September 2016 | Digital8

Drupal SEO

Drupal. For too long it’s lived in the shadows of its more popular (and many would argue inferior) cousins, WordPress and Joomla. Drupal is the pro’s go to choice for harvesting the spoils of SEO because the alternatives offer beginner webmasters all the benefits of newbie websites, including a combined 200 million-plus other “newbie” users. Drupal gets dumped in the too hard basket.

Drupal is the pro web developer’s best friend because it’s adaptable, secure and versatile. Unlike WordPress, it’s not constantly hacked, leaving webmasters vulnerable, making it the first choice of some of the world’s tightest security organisations, including the Whitehouse.

Drupal’s efficient code design and a suite of SEO tools make it a search engine’s dream. Harness the power of Drupal to supercharge your site’s performance. Here’s how.

How Drupal NAILS SEO where other’s fail

Drupal’s so SEO-friendly because it’s compatible with a wide range of ‘modules’ perfectly designed and equipped to optimise your website. Think of modules as the optional extras or after-market add-ons that make it easier for you, as webmaster, to manage your content and ensure it complies with SEO best practice.

Written to the letter for peak performance 

Google Webmaster Guidelines are the webmaster bible for search engine optimisation. By complying 100% with the optimum recommendations, Drupal gives coders a clean canvas to begin creating upon. Unlike Drupal’s competitors, its code is clean and compliant. Just what Dr Google ordered. Over the past several algorithm updates, Google has increased the emphasis on high security, user experience and load speeds. Drupal outperforms its rivals on all three fronts. This article focuses on the top 10 methods to skyrocket your website using Drupal SEO.

1. Start with a clean structure

Drupal’s suite of SEO modules makes your website stand out to search engines and make it easier for people to find you. If you were building your home, you’d have an address and a letterbox with a number on it. In much the same way, your URL (Uniform Resource Locator or address) is crucial to the ease with which you can be found. The PATHAUTO module helps you to bypass the tedious process of having to manually specify a path alias: It does it automatically for you. The end result is a URL that’s infinitely more to-the-point and user-friendly. In much the same way, GLOBAL REDIRECT is another Drupal Module that eliminates the possibility of multiple URL’s (letterboxes) for the same content by redirecting traffic to the best, most visible letterbox.

The METATAG module’s a way of getting all your website’s ducks in a row: Improving on the way you structure your content. It helps you to optimise the meta description tags, titles, headings and keywords and to wrangle them into all the right places so your site complies with SEO best practice and, most importantly is Google-friendly. It’s also how you tweak the way your website displays in search results so that potential visitors to your site can see at a glance what the content’s about. They don’t just get to see your letterbox as they drive past; they get to peek through your window before deciding whether to knock on your front door.

2. Making your website as inviting as possible to search engines

You don’t just need to welcome the visitors to your site. You also need to roll out the red carpet for the search engines who send them to you! There’s a number of Drupal SEO tools to help you with that and they include:

·      Drupal’s SITE VERIFICATION MODULE – Allows you to show that you’re genuine by proving to search engines that you own the website

·      XML SITEMAP which creates a sitemap in plain text and

·      ROBOTS.TXT which is like a surface spray for your porch, keeping out undesirable pests (spam web crawlers) from parts of the website where they’re not wanted.

3. Cut out error messages and reduce spam

If you want your website to rank well, you need to ensure you have mechanisms in place to effectively deal with errors and spam.

If your site’s plagued with error messages, you won’t rank well at all, especially with Google. If visitors do manage to find your site, you’ll probably lose them when they retrace their steps back to the search engine results in the second they hit the dead end that’s a 404 error message. There they are, on your porch, ringing your doorbell…and you’re not even home! It’s a huge turn-off for visitors to your site. One of the best Drupal modules to combat this problem is the SEARCH 404 MODULE. It bypasses 404 error messages by quickly redirecting visitors to a related internal page: The Drupal equivalent of opening the door and greeting them with a welcoming smile. 404 error messages are bad news for your ranking but fortunately, they can become a thing of the past.

