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The foundations of a search engine optimised brochure site


Many search engine optimisation (SEO) experts will have you believe that SEO is complex and difficult, and they'd be right, however unless you're competing with the big boys it is very easy to get ranked well, especially in a niche market or if you serve a particular geographic region.  You see, most people don't know what they're doing, those that do think it's too much work, those that should (professional web developers) have little interest because their clients haven't asked/paid for it, and those that have the money typically only care how the site looks and what it does. I'm not one for analogies but couldn't resist:  If you've ever seen the film 'Without a paddle', the three guys come across a bear.  One of them takes off his shoes and the other asks: 'Why are you taking off your shoes, you can't out run the bear', the first says: 'I don't need to run faster than the bear, I just need to run faster than you'.  So what we are doing here is the basics that most people don't do, it is the 20% that takes you 80% of the way and well past your competition.

I would split SEO into two main areas, the first, foundations which we are looking at now and content, a few basic rules to ensure your content is working for you, not against you.  Getting your content right will take you to 90%.  Getting the final 10% is discussed under its own section .


The foundations

To create the foundations we will be using the following modules:

SEO checklist

Path & Pathauto are more fundamental than SEO checklist but SEO checklist is exactly that and Path & Pathauto are on the list of things to do so we will install that first to make our life a bit easier.  Once installed just follow it through by going to to:  Site configuration > SEO checklist

SEO checklist provides you with pretty much all the foundations you need but the most important is path and pathauto:

Path & Pathauto

The path module allows pages on your site to have a friendly and meaningful url.  Look at the address of this page.  You can instantly tell that this page is a tutorial about the foundations of search engine optimisation.  What's brilliant is that I didn't have to even set the address because the pathauto module does it for me.  In the same way that you can tell a lot about this page from the url, search engines can also tell a lot about the page and pay a lot of attention to urls.  Setting up pathauto when you serve a specific town will almost always catapult you into the top five and usually the top three.

  1. Go to Site building -> Modules.
  2. Enable path under 'Core - optional' and pathauto under 'Other'
  3. That's it!

You can also define how paths are built under Site building -> Url aliases -> Automated alias settings.

For more about this subject see .