Improve your Joomla website in just a few SEO steps

Joomla has some built in SEO settings and options to become Search Engine Friendly. Here are some tips to quickly optimise your Joomla website.

SEO for Joomla in a few easy steps...

Write good Titles

The title you use will become the heading for your page in search results. This makes the content of your title very important. Make sure it explains and promotes the content of your page.

See my Page Titles article for more details on how to write good titles.

Fill in your Meta Data Descriptions

Every article has a Meta Data section which contains a Description field. The text in this field may be used by search engines when providing a summary of your page in their search results. This description can be your first and only chance to sell the contents of your page.

If you do not fill it in then the default description is used.

Because of this, you should fill in the description for every article and the default one (Site->Global Settings->Site). Your descriptions should be a short paragraph that explains and promotes the content of the page it relates to.

See my Meta Description article for more details on how to write good descriptions.

You can also fill in the keywords. This is generally ignored by search engines so is less important. It can help if you are using Google AdSense and you are not getting a good choice of adverts.

Use Search Engine Friendly (SEF) URLs

Content management systems create dynamic websites, and because of this the URLs for pages often look horrible. This is not only bad for visitors, but it can make it harder for search engines to determine what are real pages on the website.

Joomla has several options to turn their default URLs into one which are friendlier on the eye and also friendlier for search engines.

If you're using Apache you can create friendlier URL's. To get things started you need to FTP to your websites main directory and rename the htaccess.txt file to .htaccess (note the removal of the extension and the addition of a dot before the name). This file contains commands which controls the mapping of friendly names to the unfriendly ones.

Login to your Joomla Administration website and select the Site->Global Configuration menu option.

Make sure your viewing the "Site" tab. On the right hand side you will see a group of options called "SEO Settings". This is where you can switch on the SEO friendly options.

Set "Search Engine Friendly URLs" to Yes. This will shorten your URLs and make them a lot better than they were.

If you're using Apache and have setup your .htaccess file as stated above, then set "Use Apache mod_rewrite" to Yes. This will turn your URLs in to very friendly ones, for both humans and search engines.

I personally prefer to keep the last "Add suffix to URLs" set to No. It makes the URLs longer and also harder to type. It can also make it more difficult to convert your website to another system at a later date.

Zip it up

Page load speed is not exactly SEO, but it does improve the users experience, and Google suggests zipping in its Google Search Console speed tips.

Joomla contains an option to compress pages, which can greatly increase the speed a page loads. This is one of the methods Google suggests to its Webmasters.

Go to Site->Global Configuration->Server and set the "GZIP Page Compression" option to Yes

Use SEO Modules & Components

Joomla has many SEO related extensions designed to help you make Joomla SEO friendly.