The content management system Joomla has a fairly well thought-out set of functions for search engine promotion. Sometimes there is an opinion that the standard Joomla add-on package for SEO is not suitable, but if we are talking about the current version of Joomla, then this is more of a myth.
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The system is supplied with open source code under the GNU GPL license, so Joomla sites can be easily modified for the required functionality. There is a Russian-speaking community of people developing on this platform. So there is no shortage of performers in order, for example, to create a site that is unique in design, at all. If you don’t want to spend time and other resources on your own development, the CMS has standard functions.
- The first version of Joomla was released in 2005, for such a solid period of existence, many plugins, templates (themes), including free ones, have already been released.
- The CMS control panel is considered inconvenient compared to WordPress, 1C-Bitrix, but you can get used to it (like any new interface).
- The platform itself and most of the add-ons are Russified, so it is easy to work with them even for beginners, without knowledge of English.
The SEO Settings section is available immediately after deploying the CMS, so it takes a little time to optimize Joomla. No need to spend it searching or developing plugins. The latter are installed exclusively to expand the functionality and change the standard capabilities. This scheme is used on almost all platforms, whether free or paid.
Section “General Settings” in Joomla
It is worth setting up parameters aimed at promoting a Joomla site in the TOP-10 search engines immediately after installing the CMS on the hosting. If you first start editing the theme, the pages will have time to get into the index of Yandex and Google in an “unoptimized” form. It will be difficult to clean out these “tails”, the search base updating is slow. Sometimes incorrect links remain in it even a month after the correction.
Common SEO settings in Joomla include:
- Enables the NC reference format. The mode activates the display of the page address in a more friendly way than “index.php? = …”.
- Disable URL suffix. Search engines don’t care if .html is appended to the end of each URL. But its presence is inconvenient for people.
- Selecting aliases in Unicode. It makes sense to include only on the Cyrillic domain, so that all links are written in Russian characters.
It is also worth activating the URL Redirection mode. The mode removes “index.php” from the addresses. When enabling it, be sure to install the mod_rewrite module and use the .htaccess file (you need to create it by renaming the htaccess.txt file). The scheme is applicable for Apache sites. If we are talking about optimization for SEO Joomla on Windows IIS 7, you need to rename the web.config.txt file to web.config. And only then enable URL redirection.
In fact, the basic settings are set for the “main mirror” of the site. It is recommended to choose it before the start of promotion, so that the search engines index from the first day will have the “correct” version. When changing after the start of indexing, there is a risk that several address variants will be present in the search. And some of them will lead to a 404 page. The optimizer only needs to configure redirection from WWW to non-WWW, with slash to no slash.
Enabling GZIP Content Compression
After setting up the CNC links and the main mirror, you should enable file compression. This will significantly speed up the exchange of data with the hosting, both in administration mode and when opening the site through a browser. The speed affects the ranking in the search, the decision to stay on it or go to a competitor’s resource. However, it should be borne in mind that page loading depends not only on the inclusion of compression, but also on other factors.
How to turn it on:
- Go to the “General settings” section of the “Server” menu.
- Toggle slider for GZIP page compression.
- Make sure that the active (green) word is “Yes”.
Enabling GZIP Content Compression
Compression within the Joomla platform works only on HTML code (JS and CSS are transmitted in their original, uncompressed form). Also the built-in function depends on the services provided by the hosting providers. If the tariff does not involve the use of GZIP algorithms, the site speed will not increase. In this case, it remains to switch to a different tariff, deploy the resource on a separate VPS server with manual nginx configuration, etc.
URL and Title settings
After activating the general settings, the optimization of the Joomla site is not yet complete. It is recommended to check the display of links before the next steps. Now they should be generated by the name of materials or menu items. But in the same blog, too long URLs will be obtained, exceeding the limit of 90 characters (optimal for CNC, so that the link fits in the address line completely, is not cut off due to the screen resolution).
How to optimize the formation of the page address:
- Go to the “Alias” section in the settings.
- Enter a nickname in the field in Latin characters.
- Leave it blank if you are satisfied with the name.
It is important to adhere to the rule that the same aliases for different pages are not allowed. It is recommended to use key phrases in them that are relevant to the content. It is better not to change it after indexing, because this will lead to the formation of “broken” links. The latter negatively affects the ranking in both search engines. Between individual words, it is better to put an en dash rather than an underscore, plus or other symbols.
