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10 Essential SEO Tips for Your Joomla Website You Must Know

Joomla SEO

So you've chosen Joomla! as your CMS of choice. You've bought, or designed and developed a beautiful template and added all your creatively crafted content to your new Joomla! website and you are now ready to start open your website up toyou’re your hungry customers that are asking you to “shut up and take my money”

As a business owner or a marketer with a Joomla website, here is some information on how to best optimize your Joomla website for the latest SEO techniques and methodologies.

Having developed a number of Joomla! Websites, Templates and Extentions over the years, I would like to share with you the exact guidelines that I give to our designers at COMDEV to make sure that our websites compete admirably in the rankings.

Essential Steps to get started: Create & Verify these important accounts:

Google Webmaster Account link: https://www.google.com/webmasters
Google Analytics http://www.google.com/analytics
Google+ Personal Account link: https://plus.google.com
Bing Webmaster Account link: http://www.bing.com/toolbox/webmaster

1. Make Sure You're on the Right Type of Server

This is the first step for a reason. It's important.

For example, if you are using an IIS (Windows) server to host your Joomla! website, you are going to get so frustrated that you may as well abandon your Mac or PC and go out shopping at the mall instead.

It seems that the URL rewriting never seems to gel well with any rewrite module that IIS can use. Rewrite modules are also a nightmare to get set up if you are using a shared hosting account.

We recommend that you save yourself a bunch of headache and get your Joomla! site set up on an Apache server with mod_rewrite installed. Your nerves and the SEO components you're going to install will thank you.

2. Remove "/images/" from your Robots.txt file

This is the automatically generated robots.txt file that is created during the Joomla! Installation. Joomla! includes a disallow rule for the images directory, instructing the search engines not to search or index your images folder.

As you may well know, images can generate a sizable chunk of your traffic from Google and the search engines if you have them correctly optimized.

Because all the image optimisation in the world won't help you if you are telling Google not to bother with your images directory, it is highly recommend that you remove the following line from your robots.txt file:

/images/

3. Rename htaccess.txt to .htaccess

As you are going to want to enable URL rewriting to make those URLs much more attractive than they start out, you are going to need to rename the htaccess.txt file to .htaccess - which is what is used by Joomla! and mod_rewrite.

4. Make sure you have a good sitemap

Generate a sitemap and create a link to it - we currently recommend Jsitemap [insert link: http://extensions.joomla.org/extension/jsitemap] and it suits our purpose well, but there are others you can use. It is important that you use a component such that when you add more content to your website, this automatically gets added to the sitemap. The important thing is not just to generate a sitemap once and forget it, but to keep it current as content keeps being added. An out of date sitemap is only slightly better than no sitemap.

Google Web Masters help section also suggest and recommend why you should have a sitemap.

5. Submit to WebMaster tools

Submit your website sitemap generated in the previous step to Google Webmasters, and Bing WebMasters. Google WebMasters is an invaluable tool if you want to closely monitor how you are doing in your SEO. We won't go into the details of WebMasters here. However, if you are serious about SEO, then you need to make sure you visit Google WebMasters often and understand clearly what's going on. These two search engines will be the ones which generate majority of your web traffic as of the date this article was written.

6. Enable SEF URLs and URL Rewriting

In your Joomla! Global Configuration, set the "Search Engine Friendly URLs" and "Use URL Rewriting" options to "Yes".

Joomla! SEF Settings

Search Engine Friendly URLs is the setting that removes all the dynamically generated text from your URL and replaces it with the alias of the menu item that you're using on the page, which will be better indexed by the likes of Google.

7. Improve your page titles

The TITLE tag is highly regarded by Google and can make a significant positive or negative impact - sh404SEF above allows you to set a good title which can optimize your SEO.

8. Enable Gzip Compression Functionality

Typically, each response sent by the server may be compressed or gzipped before reaching your visitors. As Google Algorithms do measure website loading speed in its page rank, it is likely a good idea to use Gzip compression to decrease the amount of data sending to your audiences. To do so, just go back to the “Global Configuration” section and then switch on the option labelled as “Gzip Page Compression” as follows. Please note that this method can only work when the mod_gzip has been installed on your own server.

9. Leverage Your Browser Caching

Browser caching is closely associated with the date that header expires, and in the meanwhile offers commands to modify your HTTP request. To instruct your web browser to cache some types of content and how long to cache the content, you can simply copy and paste the following configuration code to the end of the .htaccess file.

ExpiresActive On
ExpiresByType text/html "access plus 1 seconds"
ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access plus 1 months"
ExpiresByType image/gif "access plus 1 years"
ExpiresByType image/png "access plus 1 months"
ExpiresByType text/css "access plus 1 months"
ExpiresByType application/x-javascript "access plus 1 months"
ExpiresByType text/javascript "access plus 1 months"
ExpiresByType image/ico "access plus 1 months"

Furthermore, the above code can be further tweaked according to your requirements. In another words, you can hold the cache for longer/shorter period and also define the type of content to cache.

Using third-party extensions is a great way to optimise your content for search engines. Below are some other highly-recommendable SEO plugins for your Joomla CMS. Details are shown as below:

Artio JoomSEF – that allows you to manage 301 redirects and stylize the custom 404 page.

SEO Generator – that allows you to generate description and keywords for every article using text in the page content or title.

SEO Simple – that allows you to apply the starting chunk of text in your page’s content as the value for the mentioned meta description.

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Saturday, 20 April 2019
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