SEO Tips and Tools for Joomla Websites
WMT Section: Webmaster Tips - WMT Category: Joomla CMS

Enable Search Engine Friendly URLs

Having search engine friendly URLs is extremely important because it gives your Web pages a huge boost in search engines. If someone happens to search for a keyword that is included in the content of your Web pages and in one of your URLs, you’re going to show up higher in results than other Web pages that do not have that keyword in their URL.

Search engine friendly URLs also let people know what your Web pages are about. Imagine seeing a link like this: /index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=156&Itemid=15. Do you have any idea what this is about? There’s no way that you can tell. Now imagine seeing a link like this: /top-reasons-to-use-joomla/. That’s so much better isn’t it? It tells you exactly what the page is about.

This is exactly how Google and other search engines perceive your Web pages as well.

Use Joomla Extensions to Optimize Your Website

This is a given. Joomla provides hundreds of extensions for all to use for optimizing and enhancing their websites. It’s definitely worth taking advantage of the large selection of SEO & Metadata extensions. It will take some time and research to find out what works best for you. This will also involve some trial and error since you’ll probably want to test out a few extensions before making a final decisions.

Some people opt to create a test Joomla site so that they can test extensions and other tools. This way, there is no way to mess up your main website. You never know how an extension will work until you try it and it’s just not worth the risk of messing up your main website from a corrupt file or out-of-date extension that goes haywire on your current version of Joomla.

Some of the top Joomla SEO extensions include:

  • Set Generator Tag - Change the default Joomla generator tags to anything you like.
  • SEO Pagination - Create a unique title for every page on your website.
  • Title Manager - Manage your page titles better and create a custom name for your home page.
  • SEO-Generator - Automatically generates keywords and descriptions for each article.
  • Easy Frontend SEO - Change and add meta information at the front end; active on every Web page.

Make Sure You Have a Sitemap

Sitemaps are not only important for easier navigation on your website, but they also help to increase your site’s visibility in search engines. First and foremost, they let search engines immediately know when you’ve made any changes to your website. So whether you add or remove content, search engines will know from your sitemap and can update your search results faster than if you didn’t have a sitemap.

A sitemap helps search engines to see all the links and pages that you have on your website, so there is no need to submit each Web page separate. Sitemaps are organized in a way that help search engines to better classify your pages and their importance. You can learn more about the importance of having a sitemap with a little research.

If you’re not sure how to create a Joomla sitemap, you can try one of these Joomla extensions:

  • Xmap - A sitemap generator that uses the structure of your menus.
  • Joom!FreeMind - Generates an appealing visual mindmap observing your menus, categories, and sections.
  • JCrawler - Mimics the Google crawler by crawling your site and storing all the URLS in an XML file.
  • JM Sitemap - A Google sitemap generator that lets you show/hide menu items.
  • Run Digital Sitemap - A highly configurable sitemap component that shows all menus and content items or only the ones you choose.

Do Not Underestimate the Power of Social Media

Today, Web content is most shared via some type of social network such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or one of the other hundreds of social sites out there. This is a huge plus for you because all of these shares are indexed by search engines as well! The more your content is shared, the more it will be seen by others and the more traffic you’ll receive.

For this reason alone, you should be sure to include social sharing buttons on your Joomla pages and articles. As long as you provide the great content and the tools for engagement, you’re sure to get some retweets and shares from those who visit your website.

Let’s take a look at some of the top Joomla extensions for social sharing:

  • The Ultimate Social Bookmarking Plugin - Adds social bookmarking buttons to your content.
  • Sexy Bookmarks - Provides the possibility to add different social bookmark services to your Joomla website.
  • Social Widgets - Gives you the option to add a Twitter widget, Twitter button, Facebook “Like” button, Facebook “share” button, mail a friend button, and much more.
  • Nice Social Bookmark - Shows icons from 13 most known social sites.
  • ShareMe - Allows your site visitors to easily share your site’s content with their followers and the rest of the World.

Use an Analytics Tool to Monitor Keywords and Traffic

Using an analytics tool is great, but if you’re not using it correctly then you might as well not be using it at all. Analytics tools are important for monitoring your sources of traffic and monitoring keywords and their rankings. “Having the knowledge of important keywords using Web analytics will help you decide which keywords you need to focus your attention on and how best to do this” (source).

The data that most analytics tools offer is extremely important and helpful in boosting your search engine rankings. Just by monitoring referring keywords, you can see what kind of content you should focus on more in order to bring in more traffic. Also monitoring the click path of your users (i.e. via a heatmap) can show you how users navigate, which can help you refine your navigation in order to maximize conversions.

The most popular analytics tool is Google Analytics, but there are many other free tools out there - some that go above and beyond what Google offers. You may also like: Piwik, Woopra, Yahoo! Analytics, Michibot, or GoingUp.
Now that you have an idea of what you should be doing to boost your SEO for your Joomla site, be sure to take time out implement these tips and tools (if you haven’t already). There may be millions of people on the Web, but there are also millions of websites fighting for those same users. Don’t get left in the dust because of simple SEO mistakes!


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