In much the same way, Drupal’s URL REDIRECT module allows you to easily redirect visitors away from old URL’s to updated ones (via 301 redirects). In other words, if you’ve moved house, it’s a friendly, chauffeur-driven limo service that picks them up and drives them to your new address.

Spam in your comments, forums and contact messages is a huge no-no that can impact severely on your ranking. Identifying, removing and preventing it from coming back’s critical to SEO and how you perform on Google. There’s several modules to choose from: MOLLOM, CAPTCHA and ANTISPAM. They’re not just ‘no junk mail’ signs on your letterbox. These modules stand guard, check ID’s and help you kick out the uninvited gate-crashers before they jemmy open the liquor cabinet and vomit on your carpet.

Malicious code is by far the most potentially harmful issue for webmasters. Hacked sites are likely to be “sandpitted” by Google the first time it comes to crawl. Not only is Drupal well reputed for fewer hacking attempts and as a more secure system, HTML Purifier module makes malicious code detection and deletion fast and seamless.

4. User Experience Indicators 

As Google’s algorithms mature, indicators more sophisticated than “keyword density” play a growing role in search rankings. Click through rates, time on site, load speed times, screens per user and bounce rate are all integral parts of the user experience and search intention “core” algorithm update. Core is a major change to the workings of Google’s algorithm and is the foundation of search rankings into the future. This is where Drupal shines compared to WordPress. Clean, fast and flexible, Drupal ensures your users are well served, no matter what you’re serving them up.

Equally problematic for you are the other factors that cause ‘bounce’. Is your website too slow to load? Don’t underestimate the importance of speed to your conversion rate. Your visitors will hit the road if they’re left waiting out in the cold while you’re dawdling around the house looking for your pants. They’ll simply seek out a faster response and warmer welcome at your competitors’ slicker sites. The PAGESPEED INSIGHTS module can tell you if this is happening…and how to fix it.

5. Mobile-friendliness 

Drupal takes responsive design to a new level by creating purpose built foundations for mobile friendly websites. Beyond the basics, Drupal provides a blank canvas for fast loading, highly functional native mobile app development, flexible options for mobile vs desktop display, web-based mobile apps, responsive web design, responsive design + server-side components (for efficient server side rendering) as well as a host of tools that simplify mobile browser testing, front end performance and remote debugging. While the competitors offer a selection of these tools, Drupal’s focus has always been on efficiency, in short, it was “Google Compliant” ahead of its time.

6. Test the accessibility of your Drupal website

There’s no point in having the best house on the street if your visitors can’t manage your steep or slippery steps. They’ll simply choose your most accessible competitor over you. Accessibility’s an increasingly important search engine ranking factor. Google wants you to make your site as accessible to as many visitors as possible. That includes making your website easy to use and offering options visitors who have visual and hearing impairments, colour-blindness, dyslexia or other issues that make access challenging. You can use the ACCESSIBILITY CHECKLIST to objectively assess your site’s accessibility. Once you’ve done that, you can enhance its accessibility with modules such as TEXT SIZE, TEXT RESIZE, PAGE STYLE and QUAIL API.

7. Clarify your navigation for users and search engines

For your site to rank well in search results, it must provide a straightforward way for visitors to find what they’re looking for. Maps and menus are a great way to do this. Having guests over? Surely you’d give them a quick tour of the facilities. Drupal SEO modules allow you to do just that: Check out XML SITEMAP (a Google-friendly directory for your website), MENU BREADCRUMB and FOOTERMAP for some of your Drupal SEO options to make navigating your site as quick and easy as possible. A happy guest is one who can always find the bathroom in a hurry.

8. Drupal SEO modules to accurately target your audience with keywords

Being able to accurately target potential customers is critical to ranking well in search results. Keyword research is a process of finding out the words and phrases they’re googling and assessing their likelihood of delivering you the results you’re after Visits and conversions. Drupal’s SEO TOOLS and KEYWORD RESEARCH modules make this easy because they build shortcuts between your website and the most popular tools you’ll need for keyword research: Moz, Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends, and SEMrush.

