Drupal Gardens adds SEO meta tags, activity analytics, repeating dates, and more

Chris Brookins's picture

Submitted by Chris Brookins on January 16, 2012 - 12:07am

Among the 75,000 sites created to date, Drupal Gardens has attracted many enterprise customers who have sites with significant traffic and demanding requirements. They must ensure that their site's content is properly categorized by the major search engines. To offer SEO tools that would meet these needs, we worked with Dave Reid of Palantir to design and create the Meta tags module for Drupal 7, a complete rewrite of the Drupal 6 Nodewords module, with additional SEO features.

Another requirement of these sites is the ability to track and measure user activity (new sign ups, content contributions, comments, etc), broken out by demographics using real-time analytics services such as Omniture or Woopra. For site owners who want use these analytics services we developed and posted to drupal.org the Analytic variables module.

In addition, we redesigned the user-interface for repeating dates in the Date module because our testing showed that before we could expose this powerful feature, it had to be easier to use by our content creators. Once designed, we reviewed the result with Karen Stevenson, the date module maintainer, and worked with the awesome team from Pronovix to build and contribute it back to drupal.org so any Drupal 7 sites could benefit.

The Drupal Gardens service was updated with the following new features and enhancements:

  • Dates can now repeat for recurring events

    When adding or modifying a date field, you can use the Repeating date option so your content creators can collect dates that repeat as needed, e.g. every day, week, month, or year. Once you content is created with a repeating date, your site can display a list all repeating dates using a view.

    When you create a repeating date field, for example a Webinar Date field in a blog entry, it is available when selecting Add content > Blog page as shown below. To learn more, see Custom date and time fields.

    Webinar_date.png

  • The style of each menu item can now be changed in the ThemeBuilder

    Unique identifiers have been added to all Drupal Gardens menu items so they can be individually customized. You can also use image sprites. Use the Advanced pane to specify how you want your menu entries to appear. To learn more, see Customizing menu elements.

  • Optimize your site’s SEO with custom meta tags and more

    Sites on a Professional or higher subscription plans now include the Meta tag module with improved SEO optimization that supports page titles, canonical URLs, keywords, meta tags, Open Graph Protocol, and robots directives. All of this gives you more control over how search engines and social sites interpret and represent your content to their users.

    After enabling the Meta tag module, you can access SEO functionality any time you create new content by going to the Search engine optimization (SEO) tab, filling in the settings, and clicking Publish.

    Meta tags sections include:

    • HTML Page Title: Customizes the title of the page displayed in the browser’s tab, bookmarks, favorites, etc.
    • Meta tags: Creates keywords that can influence how your site is found by search engines. Note that this is not supported by some search engines, like Google.
    • Open graph: Adds Open Graph meta tags to create "rich" social objects and help Facebook understand how to interpret the content.
    • Advanced: Provides search engines with specific directions for what to do when the page is crawled and indexed.
    • Available tokens: Provides a list of tokens such the author name, title, and date that can be inserted automatically into the previous settings as needed.

    To learn more, see Optimizing your site for search engines.

  • Understand the behavior of your site's users with analytics variables

    For sites using the Professional subscription plan or higher, you can integrate your Drupal Gardens site with popular web analytics tools using the Analytics variables module. When this module is enabled, you can track individual user actions on your site by accessing the analytics variables from custom JavaScript and send them to an analytics system, such as Adobe Onmiture, or Woopra. Information and actions that you can track include:

    • Site name and page title
    • The authenticated user’s username, email, and roles
    • Any actions (such as inserting, updating, or deleting a blog post or photo) performed on content, comments, media, or any Drupal entity
    • Any actions performed on other users such as insert (such as a new user joined), delete, or edit

    To learn more, see Using analytics variables.

  • For a complete list of what's new, including updates to Drupal modules and bug fixes, see the release notes.

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