Hello community,

I currently have a website that I developed in Wordpress. I have reached the limits of Wordpress' capabilities (and my own!) and now need more functionality. I am unfamiliar with Drupal and have been contacted by a Web Design/Developer who uses Drupal exclusively and is telling me that Drupal can do much more than Wordpress and that re-creating my site in Drupal will allow me to do the specific functions I am looking for. In specifics, I need a significant amount of users to have their own "account" with specific information in it. Wordpress as I understand it can certainly do this, but I hear that Drupal can do it better and easier with more functionality and reports that I might want to have. So I am considering moving over to Drupal.

However, as a business owner, I am VERY concerned about losing the SEO ground that I have built up using Wordpress over the last (almost) 2 years. I've done a lot of snooping and it appears the consensus is that Wordpress has superior SEO abilities, Drupal...not so much.

I would love some comments and thoughts from current users. If I decide to have the web designer build me a new site using Drupal, I'm not sure that SEO is their particular strength (more coding if you know what I mean), so I would love to have some suggestions on SEO for him...are there plug-ins with Drupal like in Wordpress? Or is it really all about the code??

I greatly appreciate any thoughts or comments any of you have!

Thanks so much!
Lauren

Comments

John_B’s picture

I've done a lot of snooping and it appears the consensus is that Wordpress has superior SEO abilities, Drupal...not so much.

Not true. WP with Thesis theme claims to have the best SEO. Almost every review saying that has an affiliate link.... so yes, Thesis reviews have a consensus that Thesis has the best Wordpress SEO. There is a lot of affiliate linking in the Wordpress world, encouraging that kind of misleading 'consensus.'

Drupal themes like WP can have content first, tableless design. The markup can be more or less clean, depending on how you write the theme (for super-clean markup you might try Mothership theme but I have not used it). There were problems with Drupal 7 SEO early on owing delays porting metatags ('nodewords') and page title modules to the new version of Drupal, which is no longer a problem. And there is no autmoated tool like Yoast for Wordpress. However, Drupal 7 has built-in RDF, and has many options for dynamically assembling and pulling in content, so if used intelligently Drupal's SEO is as good as it gets.

Switching to Drupal has downsides. If you want fast page loads, for your SEO, you need beefier hosting to handle the fact it is a much bigger piece of software. Updates are more trouble, and major version upgrades a major pain. Some contrib modules create a tendency to bugginess. Also when switching, in order to preserve your SEO you need to keep your aliases the same. There is always a risk of losing out short-term in SEO on the changeover.

But the consensus that WP has better SEO period is one of the impressionistic things which like so much in SEO is a guess. Wordpress fans will guess one way, Drupal fans the other.

Jaypan’s picture

Drupal templates are entirely customizable. So if you find an area in which your HTML is lacking in SEO, you can adjust it yourself to make it more SEO friendly. There are also a lot of modules that make Drupal more SEO friendly (such as nodewords and XMLsitemap), and Drupal 7's RDF mapping theoretically makes a page more semantic, though I have not actually read any reviews on how effective this is.

The nice thing about Drupal is that themers and developers can work independently, as Drupal is built on an MVC principles, that separates logic from presentation. This means that the developer can work on the logic and spin everything out into templates which a designer can then use to set the HTML however they want. An example of this is a project I'm working on right now, where I am creating an Ubercart catalog for a client, and they have their own designer on the project. I am putting everything into very basic templates with a minor bit of CSS just for positioning, and the designer will then go in and alter the templates to add the HTML/CSS they want using the data that I'm outputting from my module.

audster’s picture

subscribe

DrBruce’s picture

What to you mean by subscribe?
And can anyone recommend any idiot-level articles or sites on how to make drupal more google friendly. And are there simple plug-ins like wp, or does one have to do custom coding? Thx

John_B’s picture

http://drupal.org/project/seo_checklist
Drupal is already almost as Google friendly as you can get. IMHO all you need to do is make your content and 'authority' google friendly, which is not Drupal-specific, but the same as for any site. So using general SEO skills, nothing to do with Drupal (which has the platform-specific stuff reasonably well already), works: I have seen it work.

DrBruce’s picture

You raise an excellent point that the most important ingredient for better search engine ranking is the quality of your content, and that has nothing to do with the platform or software you use, but it matters what you write!

HealthyGirl’s picture

Thanks for your reply and your thoughts!

joseonate’s picture

SEO on both platforms is pretty much the same. The difference is what it always is in a comparison between WP and Drupal: WP might get you “there” faster, but with limited options.

The seo_checklist module will act as the equivalent to your typical WP all-in-one-seo plugin. If you have an SEO-aware theme, once you are done checking the boxes on the checklist module you’ll pretty much be as optimized as any WP installation is going to get without expert tweaking.

midlake’s picture

I disagree with the sentiment throughout drupal.org that Drupal is as good as Wordpress when it comes to SEO. I administer 9 Drupal sites and 4 WordPress sites, and the WP ones are all outpacing the Drupal ones in SEO despite following best practices on both. We use Volacci and many contributed SEO modules for the Drupal sites, but the truth is that it is all much simpler and effective with WordPress. The Yoast plugin alone makes SEO with WP a better experience as an admin.

