11 easy Step to Improve SEO of Joomla 11

8 mn read

1. Make sure you are using the correct type of server

serversIt is not for nothing that it is in first place.

If you’re using an IIS (Windows) server to host your Joomla site, you’re going to be so frustrated that your Mac may end up at the bottom of a swimming pool (and it just might be a true story).

The reason I’m saying this is because URL rewrite never seems to work well with any rewrite modules that IIS can use. Rewrite modules are also a nightmare to set up if you are using shared hosting. I also had occasionally problems with installing and configuring Joomla on an IIS server.

For convenience, I would simply recommend (to avoid endless headaches) to host your Joomla site on an Apache server with the mod_rewrite module installed. Your nerves and all of your SEO will thank you.

2. Rename htaccess.txt to .htaccess

Before setting up URL rewriting to make them much more attractive than they are initially, you will need to rename the htaccess.txt file to .htaccess , which is the version used by Joomla and mod_rewrite .

Reminder : You read correctly, the .htaccess file has nothing before the extension in its name. If you try to change the file name locally, it may be refused for lack of file name before the extension (especially on Windows). For this reason, rename the htaccess.txt file to .htaccess directly on your server from your FTP client (like FileZilla or WinSCP for example).

3. Enable SEF URLs and URL Rewrite

In the general configuration of your Joomla, set the parameters ” URL Rewriting clear (SEF) ” ( Search Engine Friendly URLs ) and ” Rewriting the ‘flight’ URL ‘( Use URL rewriting ) YES.

Clear URL Rewrite (SEF) removes all dynamically generated gibberish from your URL and replaces it with the alias of the menu item you are using on the page.

On-the-fly rewriting of URLs removes /index.php/ from the URL. For this to work, mod_rewrite must be enabled and the .htaccess file must be present.

The other settings are at your discretion. I tend to leave the other three settings as they are. You can include your site name in your page titles, especially if the site has a lot of content. Personally, I like to manage everything myself in detail and create each title separately most of the time.

4. Remove “/ images /” from your robots.txt file

This is something that has always left me confused about Joomla. In the robots.txt file generated automatically during installation, Joomla applies the disallow rule to the / images / directory, which tells search engines not to search or index your images folder.

As you may know, images can generate a significant portion of your traffic from Google if you’ve optimized them properly.

Optimizing your images won’t do you any good if you tell Google to ignore your images directory, so I strongly recommend that you remove the following line from your robots.txt file:

/ images /

5. Install JCE Editor

Not only is JCE Editor free, but it offers a whole bunch of really great features that will help you build and maintain your site.

The two things I like most about JCE is that you can tell it not to modify the code you create with the editor (a feature of the standard Joomla editor at times annoying) and the fact that it offers a very good interface for adding images, with Alt tags and image dimensions.

It is a very good Joomla component, I highly recommend you to use it.

6. Use alt tags and image dimensions

JCE logoThis tip is really not specific to Joomla, but it is important. The JCE editor allows you to add alt text to describe your image as well as add dimensions directly in the image upload tool.

In case you didn’t know, adding dimensions to your images allows the browser to allocate “space” of the correct dimenson to your page even before the image itself is uploaded. So when the image is finally downloaded, the browser just has to “fill” the allocated space and does not need to “move” nearby items to “make room” for it. This therefore slightly improves the display time of your page.

JCE dim alt

7. Manage your Meta data

Although the meta keywords tags are quite redundant, the meta description and title tags are quite important.

<title> Page title </title>
<meta name = "description" content = "description of the page" />

I recently discovered a very useful component called SEO Boss . The only feature I really use is the meta tag manager, but I found it to be extremely handy.

To edit your Joomla site metadata, you need to navigate through each item / item menu and edit descriptions and page titles manually. With SEO Boss, you will find in a single screen the possibility to modify all your meta data directly in this interface.

SEO Boss meta tag manager

The only downside of SEO Boss is that it is not always fully compatible with all of your installed components, and in this case, you will have to intervene manually through the interface of the affected components. For everything else, he’s great!

8. Choose www. or not-www. and redirect to each other

Joomla, unlike WordPress, does not automatically redirect your site to its www version. or in non-www. This obviously poses a duplicate content issue that you need to fix manually through your .htaccess file .

To redirect from non-www. to www. add the following code to your .htaccess file:

RewriteEngine On 
RewriteCond% {HTTP_HOST}! ^ Www \. 
RewriteRule ^ (. *) $ Http: //www.% {HTTP_HOST} / $ 1 [R = 301, L]

Conversely, you can redirect from www. to non-www. adding, instead, this code:

RewriteEngine On 
RewriteCond% {HTTP_HOST} www.yoursite.com 
RewriteRule (. *) Http://yoursite.com/$1 [R = 301, L]

Concretely, by doing this, your site will automatically redirect visits to www.yoursite.com/pageXX towards your site.com/pageXX (or vice versa, depending on the choice made above). The pages are strictly identical, but this will prevent search engines like Google from indexing the same page twice with 2 different URLs, which can have negative impacts on the positioning of your site in search results.

