Free tools for managing your Joomla! SEO

The checklist for SEO of a Joomla! site is the same as for any other website; the fundamentals are:

  • Have good content
  • Host with a good Joomla! hosting provider
  • Try and get good backlinks to your site
  • Research your keywords
  • Use keywords in your headings, article titles, page URLs and throughout the body of your text
  • Write a meta description for each page
  • Generate a site map and register it with search engines
  • Be consistent with your URL and use either www.domain.ca or domain.ca

Here are some suggestions to help with some of these steps, most are Joomla! specific:

(1)  Researching keywords

Good keywords are critical to SEO of any website, and one good tool is Google Adwords Keyword Planner. Even if you don’t use Google Adwords, you can use this tool to find keywords, get new ideas and get an estimation of search volume:
https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner

(2)  SEO-riendly URLs

By default Joomla! URLs will be long and not ideal for SEO, eg

http.www.domain.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2:hello-world&catid=2&Itemid=101

You can improve this by creating article categories and enabling SEO-friendly URLs.

To create article categories

  • Login to the backend of your site
  • Go to Content > Categories and create new categories as required
  • Note that categories can also be nested, with top-level main categories, each having their own sub-categories
  • For each article, assign a category from the category dropdown on the right of the article edit window

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How to enable SEO friendly URLs

  • Login to the backend of your site
  • Go to System > Global Configuration > Site
  • Set Search Engine Friendly URLs to Yes

Optionally enable

  • Use URL rewriting to change the above page URL to something like
    http://www.domain.ca/id-category/id-article-alias
    Note that Joomla! will add category and article IDs to the URL string.

  • For URL rewriting to work, you must first ftp to the root of your Joomla! installation and rename the htaccess.txt to .htaccess

  • Adds Suffix to URL will append .html to your URL
    http.www.domain.ca/id-category/id-article-alias.html
  • Include Site Name in Page Titles will include your site name in page titles

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(3) How to create Meta Descriptions in Joomla!

As you may know, search engines use page titles and page meta descriptions in their results listing.

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You can easily customize the meta description for an article

  • Open the article edit window
  • Click the Publishing tab and enter Meta Description details as required

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(4) How to create Site Maps in Joomla!

If the URLs on your site don’t change very often you could use any online sitemap generator, then manually upload the resulting XML sitemap file to the root of your Joomla! site.

For Joomla! sites with constantly changing content the above method isn’t practical and you want to use a Joomla! extension which will automatically generate your sitemap based on changing site content. Check the Joomla! Extensions Directory (JED) for well-rated options.

(5) Joomla! SEO Extensions

The JED has a good selection of free and commercial extensions which may simplify some tasks and give you more options, especially related to URL rewriting.

 

(6) Redirect non-www to www or vice versa

Technically, www.domain.ca and domain.ca are different URLs, so for SEO reasons it’s best to choose one or the other and be consistent.

You can redirect your entire Joomla! site to either non-www or www by editing the .htaccess file at the root of your Joomla! installation.

Find the line that reads:

RewriteEngine On

To redirect non-www to www, add this code below it:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^yourdomain.ca [NC] RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.yourdomain.com/$1 [L,R=301]

To redirect www to non-www, add this code after RewriteEngine On:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.yourdomain.ca [NC] RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://yourdomain.com/$1 [L,R=301]

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