9. Link-building and Drupal SEO modules

Link building’s another search ranking factor that’s hugely important. It’s the word-of-mouth recommendations (the inbound / backlinks) that bring business to your door and the outbound links that allow you spread your wings and connect with other sites. Link building’s about finding and eliminating broken links before they result in a bounce. It’s also about ensuring link quality’s a much higher priority than quantity.

That’s because not all links are good. The knock at your door could that annoying neighbour who parks over your driveway and rewards their dog for pooping on your lawn. Broken links, links from link farms and other ‘black hat’ links that try to latch onto your site are the bad neighbours of the virtual world. To check the quality of your inbound, outbound and internal links, you can use Drupal’s LINK CHECKER.

10. Drupal modules to measure your SEO successes and failures

You may think your paisley print wallpaper and orange shagpile carpet’s the bomb. It doesn’t mean everyone else does. What’s the point of optimising your website if you can’t then track and pinpoint what’s working and what’s not? Being able to objectively analyse your own website’s successes and failures is one of Drupal SEO’s strong points. No more set-and-forget content! Your site’s got to be a work in progress: Tracking your stats and tweaking your site and its content to perform better is a sure-fire way of improving your search engine ranking. You can easily do this with Drupal’s CONTENT ANALYSIS and CONTENT OPTIMISER modules.

Clean, Fast, Performance Driven – It’s Time To Make The Change

Drupal is, by design the future of SEO. Moving to a highly efficient SEO friendly site now is the only way to stay ahead in the SEO stakes. It’s fast. It’s clean. It’s responsive. It features packed and the only platform evolving at the speed of Google. What this means for webmasters is a solid foundation for their digital marketing future. More importantly, it means a better experience for users. And that makes everyone happy –, especially Google.

(Written by Alistair Roberts, Managing Director at Media Heroes. Digital8 and Media Heroes are proud industry partners within the Hero Alliance. Digital8 are the leading Drupal developers in Queensland and regularly join forces with Media Heroes for Drupal SEO and other SEO projects. Need help with Drupal SEO? Reach out and talk to the experts.)

Case Study: The Impact of Email Outreach on Organic Keyword Rankings

Most articles you read about SEO focus mainly on SEO practices, updates etc. The side that we don’t hear enough about it the business side: getting new clients, customer engagement and customer retention.

Starting an SEO business is very much ‘chicken and egg’. The only way to learn effective SEO is by actually doing it for clients – but you need to convince the clients to use your services.

SEO is such a fascinating industry because literally, the only way to practise is by working on client’s accounts.

As an SEO you always need to be focused on your next goal. Most people are only ever capable of doing one thing at one time. So keeping this in mind you can develop a repetitive pattern with your work, basically becoming an SEO machine.

Teaching yourself how to do SEO Properly:

There are other ways of learning SEO besides working on client’s account – like building another website in a certain niche, playing around with it and trying to make it rank. Also, you can try a few different things on your own website.

By and large, the best way to really improve is by working on a handful of other companies’ websites.

Having access to a number of websites and experimenting allows you to see the different variabilities. You can start to gain a little bit of understanding about the randomness and test the results of various future SEO practices.

Using email outreach, SEO Genius have been able to gauge the positive movement caused through email outreach. We can try to get an understanding of the correlation between backlinks and increases in rankings.

Case Study #1 – Simple Handyman Services email outreach campaign

With Simple Handyman Services’ website an outreach campaign saw the Ahrefs (toolset for SEO) Rank jump by almost 20 million:

This was a really great result as it demonstrated that the guest blogging email outreach technique works – my articles are being published along with juicy backlinks to my client’s website.

But what impact was this having on my google rankings? Well for Simple Handyman Services the results were very nice. You can see that some keywords have been bumped onto the first page of Google:

This, in turn, has had a very nice impact on traffic – The first page rankings are starting to bring in some consistent traffic for this business.

Case Study #2: Launch Film Productions email outreach campaign

For Launch Film Productions email outreach has also been quite effective – although arguably not quite as effective. An email outreach campaign for Launch films saw them pick up a number of backlinks for some websites with fairly high authority.

However instead of an increase in the Ahrefs Rankings we actually saw a drop occur:

This was unfortunate and there seems to be no explanation for it. Thankfully there has been an increase in the rankings for some important keywords.

