Amid a sea of obsolete, incomplete or otherwise inaccurate information about SEO in Joomla, it’s about time someone shared a timely and thorough guide to hacking SEO using the Joomla CMS. If you’ve been looking for a guide to help you, look no further, below are the most important aspects of SEO:
1. Linked Title Activation
The first step is to ensure that your Linked Titles are activated, for your front page as well as the main category pages. In addition, your links should include your target keywords within the anchor text. This is the most important factor for SEO in Joomla, and should include inbound links from other sites as well as any internal links in your site architecture. The purpose of anchor text is to inform the search engine about the content of the target page.
If you are using Joomla 3, here are the steps you should tale to activate your Linked Titles:
- From the System menu, access the item Global Configuration
- This will direct you to a Component list on your left, from which you should select Article
- Under Linked Titles, toggle the choice to Yes
2. Keywords in article titles
Ensure that your article title includes one of your most sought-after keywords/phrases. Bear in mind also that the title of each article is what appears within SERPs as headlines, therefore it must be written in such a way as to attract readers and clicks. Do not simply stuff keywords into a headline that makes no sense. Use keyword research to identify your most highly sought-after keywords in order to ensure you make the most out of your headline.
3. Use keywords in category groupings
As you select your categories, find out whether there are any fitting keywords that can be included to describe that category’s content. Choose the most sought-after keywords.
4. Use keywords in menu links
If you’re making linked menu items, try to include a target keyword for that content.
5. Global site title optimization
Your global site title, or simply the site name, is what shows up within SERPs in order to distinguish your brand. If you’re not interested in branding, then you’re not interested in global titles. In such cases, your article titles are the ones that will show up in your SERPs. Remember to use as few characters as possible: the fewer the number of characters the greater the weight attributed to each keyword.
When using global titles for branding purposes, it will be shown at the end of your article title, after a hyphen. Make your article and global titles short and sweet. Below is a guide to changing your global titles in Joomla 3:
- From Menus, go to Main Menu (this is the one that has the hyperlink to your homepage)
- Select whichever menu item that leads to your start/home page to allow for editing
- Go to the Page Display tab
- Insert your global title in the Browser Page Title field
6. Use a HTML Sitemap
Html site maps are pages which contain links to all pages within your site. Not everyone needs to have this site map. Ideally, consider having this page if it is difficult to link every page within your site to your start page, or at least two clicks from your start page. Once you have the page, include a link to this page within the footer of your site template to ensure that the sitemap is accessible from all pages within the site.
7. Include an XML sitemap
You should submit your XML sitemap to Google, Bing and any other search engines you are looking to rank in. You can use OSMap which is a free Joomla extension that can help you to seamlessly create your XML or HTML sitemaps. You can find online resources detailing how to submit XML sitemaps to search engines.
8. Create content targeting few keywords
The best way is to target between one and three keywords for every piece of content. Use your most important keyword within the first paragraph near the beginning of the body content. Think about the kind of questions or needs your audience has and then strive to address these in details. As you write, find any other useful resources within your site that you can link to (internal linking). Avoid mentioning any keyword too often or unnaturally. You can confirm whether you are within limits by using a keyword density tool.
9. Link back to your start/home page
Ensure that your semantic markup is correctly applied as follows (if you’re using a template this will already be taken care of):
- <h1> denotes your main title. Every page should have a single H1 tag which should not be used around the page logo
- Use <h2> and <h3> tags to denote your subtitles at the relevant levels. Subtitles are crucial for any item of content. They make scanning and reading through content piece much easier, and improves user experience
- Use <p> to denote paragraphs, <q> to indicate short quotes, <cite> to indicate citations and <blockquote> for longer quotes
Finally, use lists in all their various forms. Users like them, therefore search engines like them.
11. Include ALT-Tags for all images
Ensure that you include the ALT-tag which gives an accurate description of images used in your site. These tags should include important keywords where possible. If the image has been linked, the Title-Attribute should be used, as well as for all the other links.
12. Check the robot.txt file
Ensure that your robot.txt file doesn’t block search engine crawlers from indexing your image folder – older versions of Joomla are set to prevent this by default. Image search is a huge traffic draw today, hence be sure that you’re not excluding yourself from the opportunities it presents. If you see this row in your robot.txt file, it should be deleted:
The main idea behind SEO is creating awareness around your site and content. Therefore, apart from these onsite optimization techniques, use all weapons in your arsenal to increase the reach of your content: social media is a great way to share content and draw traffic to your site. Network with influencers and bloggers within your niche and tell them to talk about your content. It’s not enough to have great content; people must know that it exists, because that’s how you build an audience for your site.
Vinod Jethwani is the CEO and Founder of Walnut Solutions and he helps web based companies with his SEO strategies to grown their revenue. He started his career in 2007 as a software developer with an Indian based MNC and later in 2011 became an entrepreneur. Follow him on Twitter @VinodJethwani or through his blog.