The first time I researched Joomla SEO, I had many questions in my mind. And I saw that not only Joomla newbies but also webmasters had the same troubles as me. So I think it's a good idea to make the list of Joomla FAQs related to SEO. It will help you save a lot of time when doing SEO for a Joomla website. And here are ten of the most common FAQs.
Yes, Joomla already has some SEO functions:
When newbies first install Joomla, the URL rewrite function is disabled. You must enable it by renaming the file htaccess.txt to .htaccess.
With Joomla version 1.5, SEO functionality is simple. You just control the Meta tags of the website or articles, and re-write the URL. With the menu manager, you can't set Meta tags; the Page Heading is not displayed as an H1 tag. But from version 1.7/2.5, there are four more functions: setting aliases for article titles, include site name in page titles, Metadata options for Menu item and displaying the page heading as an H1 heading (visible to search engine).
Default SEO setting in Global Configuration
Insert H1 tag in Joomla 2.5
When you include site name in page titles you can choose the position to place your site name: after or before page titles. What is the difference? With large brands, they often put the site name before a page title to increase Click-Through Rate (CTR). But for lesser known brands or news websites , it's better to put the site name after a page title for maximum SEO value.
For further functionality, you should use Joomla SEO extensions. We've collected all the most useful tools in the article: "Excellent SEO plug-in for Joomla website".
Meta tags are not shown directly to the user but they are visible to search engines so they are much needed. The most important Meta elements are the TITLE tag and Description tag. The keyword tag is only used by Bing search engine so we don't need to worry about it. Joomla has built-in Meta tag support but with many limitations. The Metadata Settings are in Global Configuration.
Edit the Meta tags with the keywords
Following the Google recommendation, you should limit the title tag to under 72 characters; and the description length should not exceed 165 characters. You must put your primary keywords in your title and description tag; so, in the search results, the keywords will be in bold. Many customers click the link in search results because of an attractive description so you should write it in an interesting way. You also can set Meta description and title for the main menu and articles.
These templates will help your websites get a higher ranking in a search engine's results but they can't make sure that it's in first place.
Why? Because they have many settings enabled for SEO-support but if you can't use them successfully, they can't bring you the best results. With SEO-friendly Joomla templates, you can put headings in H1 tag; enable the website titles for all pages and add logo link and logo image alt text. You can use keywords in every important place that is visible to search engines. You can read more about the abilities in this article: How we optimized JSN Epic template to be a SEO friendly template.
These templates help the newbie climb many steps in the stairway to first place in search results, and save you a lot of time. If you want to get the top place in search results, you have to find out your best keywords and use all the functions of your SEO-friendly templates smartly.
What the best keywords are is always one of big FAQs about SEO. There are many ways to choose the keywords for your site. You can make a list of all the keywords you think people might find you with and then do research on the list you have. You can use the keyword suggestion tools such as: Keyword tool - Google Adwords, Word Tracker...
Long tail keywords are what you need; don't try to focus to the short keywords. Now, most search engines show their suggested keywords for people when they search; therefore the customer will get exactly what they want.
I will show newbies one way we chose the keywords for our site when we started our business. We provide Joomla templates and extensions so I tried to search the keyword "Joomla templates" in Google search engine. It gave me some suggestions:
Google's keyword suggestions
So the customer could choose one of these keywords to get better results instead of only "joomla templates". I thought about that and used Keyword tool - Google Adwords to check them:
Analysis of the keywords
This table showed me that "joomla templates 1.7" had Medium competition but less searches than others. It wasn't the best keyword. The keyword "joomla templates 1.5" seem to look better for me because it had low competition, many searches and, most important, that customers didn't search for free (i.e. For a business, it means that customers agree to pay money if they like the products).
So I decided to choose this keyword. And many of our customers visited and bought our templates through this keyword.
JoomlaShine's keyword on Google search results
When you get into the top ten places in search results with a keyword, it doesn't mean that you will always be in the same position. You can rank higher and also can also drop out of the list if you don't pay attention to your keywords. As I told you about our real experience above, I chose the keyword "joomla templates 1.5", but now, we have changed to another keyword to find new customers so the position with the old keyword will decrease.
Google is the most popular search engine nowadays so to be indexed in Google is the first step for improving your SEO. So newbies must create a sitemap; an xml file that contains links to every page on your site. You can make it manually or automatically using tools. After you have created a sitemap, you must submit your site and your sitemap to Google. When your website is new, Google crawls the sitemaps that you submit and after that Google will be able to crawl your website's content faster.
It's not really correct.(This is one of most important FAQs that newbies must read.) Many keywords are good but too many keywords are bad. Search engines now use keyword density as a factor to determine what a webpage is relevant to a keyword phrase. But if the keyword density is too high, you can be marked as a spammer. When readers get an article or a site with keywords repeat again and again, they will feel bored and may have a bad feeling about it. I often try to keep the keyword density under 5.5%.
One more reason, keywords in the content are not the only things that you need to improve SEO. Your search engine position ranking for any keyword also depends on high quality back-links with the anchor text that you get from other sites.
Keyword density in our blog article
There are many ways for newbies to get back-links. Some of these are: buying text links, sharing banners with text link, using forum signatures, blog comments, etc... Choose high page rank websites to make back-links and remember you should choose a website that is related to your content, which will improve your SEO.
The best way to get free high quality back-links is submit your articles, with a hyperlink back to your website, to famous websites. When your article is submitted, you not only receive a good back-link but also many customer visits.
Get back-links from the website with high PR
Below are some sources Joomla newbies can use to get the high quality back-links:
Google webmaster is the most popular tool to analyze and improve SEO for websites. Joomla newbies can login to your account at Google webmaster tools and click to crawl errors to see any that have affected your keyword ranking in Google search results such as: Duplicate content, missing Meta tags, pages not found...
Joomla newbies can also find out how Googlebot crawled your site in the last 90 days and choose which site links will appear in the search result for your site. Using all these reports you can edit your website to get better SEO result.
Preview of Webmaster tools
In my opinion, with SEO, content is King. Search engines always give priority to websites that always have updated content. If you have a website but you can't update the content frequently, you must work harder than other webmasters.
The best way for newbies to maintain your position in search engine ranking for a long time is: fully SEO-optimized information and great back-links. Try to give your site back-links as much information as impossible. If you can't spend time to update it, just be sure that people get enough information when they visit your pages and search engines can easily find your primary keywords.
You have to spend a lot of time at the beginning of building a website: All modules must be clearly defined; easy for reader to follow, easy for a search engine to crawl, and providing all the information required. Your URL structure must be search engine friendly and the keywords you use must be right: this means less competition and you reach directly to the customer. You should pay money to buy high quality back-links from other famous websites related to your business. They will provide a large amount of your visitors.
For small business: your customers are mostly in your city or somewhere nearlby so you should care much more about SEO for local customers. Search engines provide many ways for you to do local searches: Google places, Yahoo! Local Merchant...or you can improve SEO on mobile. Pay attention to these strategies and you can save your time as well as your money.
Yes, we know that Joomla newbies have many questions about Joomla SEO. Only a short FAQs is not enough. When you have questions, you can find the answer in a Joomla forum as well as an SEO forum. There are many forums for you; here, I chose the most popular forums, where many members join everyday, so you can quickly get the answer for your problem:
You can join:
Or you can read useful articles from:
The list above is the 10 most common Joomla FAQs about SEO. I know that a Joomla newbie has many more questions to ask so if you have any other question, feel free to ask. All your questions will be answered as soon as possible. And as you know, search engines always change their search functionality so Joomla SEO must also be updated. We also welcome all your ideas for improving SEO for Joomla websites.