It is important to point out that some keywords stubbornly stayed the same and saw literally no movement at all:

So what can conclusions can we draw from this? Did Simple Handyman Services just pick up better backlinks or was it something else? Also, why do some keywords move and others don’t?

Some keyword movement appears mainly to be random. Although looking at this information we can establish that anchor text is a ranking factor: ‘Simple Handyman Service’ and ‘Launch Film Productions’ anchor text backlinks have seen a considerable lift in the ranking for keywords ‘handyman services’ and ‘wedding productions’.

Implications for Client-Agency Relationship:

Launch Film Productions could easily be upset with the outcome of this campaign. They might feel as if they haven’t improved for their most competitive keywords. As an agency, you could send them a detailed report but in this situation giving them a follow-up call to reassure them could be a good idea.

When it comes to SEO there is so much that is in the hands of Google. There seem to be so many random variables that it can be a little bit off-putting at times. Regardless of this consistent efforts will always have an impact.

There are even affiliate marketers who use this randomness to their advantage. They can build a effective websites and one of them will rank well for competitive keywords while the others never make it to the first page.

For a client who doesn’t seem to be moving it can be rather frustrating. They want to see improvements and it makes it harder for the agency to convince them to stay.

Keeping the Client on Board:

In today’s world, people want to see instant results. Clients don’t want to hear that it can take months to start seeing results. It might lead them to pull the plug on the service altogether.

The best thing that an agency can do is just to reassure them that they are doing the work. They might even be able to show them other areas where they are seeing a bit more movement – maybe sharing them the insights from their Google My Business account.

Clients crave information and they want to see the progressive movement. The agency needs to know what the client wants to see and ultimately needs to be able to provide it to them.

A Phone so LIT it Actually Caught Fire

On August 19 Samsung released the oh so beautiful Galaxy Note7. This phone has pretty much been deemed the bee's knees by everyone. The phone sports an elegant design, is now waterproof, comes with a higher performing stylus, can make GIF's and features new high-tech iris scanning security.

Unfortunately, Samsung has announced a massive recall. WATTT?!?

The recall comes after reports that the phones have been catching fire as a result of a defect in the battery design. It has been less than a month since the phone has been released and there have already been more the 35 reported incidences in which the phone has caught fire totally unexpectedly.

Samsung has been pushing the recall with a great amount of urgency over the past week. A totally understandable action for the company, considering the defect caused a fire that gutted an entire Jeep Grand Cherokee (not a cheap fix for Samsung).

The defect has also become a safety concern for airlines. Virgin Australia are making note of the issue in their flight information demonstrations, notifying Galaxy Note7 users not to turn on airplane mode and instead instructing them to completely switch off their phones due to safety concerns. Jetstar is taking the same approach and informing all passengers that, "Use of the Samsung Galaxy Note7 is prohibited on the Tarmac and on board the aircraft.”

This recall will affect all 50,000 Galaxy Note7’s sold within Australia, regardless of what carrier they were bought from. Samsung is currently advising all phones to be returned to their place of purchase. At this point, Samsung reps are only guaranteeing returns for those who bought the phone outright from Samsung stores directly. Other customers who didn’t purchase their Galaxy Note7’s from Samsung are being told to contact the stores from which they purchased their phones to discuss the options available to them.

At this point in time, it is predicted that most people who were affected by the recall will be offered a replacement Galaxy Note7. Our prediction is that we’re probably going to see a few more iPhone users in the not too distant future.

Two Steps Forward and One Step Back, Apple Gains a Camera but Loses a Jack

Get out your votive black turtleneck, gift your loved ones with a U2 album and say goodbye to your headphone jack… It’s Apple Announcement day and here is what we have to say. With the Apple Announcement still in our hearts, it is time to decide what we think and how we feel about these new updates. From Pokemon GO! now being available on the Apple Watch to the loss of a headphone jack, I am here to guide you through your feelings and explore what this means to us all.