9. Be consistent with your internal links

Regarding websites designed from CMS (especially Joomla), content duplication can become a real problem. The solution is to be consistent in your internal links.

What I mean is that you should always make your links the same way: always to the www version. for example (or not-www., depending on what you have chosen), always with a trailing slash or without a trailing slash, with an .html suffix or without a suffix, etc. Be consistent never to link to multiple versions of the same page.

Remember, this is not duplicate content if there is no link for Google to find it.

You can’t really check how others are linking to you, but you can lead by example. If people link to your site incorrectly, you can add more 301 redirect rules to the correct links.

10. Speed ​​up your website

speed up your websiteIt is clear that Joomla does not handle page speed issues very well natively.

The good news is you can speed things up significantly by doing three things:

  • Exploit browser cache
  • Allow Gzip compression
  • Compress your images

10.1. Exploit browser cache

Without going into too much detail, you should use cache rules to tell web browsers to cache certain types of content found on your site, and how long to keep them in the cache. I recommend adding the following code to the end of your .htaccess file :

ExpiresActive On 
ExpiresByType text / html "access plus 1 seconds" 
ExpiresByType image / gif "access plus 1 years" 
ExpiresByType image / jpeg "access plus 1 months" 
ExpiresByType image / png "access plus 1 months" 
ExpiresByType text / css "access plus 1 months " 
ExpiresByType text / javascript" access plus 1 months " 
ExpiresByType application / x-javascript" access plus 1 months " 
ExpiresByType image / ico" access plus 1 months "

You can, of course, change the code if your content needs to be cached for shorter or longer periods, depending on your preference, or if you prefer not to cache certain types of content.

10.2. Activate Gzip

A great way to improve load times is to use Gzip to compress your code. I tend to only activate it after my site is finished, but it’s generally always a good idea to use it.

To activate Gzip via Joomla, simply go to Configuration> Server, and set the “GZIP compression” option to “Yes”.

Note: this will only work if mod_gzip is installed on your server.

Tip : to check that your mod_gzip is properly installed on your server, you can use the phpinfo () function. To do this, create a file named for example phpinfo.php at the root of your site, and paste the following code inside it:

phpinfo (); 

Save and go to www.yoursite.com/phpinfo.php from your web browser. The page that appears gives you a lot of information on the capacities of your accommodation. It is then very easy to check that the mod_gzip module is present and activated (search for “gzip compression” for example).

Important: for security reasons, delete this file from your hosting as soon as you have finished your verification, because it could give valuable information to a possible hacker.

Depending on your host, you may also be able to enable server compression through your hosting control panel. I recommend contacting your host if you encounter any difficulty at this level.

When you have enabled Gzip compression, you can verify that everything works on a site like Check GZIP compression .

10.3. Optimize your images

Optimizing images is an important thing that any web designer should make sure of whether you are using Joomla or not. How many times have I come across 350kb images that could easily be scaled down to 25kb. If you are not a Photoshop expert, you can download optimized versions of your images using the Google Page Speed tool .

With the above methods and other minor tweaks, we usually get a Google Page Speed ​​score of 95 or more and I can honestly state that I find that a lot of our Joomla sites actually perform better than WordPress sites. similar that we have developed.

11. Install Xmap

Xmap is simply the best sitemap component I’ve found for Joomla so far!

It transparently generates XML and HTML sitemaps for your website and there are many plugins for other Joomla components like Virtuemart and sh404sef .

Just go to Component> Xmap and create a new sitemap. Choose the menu options you want to include, set the priorities, click “Save” and voila! You can then create a menu item for your HTML sitemap and grab your XML sitemap link to add it to Google Search Console .

12. BONUS: SEO components to make your life easier

I have found that with Joomla 2.5 and later, SEO is much easier to implement without having to install external plugins. In case you want some extra control over your SEO settings, here are two of my favorite SEO components for Joomla:

  • Sh404sef : a great component for Joomla that lets you do a lot more than SEO. This is also the one that I find a little easier to configure.
  • Artio JoomSEF : JoomSEF is similar to sh404SEF , but offers a free version if you want to test it first. It’s probably not quite as powerful as sh404sef, and the last time I tried it it was a bit of a hassle to set up. That said, it’s still a powerful tool and it gives you a lot more control over your SEO if that’s what you need.

By following the steps above, I have found that we are able to get our Joomla sites higher in their rankings. There is always the option of fine-tuning other tweaks that may or may not help you, but this is already a good start, especially if you are new to Joomla.

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