This week: SEO Checklist // Drupal 8 has more and more features available practically every day. Alongside module migrations and new projects, the Drupal community’s latest major release also offers new ways of solving common problems. Some functionality has moved to Drupal core and new modules have taken up the torch along the way. In this series, the Acquia Developer Center is profiling useful solutions--modules, themes, distros, and more--available for Drupal 8.
I spoke with Ben Finklea, creator and maintainer of the SEO Checklist module. Ben’s been something of a thought leader in and around Drupal and digital marketing. He has written two books on Drupal SEO, most recently the Drupal 8 SEO book (check it out at www.Drupal8SEO.com) which was released in January 2017 and is a companion to the Drupal 8 SEO module.
"Drupal 8 really is ready for Marketers. Numerous SEO-related modules have reached stability and are good to go. It's been great to see how things like AMP (Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages) were incorporated so quickly into Drupal 8 by the community." - Ben Finklea
What does the SEO Checklist module do?
According to Ben, "The SEO Checklist module for D8 provides helpful resources that can speed up your work and shorten the SEO learning curve." It provides:
- Drupal SEO best practice information to check your website for proper search engine optimization
- A tracked to-do list of steps you can check off to SEO-optimize your Drupal 8 site
- A comprehensive list of modules to install and tasks to complete, organized by function
- The module also detects installed modules and checks them off the list if they’re enabled
- Links to enable, set permissions, and configure each module on your site
- Helpful CLI commands for Drush, Composer, and Drupal Console
- Links and tasks for helpful third-party tools like Google Analytics and Mollom
Who benefits from the Drupal 8 SEO module?
"The audience for the module is marketers and developers. It's essentially a task list: What to do, how to do it, and why."
"Developers can use it to confidently deliver a site that meets Marketing's basic SEO expectations without having to become an SEO expert. None of us can be experts on every front or in every discipline. The SEO Checklist module helps developers ensure that Drupal 8 is showing up in search engines and getting the maximum traffic that it can from that channel."
"Site owners and businesses want rankings. Drupal 8 is an excellent platform for SEO. Figuring out which contributed modules to install and what tasks to do to fulfill Drupal’s potential can be daunting. SEO Checklist removes much of the frustration and lets site owners get right to the heart of the matter. Marketing departments will especially love this."
The Drupal community will have more projects, more business, "The more Drupal 8 is known as a great platform for marketing, the more it will grow. For marketing people, SEO is one of the key reasons that they choose a particular platform. To date, we’ve lost sometimes to WordPress or Adobe on this front. That's crazy! Drupal can easily come out on top when going toe-to-toe with those competitors."
And there’s a book!
"The SEO Checklist module and the Drupal 8 SEO book were designed to work together," Ben explains, "While the SEO Checklist module tells you what to do, this book tells you how to do it. The book goes through the SEO checklist module one task at a time, explaining in more detail how to do each task and some background about why each item is needed. The book was written primarily for marketers but developers were always on the back of my mind as I wrote it. In fact, I try to bridge the developers and marketers a lot in this module/book combination."
"The module is completely free and open source, of course. In the book, I take you through the exact steps that I've used for years to get top results for both national brands and small companies. It explains the SEO process created by the experts at my Drupal SEO agency, Volacci, and how it can be used by any organization large or small to grow traffic, leads, and revenues.
When was SEO Checklist module created?
"The SEO Checklist module was originally created in 2007 for Drupal 5 … wow, I’ve been at this a long time! For Drupal 8, I reorganized the module while I was writing the Drupal 8 SEO book. I had a lot of help with the module code from Travis Carden, an Acquian and the maintainer of the Checklist API module.
"I created the module to solve my own organizational needs. As an SEO company, my company Volacci is working on 15-20 client sites at any given time. When we'd take on a new project, some stuff was already done and some stuff wasn't. I had a long list of SEO tasks that I'd do on every site. I'd go through the list and check each one and do the optimizations … over and over."
"At some point, I realized it would be great to have automated help checking all this stuff and keeping track for me. That was the genesis of the idea. The module has evolved along the way, but at its heart, it serves the same purpose as 9 years ago: provide a list, check what you can programmatically, and provide links to the admin screens for each item to speed me along."
Has Drupal 8 changed SEO Checklist module?
"We released the SEO Checklist module for D8 in November 2016 and the biggest change to the module was the incorporation of command line interface (CLI) helpers. We’ve added commands you’ll need for optimizations you can do on the command line using Drush, Composer, and the Drupal Console. The module doesn't execute the commands – it just gives them to you so you can copy-paste them into your own command line. But still, that hopefully saves some time and trouble figuring out how to request a specific module and configuration. Now that Drupal's Composer endpoints are out of Beta, the developer community is using more CLI tools than ever."
"Again, thank you, Travis Carden at Acquia for all the help porting the SEO Checklist module to Drupal 8. Travis has this great Checklist API module that let’s anyone build a dynamic checklist just like the SEO Checklist. It only took a couple of days to put together and customize to my needs. In fact, I'd encourage anyone with an idea for a checklist to check it out."
"Drupal 8 really is ready for Marketers. Numerous SEO-related modules have reached stability and are good to go now, one year after Drupal 8’s release. It's been great to see how things were incorporated so quickly into Drupal 8 by the community, like AMP (Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages) thanks to leadership by the team at Lullabot in this case."
Resources … aka, "Buy Ben’s book" :-)
- Grab the module on Drupal.org: https://www.drupal.org/project/seo_checklist
- Buy Ben’s book, Drupal 8 SEO at https://www.drupal8seo.com/
- Or on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1946017000/