The same applies to the title of the snippet – Title. By default in Joomla, it is rendered the same as the H1 header. But it is allowed to enter text manually. At the same time, in the “SEO Settings” section, it is possible to switch the placement of the site name at the beginning or at the end of the page title (the second option is used more often). This approach to the formation of Title increases brand awareness. True, only with a short name, the long one will not fit into the 60-character limit. The method of filling in the snippet is selected in accordance with the language of the page (Russian, English characters).
Meta data settings
In the “General Settings” tab there is a special section for promoting a site on Joomla. It contains windows for entering standard metadata. Information is entered into them simultaneously with the content of the page (text, images). In this case, SEO-tuned pages with an optimized title and a short description are included in the index.
Contents of the “Metadata settings” section:
- Meta Description tag for the site. It is part of the search snippet (page description, in addition to the Title).
- Meta Keywords tag. It is considered a vestige of the days when search engines looked into it for key phrases. Now it is rarely filled.
- Meta Robots tag. Has four options for values: noindex – no indexing, Nofollow – no clicks on links in their document, index – the page is indexed, follow – any links are allowed for use.
- Copyright. A brief description of the rights to the published material.
- Show meta tag Author. Whether or not to display author information when publishing.
The last parameter “Show Joomla version” does not affect website promotion or readability in any way. Therefore, usually no one touches him. The main field to work with is Description. Site traffic from search, visibility among competitors offering virtually the same services and goods depends on it, as well as on Title.
Internal linking of pages
The last step in setting up a Joomla site is internal linking of pages. It works almost automatically. To activate functions in the CMS there is a special module called “Related Materials”. It displays a list of links to pages that are linked to the current one. The relationship is determined by key phrases (the only meaning is to fill in the Keywords tag). Due to this approach, cross-linking is formed.
- You will have to enter key phrases manually for each material.
- The display of related articles will only work when you select the position where to display them.
- It is more profitable to organize linking with third-party services that allow you to fully automate the process (for example, seoLinks).
After entering the listed parameters, it remains to create a correct robots.txt file, XML map, optimize images, video content, and you can promote the site. Without them, service pages, including customer accounts, search results, filtering, and others, will start to appear in the index. It is recommended to block such “garbage”, only promoted URLs should remain in the search results.
Completion of optimization
Filling in robots.txt requires certain skills, because the content determines which pages will be included in the index and which will not. Due to an error, the entire site is sometimes blocked, although visually it works fine. At first, it is easier to create a standard file that prohibits indexing of service catalogs. And as you study statistics from the webmaster’s panel, add items to remove “random” links from the search.
The sitemap is generated by the online service Google XML Sitemap using ready-made robots.txt. Together, these files are located at the root of the site. It is easy to check the availability of the promoted pages through the webmaster’s panel Yandex or Google. They have built-in validation tools similar to search engine crawlers. When you connect sitemap.xml to Yandex.Webmaster or Google Search Console, indexing is faster, strictly according to the pages being promoted.
With regard to images, optimization looks like compressing files without losing quality. This is especially critical for images used in a template (theme). They are loaded when you open any page, starting from the main page, so they should have a minimum load on the server. It is also useful to consider the possibility of transcoding files into more modern formats – JPEG 2000, JPEG XR, WebP.
A selection of the best SEO extensions for CMS Joomla
If you do not want to do manual optimization, for example, to fill in snippets or remove duplicate pages, it is suggested to use one of the SEO extensions. Over a decade and a half of the existence of CMS Joomla, more than a hundred of them have been developed. Their functionality differs, as is the case with other platforms, so they are usually installed in kits based on real-world tasks.
The options are:
- Shack Open Graph. Adds Open Graph and Twitter Card microdata tags.
- JAmp. Creates a mobile, lightweight version of the site with high loading speed.
- SEO generator. Generates meta tags Title, Description, Keywords.
- Canonical Links All in One. Marks “main” pages as canonical.
- RSSeo. Monitors the position of the site for the specified requests, creates a sitemap.
Some plugins like sh404SEF provide integration with the Google Analytics analytics system and other third-party services.
Due to the use of such additions, it is easy to change the functionality without involving a programmer. But it should be borne in mind that sometimes there are incompatibility errors of individual modules. Because of them, there are failures up to a complete “collapse” of the site. Backups will help to resolve them – it is better to create them before installing any new modules or other major changes.