Maybe my SEO with Drupal is working

I posted a little while ago about my attempts to optimize my blog for search engines. I think it’s working. Take this example. This morning, I linked to an article on Prince of Petworth about a new restaurant opening in Columbia Heights, CommonWealth Gastropub. Now, PoP is a near-deity in the greater Columbia Heights/Petworth/Logan/Shaw area. It’s a good blog. I read it regularly. I, on the other hand, am a relative unknown who complains too much. PoP went to an early preview at CommonWealth and took pictures, then wrote an article about the experience. I linked to the article, and offered very limited commentary. Now, go do a little Google search for commonwealth dc gastropub. you will notice that item seven is my post. The first item from PoP is item 23, and it’s not even a link to the most recent article. So, on one hand, you have a good blog that did some real journalism. On the other, you have a blog, where half the readership was at the author’s wedding, that just linked to the real journalism. But I show up first on Google.

Drupal and the Blog API

I wish someone had told me you had to enable the Blog API module before you could use all the cool blogging tools like Flickr’s “Blog This” or Firefox plugin ScribeFire. I tried setting up both, and kept getting unhelpful errors. It looked like my username and password were wrong. This was frustrating, because I was sure my username and password were correct. After significant Googling, I finally found a helpful explanation. And now it works perfectly. You can see the previous post, which I sent straight from Flickr. So, hopefully now this page will be one more Google hit explaining that, if you want an external site or application to access your xmlrpc.php file, you’d better turn on the Blog API module.

Hey, people like Drupal and SEO

A bunch of hits on the last post, especially for a Friday night. It looks like people are watching stuff tagged with “Drupal” or “SEO” or something like that. Anyway, at the advice of the commenters, I’ve replaced trackback with pingback, which requires less (no) effort and still accomplishes that two-way link between me and anyone who happens to link to me. I also tweaked my robots.txt file. So, we’ll see what happens. Now I just have to keep writing things that people find interesting. Or, you know, start.

Drupal, SEO, and you

I’ve been getting annoyed by a few things about this blog. First, in the last sixty days, exactly 28% of the pageviews on the site are one page – the community bitch page about Vector Security. The percentage is even higher if you include some other random pages that come up on a Google search for “vector security” and related terms. Which brings me to the second point – Drupal’s default “Clean URLs” are crap for search engine indexing. If none of this makes sense to you, stop reading now. Go read something else, like Bad Astronomy Blog or Whatever or any of the other millions of blogs out there. Some of them are certainly talking about something that interests you. But if you’re interested in what I’m doing to help people find me, read on. I want people to find me based on stuff I write about a lot – complaining, sports, probably some politics when we get closer to November. I appreciate the people who come here looking for Vector Security, but that’s not really my focus here. So I took some steps to become more search-engine-friendly. SEO, if you will. First, I installed multiping. By default, Drupal isn’t that good at pinging Technorati and whatnot. I think you can set it up with cron, but I don’t understand cron, and don’t feel like learning. Multiping takes the cron out of pinging. Now, Technorati gets updates whenever I post, and they can share my posts with the world. Then I added trackbacks. Trackbacks are one of those things, like the Metric system, that sound like a really good idea, but depend on widespread adoption to really succeed. But I figure it can’t hurt to be trackback-enabled. And I added pathauto. Now, the link for this post (As opposed to the link to the front page) is instead of This is much more informative, and I think it’s much better for search engine indexing. So we’ll see how it goes. Either it will be awesome, and my traffic will go through the roof, or it will be exactly the same. Or somewhere in between. I’m betting on somewhere in between.

Some things good, some things bad

Well, I can’t figure out the stupid redirect. I’m trying to redirect the old links ( where XXX is a number) to the new links ( I think there are too many .htaccess redirects going on, and I don’t really understand it all. Otherwise, things are good. The friend who said the old layout “made his eyes bleed” has already expressed his approval. Since he picked the colors, he’d better approve. Next on the list is a different project, but then I’ll get back to reimplementing “Your Complaints” so you can complain about stuff, too.

Things are a little bit rough so far

So I’m converting to Drupal. I have most of the basics working. I’m not sure my .htaccess redirect from the old site is working. It might just take the server some time to figure it out, I don’t know. I know the RSS feed is updated. If you’ve been reading the feed, it should be basically a transparent change. It’s pretty cool so far. Of course, everything gets messed up when I upgrade to Drupal 6, but they aren’t quite ready for the full release yet (Contrary to what it say on their site). Anyway, it’s late, so I’m probably just about done for now, but keep watching. More cool stuff is coming.

Drupal coming along nicely

I tweaked my strategy to import this blog into Drupal, and it’s working quite well on my local machine.  I had wanted to go with the brand new Drupal 6.0, but it’s not quite finished, and many of the modules that I might want to use haven’t been updated yet.  So I think I’ll go with 5.7, and then upgrade down the road a little when 6.0 is more mature.

My big problem is the permalinks.  I don’t want to have to write individual .htaccess entries for 700-some posts – I can’t imagine that’s a good idea.  So I need a redirect rule, and I don’t know much about writing them.  I think I can figure it out, though.  I think I’m going to have to map to or something like that.  I don’t think that will be hard, but you never know.  Luckily my webhost uses nice, sensible Apache servers, instead of some hideous abomination.

Anyway, my next challenge will be scraping together a new theme.  I have some ideas, but I need to execute them.  And I need to pick a color scheme.  You can leave suggestions in the comments, which I’ll probably ignore.  But you can leave them.