How to Improve Joomla SEO with Simple Tips?

A sizable chunk of ways can be done for your Joomla search engine optimization, and we’d like to share with you the best SEO practices making your Joomla powered website compete admirably in the SERPs (search engine result pages). Note that, this pocket guide will also walk you through a good number of tools provided by Joomla to speed up website performance and hence make your Joomla site fast enough for readers and search engine bots. Now, let’s move towards to the meat of this guide.

Tip 1 – Host Your Joomla Website on the Right Server Type

Before messing around with serial configurations, you’d better make sure that the current server is right for your Joomla based website. If you’re running on an IIS Windows server, the chances are that your Mac would end up at a swimming pool. On top of that, the rewrite modules that never seem to work well with the URL rewriting also remain to be a big concern for the Joomla installation and configuration.

To free yourself from endless headaches, it is advisable to host a Joomla site on an Apache web server with the mod_rewrite module implemented. Having tested and reviewed 100+ web hosts in the online market, we finally come out the Top 5 Joomla Hosting service providers that fully support the newest Apache server and the mentioned mod_rewrite module at a customer-friendly price.

Tip 2 – Enable Search Engine Friendly URLs and URL Rewriting

In most instances, the readable URLs are more likely to be indexed by search engines. To change a meaningless URL to a search-worthy URL, just log onto the Joomla administrator area and then enable the following two options within this “Global Configuration” area.

Enable Global Configuration Settings

  • Search Engine Friendly URLs – is where to remove all the randomly generated gobbledygook from the URL, and in the meantime, replace it with the existing menu item alias.
  • Use URL rewriting – is where to remove the /index.php/ suffix from your URL. Note that, this requires an Apache mod_rewrite module and the .htaccess file.

The rest options of the “SEO Settings” are left to your decision. However we strongly recommend you to contain website name in page titles especially when your site is included with a lot of content. If you are just starting out with Joomla and have no ideas about those remaining settings, just leave them to the defaults.

About SH404SEF Extension

Alternatively, you can choose to make use of a dedicated component named as sh404SEF to rewrite Joomla URL to SEF ((search engine friendly) format. The spotlight of this component is that you will be able to inspect which requests are now generating 404 errors so that any broken areas on a website can be fixed in no time.

Tip 3 – Optimize Meta Data

When hosting a website, site owners often ignore the importance of meta data. On the forum, some regard meta description to be of no importance any more. However, search engines make their judgement through the meta data with title, description, keywords included. There are some tips for you to optimize meta data. Titles should be as clear and concise as possible, containing keywords. At the same time, you should avoid the punishment from adding too many keywords in each post. Under normal circumstances, the number of keywords should be less than 7.

Tip 4 – Rename the htaccess.txt File to .htaccess

As is known, .htaccess is a configuration file that is normally located at the root of your server directory. By making configurations to the .htaccess file, you can not only rewrite URLs and create redirects on your website, but also add password protected directories and other technically-focused things to accelerate page loading speed.

Unlike most of the blogging platforms that take advantage of the .htaccess file, Joomla utilizes an htaccess.txt file that can hardly run a majority of web servers. To make website URLs a whole lot more attractive than ever, you also need to rename the default htaccess.txt file to .htaccess. Note that, the mentioned htaccess.txt file can be accessible from the Joomla installation directory.

Rename the .htaccess File

Tip 5 – Delete /images/ from the Robots.txt File

The importance of a picture in one article can never be overestimated as those images/pictures are known to the asset for all SEO projects that are bound to attract organic search results. However, Joomla has a disallow rule for your images directory, preventing search engines from indexing your own images folder. To grab a vast amount of traffic originally brought by images, you should remove the following /images/ from this robots.txt file.

Remove Images from Robots

Apart from that, there are several image optimization methods you can use to boost the overall SEO rankings. For the sake of succinctness, the top suggestions to optimize Joomla images are listed as below.

  • Make sure that your file names are as descriptive as possible. As the file name of one image can make a difference in the results page, you would have to make those file names descriptive and concise for the image and page content.
  • Make use of the most appropriate images for your content. To achieve this outcome, you would fully understand the page content and then search for a picture that best fits the description. Beware of the copyrights of the selected images and do not use an image with a watermark.
  • Make sure of the size of your embedded images. As the image size may directly impact the page loading time, you’d better ensure that the inserted images won’t overload your page. The best practice is to use images with small sizes, or better yet compress them into smaller sizes. By the way, you are able to download the optimized image versions via Google’s Page Speed tool.

Tip 6 – Install a Sitemap & Submit to Webmaster Tools

It’s great to create HTML or XML sitemaps for your website to tell Google about all webpages during the whole crawling process. Xmap is such an elegant and free Joomla extension that enables you to generate website maps with little effort. Pay attention that, this tool is built on the structure of your menu items, and you can get the newly-created HTML/XML sitemap indexed by Google through adding it to Webmaster Tools.

Tip 7 – Enable Gzip Compression Functionality

Usually, each response sent by the server may be compressed or gzipped before reaching your visitors. It’s not a bad idea to use Gzip compression to decrease the amount of data sending to your audiences. To do so, just go back to the “Global Configuration” section and then switch on the option labelled as “Gzip Page Compression” as follows. Please note that this method can only work when the mod_gzip has been installed on your own server. To check whether your Joomla website has been Gzipped, just visit this GZIP Compression page.

Enable Gzip Compression

Tip 8 – Leverage Your Browser Caching

Browser caching has close relations with the date that header expires, and in the meanwhile offers commands to modify your HTTP request. To instruct your web browser to cache some types of content and how long to cache the content, you can simply copy and paste the following configuration code to the end of the .htaccess file.

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

As a matter of course, the above code can be further tweaked according to your requirements. In another words, you can hold the cache for longer/shorter period and also define the type of content to cache.

Tip 9 – Use CDN Service

CDN can deliver website content across the Internet, which will improve your website speed to a large extent. Some web hosts are providing CDN service for free, for example, A2Hosting. Or, you can purchase the service with the permission of economic conditions. It is advisable to use CloudFlare CDN to load your website in a fast way.

Tip 10 – Recommendable SEO Components for Joomla SEO

Using third-party extensions is a great way to optimize your content for search engines. In addition to the above-mentioned plugins, here are some other highly-recommendable SEO plugins for your Joomla CMS. Details are shown as below:

  • Artio JoomSEF – that allows you to manage 301 redirects and stylize the custom 404 page. In cooperation with another plugin named as JoomFish, this SEO component gives full support for URL localization and translation across multilingual websites.
  • SEO Generator – that allows you to generate description and keywords for every article using text in the page content or title. The good thing of this plugin is that you can set personalized robots meta tags and even Google Webmaster verification keys.
  • SEO Simple – that allows you to apply the starting chunk of text in your page’s content as the value for the mentioned meta description. Note that, this Joomla extension can generate the meta data on the fly, and you are empowered to further configure the front page of your website’s title tag.

An attention should be paid that you should remove unnecessary extensions from your Joomla website. Some extensions will also open your website to some security risks. Before uninstalling these extensions, have a clear idea whether you are going to use them in the future.