One of the notable expansions in Joomla 1.6 is the expansion of easily edited meta-tags. Meta-keywords and meta-descriptions have always been available for editing in Joomla. In Joomla 1.5, you could enter meta information globally, in the Global Configuration (under the Site menu in the back end). You could then override this on an article-by-article basis, in the standard article editing screen.
New in Joomla 1.6, meta-tags can be set in multiple locations.
- As in Joomla 1.5, they can be set globally in Global Configuration or per article. Article settings override global settings.
- New in Joomla 1.6, meta-tags may also be set in the menu item and in categories. You’ll also find meta-tags in categories in components (the banner ad, contact, newsfeed, and weblinks components all have the option for meta-tags).
- Joomla meta-tags are not set by default. That means that when you set up the site, there are no meta-tags anywhere, not even “Joomla – the dynamic portal engine and content management system.” (It has long been a favorite class activity of mine to run this default meta-description through Google and see what sites emerge as matches.)
Now it gets hard. Which meta-tag setting wins?
The meta-tags appear to follow standard Joomla rules.
- If there are no meta-tags set elsewhere, the global meta-tags are used.
- Menu meta-tags override the global.
- Category meta-tags override the menu.
- Article meta-tags override the category.
My recommendation remains the same as it’s always been when working with meta-tags on your Joomla site.
- Always, always, without exception, set your global meta-tags. If you do nothing else with meta-tags anywhere else on your site, set them here anyway.
- If there are important individual articles for SEO on your website, set the meta-tags on an article-by-article basis. You do not need to set meta-tags for every article on your site. Not all articles are created equally!
- If you have a specific page that is not an article that requires SEO, use the menu meta-tags or the category meta-tags (depending on the type of content) to individually optimize that page. This option was not previously available in Joomla 1.5.
There are other notable SEO improvements for Joomla (such as easily configured HTML title tags, page titles, and article titles), which I’ll cover in another post.