Search engine optimization is has become so prevalent that it can’t be considered a matter of choice anymore. With the number of websites indexed by search giants rapidly growing, the competition to have your website at the top of the search results has grown fiercer. Bringing in traffic, specifically, unique visitors who are looking precisely for the products and services you are offering can only be accomplished by optimizing your web page. Couple that with analytics and you’ll see the first real results in a matter of few months.
Unlike similar content management systems and web tools available out there, Joomla has a set of tools designed specifically for website optimization. Bear in mind that this is not something that can be accomplished and mastered overnight and the optimization itself can prove itself to be somewhat expensive. This is why it may be a good choice to consult a professional before diving head first into search engine optimization, some practices are easy to handle, but some will require first-hand knowledge and experience on the subject.
1. Choosing the right type of server
Before you start fiddling around the serial configurations, check if the server you’re using is suitable for hosting a Joomla-based website. Using a Mac on an IIS Windows server can only result in lost equipment and the fear that the rewrite modules just won’t work well with the URL rewriting becomes a reality when installing and configuring Joomla. This is why choosing the right server is so important and Joomla generally works best on an Apache webserver with a mod_rewrite module integrated beforehand.
2. Sitemap installation
Sitemaps are used by to update search engines whenever you add new content to your website. The most important thing about sitemaps is to keep them up to date with your website structure, because and old sitemap cannot truthfully represent the current organization of your menu items. One of the best and the simplest way of creating a sitemap is to use an extension called XMap. This tool takes only second to create an XML map in a matter of seconds. All there is to do is to submit it to Google’s and Bing’s search consoles.
3. Submitting to search engine consoles
Submitting the sitemap you generated previously to Bing and Google webmasters, or search consoles is a very useful practice. This allows you to monitor the changes in your search engine optimization practices and provides you with invaluable information regarding your website, such as links, search queries, keywords and even crawl errors. Using these services provided by search engines, in conjunction with good SEO practices guarantees that your website will be indexed properly and you don’t lose any potential visitors.
4. Optimizing texts and images
This is done best using Joomla’s content management interface by adding specific META descriptions to all of your pages. Most people tend to forget this, but making a habit out of it can really make a big impact when it comes to placing your website at the top of the search results page. The descriptions themselves should not be longer than 130 characters. Furthermore, remember no never use the default image title and to add a keyword-abundant alternative short description with a well thought out title instead. Avoid using duplicate META tags as they can have a negative effect on the optimization and overall ranking of the individual web pages.
5. Creating SEO-friendly URLs
More often than not, search engines are more likely to index clearly readable URLs. Unindexed URLs simply won’t show in the results where the indexed ones get the chance of being put in the top of the search results page. Changing the old URL into a search engine friendly one is a fairly simple task once you know how to. All you need to do is log into Joomla’s administration panel, go into Global Configuration area and enable the following:
– User URL Rewriting
– Search Engine Friendly URLs
The first option addresses the issue of removing the /index.php/ part of the URL. This action requires using the .htaccess file and the mod_rewrite module used in Apache. The second option is responsible for removing the random characters generated in the URL and replacing them with the menu item list set up by the user. If you have just started using it, the experts strongly recommend leaving the rest of the options in the Global Configuration area on default settings.
It’s worth mentioning that no SEO job is complete without getting links from web pages that are in the same, or at least similar industry profession as you. Developing a good link building strategy allows your site to be picked up by search engines and being ranked at the top of the search results page. Additionally, make sure to provide the users with relevant content they could comment on and share with their friends. No matter how good your website may be optimized, nothing beats well-thought out content.
Author bio: John Stone is a Joomla developer on Nirmal.com.au. Through years of experience as a, he became a devout believer in the notion that form should always follow function and that developing the ability to think outside of the box is a prerequisite of being a successful entrepreneur.”