SEO for Joomla – Just getting Started

by on December 11, 2008

The following are simple tips to get you started on SEO work for a new Joomla site. They will take you all of 10 minutes to implement and could make a huge difference to your rankings.

1. Search Friendly URLs

Setting up SEF URLs for Joomla 1.5 is pretty straight forward, I am currently on version 1.5.7. You have a lot of options on how to do this. At the moment I am just using the core SEF feature that comes with the install. This is extremely easy to setup. Simply go into your Global Configuration and ensure the following are setup.

Now just ensure you have a proper .htaccess file stored in your root and this should work out of the box.

2. Creating unique meta tags

Currently it’s quite awkward to setup individual Meta tags for your different sections on Joomla. Initially you will have a generic description of Joomla included in each of your pages. If you view the page source of your index page you will see the following tags:

You control the generator tag in your Global Configurations as follows:

But I would advise you switch these off. What I did was insert a little script in the <head></head> tag as follows:

<?php $this->setGenerator(‘Your description here’); ?>
</head>

This will hardcode your meta description into your front page and also each of your category pages. You can control the meta descriptions of your articles quite easily by using the following fields in each article:

But there is still the problem of the duplicate meta descriptions for all your section/category pages. This is one I haven’t solved yet. I have tried the following plugins:

a. SEOMeta: It does create unique meta descriptions for your categories/articles etc. But it drags a lot of worthless text into them such as the date, author, pdf or email icons. I would rather suffer with duplicate meta descriptions for categories than have unreadable ones.

b. JoomSEO: Again this didn’t do a great job. The meta descriptions still took in a pile of useless information.

c. sh404SEF: This is the one I heard was the best. I have installed it but the version for Joomla1.5 is a bit screwy for me. I am missing the option to turn on the URL rewrites with .htaccess. So for me this plugin doesn’t work.

I am sure I will get this working and will update with a new post once I have. Ok I am going to split setting your site up with Google Analytics and Webmaster tools into another post.

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