Joomla is a popular, open source content management system that is used to create a wide variety of types of websites. Even though this system is widely used, it is easy for beginners to be confused about SEO for Joomla. Some of the important aspects to optimizing a Joomla site for search engines are similar to the strategies used on any other type of site, but these strategies are often carried out in a different way.
SEO Joomla Templates and Components
Before settings are changed on a site and content is optimized for search engines, there are two important things that should be loaded on a Joomla site. Using templates controls the site layout and design, while components add additional functionality to the site.
A template that is SEO friendly should be used. These templates place an emphasis on proper HTML coding to lay the ground work for great search engine rankings. Without a search engine friendly template, other optimization work done on the site may not have much benefit.
Search engine friendly (SEF) components are commonly available in both free and commercial versions for Joomla. These components can accomplish a wide variety of tasks that can help to optimize a site for better rankings, but more research may be needed to determine the best components to use on a particular site.
Optimizing Page URLs and Titles
Settings are available in Joomla to control page URLs. To be more specific, search engine friendly URLs need to be enabled here, along with the use of Apache mod_rewrite. With these two settings turned on, page URLs are changed from a dynamic format to a static format, which is easier for search engines and site visitors to understand. This one SEO change on a Joomla site can have a major impact on rankings.
When a new page is created, the title given to that page will control the actual URL of the page with friendly URLs enabled. The title of the page should summarize what the page is about. It is also an excellent place to target a specific keyword phrase because that phrase will end up in the URL as well.
When someone makes a search on a search engine, they will typically scan the list of page titles that show up in the search results. As a result, the page title is one of the most important parts of any new page that is created on a site. Even with great search engine rankings, an unappealing title can fail to attract clicks from searchers.
Joomla Meta Tag SEO
A lot of people overlook metadata these days because they believe search engines do not place a lot of ranking importance on these tags. Even though they may not affect rankings as much as they used to, they are certainly still important SEO aspects that should not be ignored. When a new Joomla page is created, this metadata information can be entered.
The keywords meta tag gives site owners a chance to list some keywords or keyword phrases that are highly relational to the content on a page. Many people will typically list as many relational phrases as they can find here, but this is simply not the proper way to use this tag. Try to avoid repeating words within these phrases. If necessary, list single keywords instead of phrases to cover more combinations of those words, but try to keep the total list as short as possible.
The descriptions meta tag provides another opportunity to place the target keyword phrase for a page, but it is extremely important to not stuff keywords into the description. In general, the description should be one or two sentences, no longer than 155 characters, that describes the page content. Search engine traffic will see this description in the results, so it can have a major impact on their decision to click on a particular listing.
Article Content Optimization
The final aspect to on-site SEO on a Joomla site is to optimize the actual article content on each page. There are a lot of people that will pay attention to the other aspects that have been mentioned here but will ignore content optimization. While the other things are important, the article on each page is the heart and soul of search engine rankings.
Keyword phrases need to be used within page content, but there are some things to consider with keyword placement. An article should not just have keyword phrases added. The content needs to actually make sense to human readers. Additionally, one main keyword phrase should be targeted on a single page. Targeting numerous phrases on the same page will dilute the strength of the rankings it can obtain.
Instead of simply writing phrases into an article, write the article “about” the keyword phrase. High-tech, modern search engines actually analyze content found on a page to determine the subject, so this is one aspect of SEO that is extremely important. In addition to working great for search engine rankings, this type of content writing will make sense and deliver useful information to site visitors.
Header Tag, Image, and Link Optimization
Depending on what is contained within the content of a particular page, there are a number of things that can be optimized for better search rankings. Header tags can typically be used on almost any page, and Joomla has an easy content formatting tool to allow these to be added. Images and links on the page can also be used in particular ways that search engines prefer.
Header tags should summarize a particular area of the article content, and they are another excellent location to place keyword phrases. Typically, a site already has H1 and H2 tags being used for the site title and the page title, so H3, H4, and H5 tags can be added to the page content. CSS changes may need to be made to change the appearance of these tags, since they are generally shown in different sizes.
Images should be optimized in two ways. First, make sure the actual name of the image file is relevant to the content of the picture or the targeted keyword phrase of the page it will be used on. Then, write a description for the image that will be used as the ALT tag in the image HTML code. Joomla offers an easy way to insert this description without actually using HTML.
Article content will often contain plain text links to other pages of content on the same site. For these types of links, it is important to ensure they are optimized for search engines. The actual text used for the link should contain the targeted keyword phrase for the page it links to. This not only helps boost search engine rankings, but it is also helpful for site visitors to determine if they want to follow the link.