The iPhone 7

Apple unveiled the iPhone 7 & iPhone 7 Plus yesterday, however, it was actually announced on twitter earlier in the week. As always, Apple claims to have officially perfected the device to be as beautiful and clean as ever. Regardless of how often Apple makes this claim, this time, I would have to agree. Both models of the iPhone 7 come in the usual selection of colours, however now with the option of glossy jet black. A few of the other changes include an increased brightness of 25%, internal antennas, improvements in the water resistant technology and a brand new A10 fusion chip.

But now for the fun stuff!



This is a huge change to both the user experience and thaesthetic of the phone, however, it is not the time to stress just yet. Included in the box with your phone you will receive an adapter for your headphones, which will be functional through the lightning charger port. As shocking as this change will be, I can’t help but think back to the uproar that occurred in 2012 when Apple changed its charger. We cannot deny it… Apple knows what we need better than anyone.


In light of these changes, Apple has also introduced new wireless headphones. Apple, using their own W1 chip, have designed these headphone to seamlessly connect to the new iPhones. These headphones are projected to set you back between $150-$300, but we are assuming, given the success of the Airpods, that they will be well worth it.


But back to the iPhone 7, once again we say goodbye to a classic feature, the clicky home button. Apple has taken this feature away and instead replaced it with the technology that they use for their MacBook trackpads. The new home button will provide touch feedback with the taptic engine to ensure the same user experience as before.


The Camera

Apple has integrated another camera for a double camera feature on the rear end of the phone. This new camera will allow you to have two different focal points, have the option between a wide angle or a telephoto lens, and finally, it has a feature called “depth.” Depth will allow you to employ a greater depth of field in your photography, meaning this new iPhone 7 could fast become the top pick for the mobile photography movement.


Second Generation Apple Watch

The Apple Watch has not changed in a physical way, but it has developed a lot internally. The Watch now sports an S2 chip and has doubled in brightness. The new Watches have also got some pretty serious new changes, they are now waterproof up to 50m and come with built-in GPS systems! This makes the new Watches more targeted to the athletes of the world, and nothing could prove this idea more than the revelation that Nike officially has their own Apple Watch design.


Nintendo partnership

There have been some interesting developments with the relationship between Nintendo and Apple. Creator Shigeru Miyamoto attended the apple announcement and shared that he will be releasing new Mario games exclusive to iOS software. What’s more exciting, now that the Apple Watch has GPS it has also been announced as a new Pokemon Go! platform, you can officially download the game to your Watch and use it to hatch your eggs. (YYASS)

iOS 10

iOS 10 is on its way and set to be released on the 13th of this month. This update will be bringing some of the biggest changes that the iOS software has ever seen. The update will include a lot of changes and development’s for Siri, who at this point can already handle transcribing voicemails and search for images. More excitingly for some, iOS 10 will open up iMessage and Siri for developers!

What do we think?

We here at Digital8 couldn’t be more excited. There are a few changes we are nervous about, but overall, considering the new iOS, the lean into gaming and the new development in headphones,  this announcement is a huge leap into the future.

We Have Moved and We are Better than Ever!

The Digital8 team recently packed up our Brookes Street office and said goodbye to our beloved commute to Bowen Hills. Although this may be the end of an era we are happy to announce that our whole team has settled into our new office, located on Cordelia Street in South Brisbane. Despite the move we have remained open and our team is working harder then ever. The Digital8 mantra has always been and remains  “We don’t just say that we’re Brisbane’s best Web Design company, we are.” It is this mantra that attracts some of the best developers and clients in Brisbane.

Our developers, both front and back end, continue to think out of the box to provide all of our clients with unique websites and apps that offer an amazing user experience. Our approach to web design includes everything from development through to conversion rate optimisation. We work with many local businesses in the Brisbane region and combine a deeper understanding of their product with a high level of experience to produce the best quality product for our clients. We strongly believe that this is the best formula for success and it is one of the reasons we claim to be the best web designers in Brisbane.

With the move to South Brisbane, we have all experienced a change of pace that has really pushed us in the right direction. Over the past month we have began to offer new products such as SEO and have been honing in on our skill sets to optimise what we can do for our clients with regards to mobile friendly sites, apps and web dev. We believe that we are fast becoming a one stop agency for anything involving your online presence, and with our proven track record, we know we are the best team in the business.