How to search engine optimize your Joomla website in 10 easy steps.
Its been while since I have done much blogging about Joomla SEO, almost a year in fact. I thought I would do some research and see how the collective wisdom of the industry has changed with what matter to get a page search engine optimized (SEO). This isn’t exhaustive, for that you should check out my Complete guide to Joomla SEO or Alledia’s SEO guide. Use this top ten list if you already have a site ranked and want to see what you can implement to get your ranking higher. Much of the information here is based on two 2007 studies about ranking in Google from SEOmoz.org and Sistrix.
1. Keyword Use in Title Tag
and appear in the blue bar of your browser.The number one factor in ranking a page on search engines is the title tag. These are the words in the source of a page in
Choose the title of an article very carefully. Joomla will use the title of the article in the title tag (what appears in the blue bar). It will also be the text used in any insite links (see #5 and 6)
2. Anchor Text of Inbound Link
Anchor text is the text that appear underlined and in blue (unless itÂ’s been styled) for a link from one webpage to another.
Try to get some inbound links to your article using the keywords you want to be ranked for. Two ways are to do this are through online press services such as PRweb.com or simply by networking.
3. Global Link Popularity of Site (PageRank)
How many pages are linking to your page is called link popularity, or in Google, PageRank.
The more sites link to you, the better. Joomla is a CMS that helps you add content quickly. Create one quality content page per day. Quality content is the most important factor to getting bound links. For a site that will perform well, you eventually need 200 odd pages of content. This is the important point. QUICK SEO IS DEAD. The only way to perform well in SEO now is to have a rich content site.
4. Age of Site
When was the domain of the site registered?
Nothing you can do about this, but there is evidence that suggests that how long you have your domain registered for makes a difference (spam sites are not registered for long). Go and extend your domain registration for a couple of years.
5. Link Popularity within the Site
This is the number of links to the page from inside your own domain.
Because of #2, itÂ’s critical that you link to articles from within your site using the right anchor text. Make sure that you:
- Use the linked titles setting
- Make good used of the Most Read, Related Items and Latest News modules.
- Have a sitemap component linked to right from your homepage
6. Topical Relevance of Inbound Links and Popularity of Linking Site
ItÂ’s important that you get quality inbound links. This means they have to be from a site that is topically related to your, and one that has a high PageRank.
- ItÂ’s worth submitting once to directories (then forget about it).
- Type Â“related:www.yoursite.comÂ” into google and contact the top 20 returns for links.Link Popularity of Site in Topic Community
- Make sure you have a blog on your site, and network with others in your topical community. Make sure you frequently link to other blogs in your topical community.
7. Keyword Use in Body Text
The keyword density of the phrase you are optimizing for in the content of the page. Still important, the German study from Sistrix identified some interesting results.
- Targeted keywords in the first and last paragraphs. There is a simple trick here, write your quality content, and then use the tool of your choice to find the keyword density. THEN, take the top three words and add them to the meta keywords in the parameters part of the page (in Joomla admin). This is somewhat backwards for some maybe, it optimizes a page for what you actually wrote, rather than trying to write a page optimized for certain words (which I always find difficult).
- Keywords in H2-H6 headline tags seem to have an influence on the rankings while keywords in H1 headline tags seem to be getting less valuable. Modify the output of the core content component through a template override file.
- Using keywords in bold or strong tags – slight effect, same with img alt tags and filenames.
A couple of other factors at the bottom of measured/estimated influence.
8. File Size
The file size doesnÂ’t seem to influence the ranking of a web page on Google although smaller sites tend to have slightly higher rankings. Optimize those images!
9. Clean URL (Joomla SEF)
Although Keywords in the file name (URL) donÂ’t seem to have a positive effect (based on the German study), a URL with few parameters (?id=123, etc.) is important. Turn on Joomla SEF but donÂ‘t get anal about it.
10. Utilize Your Error Pages.
Too often companies forget about error pages (such as 404 errors). Error pages should always re-direct "lost" users to valuable, text-based pages. Placing text links to major site pages is an excellent practice. Visit www.cnet.com/error for an example of a well-utilized error page. To make the error page fit with the rest of the theme of your site, create an uncategorized article and then copy the source as viewed on a webpage, and put that into the 404 file.
WhatÂ’s not here?
YouÂ’ll see much of the discussion about SEO revolving around various SEF components. These components allow for advanced manipulation of URLÂ’s and meta tags. Neither of these was identified as a major factor in either SEO analysis. Turn on the default Joomla SEF, but I am not sure there is much evidence that its very influential after that.
- Last year sometime on my old blog (2005), I coined the phrase Human Readable URL’s or HUF to describe what people commonly refer to as Joomla SEF. I did this to point out that easily readable and memorable URL’s like www.compassdesigns.net/joomla-blog are much more important for humans than they are search engines. Joomla SEF fixes a major usability issue not a SEO one.
- Yes, I know that alot of people disagree with me on this one 😉