I think it's pretty clear at this point in time that WordPress beats Drupal on SEO.

frederico’s picture

Hey midlake, thank you for your candid input. Having a substantial number of websites using both WordPress and Drupal gives your words a lot of weight. Can you tell me:

1. What version of Drupal are you using for those sites?
2. Do you see an SEO difference between D6 & D7 (if you are using both)?
3. What theme(s) is/are you using? Do you see an SEO difference between themes?

Questions/comments to the general Drupal community:

I love Drupal and have a great amount of loyalty to it. However, rather than ignoring midlake's input, it might be best for us if we chew on it and see if we can improve Drupal's SEO.

1. How can we take midlake's input and try to figure out why his experience indicates WordPress is better than Drupal with respect to SEO?
2. Is there a Drupal module equivalent to the Yoast plugin?
3. Are there themes out there that have been proven to be more effective for SEO than most? If so, why is this the case?

I'm willing to do my part (do a WP vs D7 head-to-head SEO comparison, etc) to help improve Drupal's SEO. I just need some input and possible direction.

Thanks!
Frederico Garza

frederico’s picture

In the absence of any feedback from the Drupal community, I'm going to convert my Drupal website over to Wordpress and see if I can detect any shifts in SEO performance. I'll post my findings here as I get them. Being a huge Drupal fan, I'm hoping Drupal is best. However, I'll leave it up to the data to determine which platform is best (at least for my site) in terms of SEO. -Frederico Garza

ColdSun’s picture

Sounds like a plan. Any findings you come across could easily be added to either Drupal themes or through modules. I would personally imagine that the biggest SEO difference would be page load times if you are not using a solid caching system such as varnish.

charlie charles’s picture

How do you think drupal seo modules compare to wordpress seo plugin's?

John_B’s picture

Like most things, Wordpress's SEO modules (Yoast is the one I know) gives you more out of the box, and more hand-holding, while Drupal is better for those who like to control their own destiny (or at least their own website). For website projects which are too low on available time or skills or budget for individually hand-crafted solutions, Wordpress SEO plugins offer more than Drupal.

charlie charles’s picture

This amazes me really because drupal is used for bigger client projects than wordpress.
But smaller clients who use word press have the advantage of better seo?

1st thing client wants is good seo!
That's the difference between them choosing either to use wordpress or drupal

John_B’s picture

That is not how I see it. I said that IMO Wordpress SEO plugins work better for sites which are short on skill or time or money. If you want to give your clients hand-made quality, Drupal does rather a good job and I find it easier to work with. This also goes for SEO. The sites with a lot of individual customisation are in my view almost always better, to me they often just 'feel like' quality, which is why clients who 'get it' are willing to pay for that. Nevertheless, lack of developer skill and client budget does sometimes mean we are better off simply 'reheating' and rolling out the wonderful prepackaged solutions available for WP.

charlie charles’s picture

I prefer drupal to wordpress for same reason as you do but only when I'm making a website

I have to agree with comment made by @midlake c

"We use Volacci and many contributed SEO modules for the Drupal sites, but the truth is that it is all much simpler and effective with WordPress. The Yoast plugin alone makes SEO with WP a better experience as an admin."

That's my experience too. I love making sites in drupal but when it comes to having to writing content for seo
It's back to wordpress.

John_B’s picture

Maybe we should build a Yoast equivalent for Drupal 8!

WorldFallz’s picture

oh dear god please don't, lol. this whole 'writing content for seo' is aß backwards imo. Content should be written to be relevant, current, and accurate-- NOT for the sole purpose of getting search engines to falsely bump up sites in the listing. The internet is full enough of garbage, spam, and marketing as it is already.

If you want to see how awesome drupal is for SEO without wasting time, effort, and dollars on artificial SEO manipulations, simply google the word 'views' -- a completely generic and non descript word with probably dozens of connotations -- and see where it falls in the listing.

charlie charles’s picture

oh dear god please don't, lol. this whole 'writing content for seo' is aß backwards imo. Content should be written to be relevant,

Oh dear god please, try something before you give a opinion!
that the whole point of using yoast!!! :p

It checks the content is written is relevant for the google search results
not a single keyword

Example of how you do seo in wordpress

http://youtu.be/sW8ycNg3yGk?list=UU0SdCZAvbNsuc-0l7puyKuQ

Example of how you do seo in Drupal

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUUHOLqTwBw

Which one do you think most clients would want to use the wordpress or drupal version?

John_B’s picture

Google's is like a mean high school girl- only interested in you if you are not interested in her.

(I hope that is not offensive: originated by Raquel Royers http://blog.halfabubbleout.com/blog/bid/389993/SEO-Services-For-Small-Bu....) Keyword targetting could potentially poison one's prominence in search results. Targetting contextual text on links used to work great, until Google knocked it on the head, at which point it became so counter-productive that people started crying that Google had destroyed their family business built up by years of diligent hard work in gaming the SEO landscape. So assisting Google is certainly a good thing, gaming Google by adjusting one's wording, which Yoast encourages, is probably not.

charlie charles’s picture

An ideal seo module for drupal, would not cheat the system but not make SEO mistakes.

Google does offer loads of free advise on how to avoid SEO mistakes.

What are the top 3-5 SEO areas where webmasters make the most mistakes?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=421aTJI2Nxc

I agree, their advise does change over time but a module that could keep you up to date with SEO changes would be useful :)