Before we get started with the "how to", you must first install a component called SH404SEF created by Anything Digital. SH404SEF will help you manage your on-site SEO all in one place in a very user friendly manner and it will properly format your URL's so they go from looking like this:
Search Engine Friendly (SEF) URL's (as pictured above) are preferred and ranked better than a non-SEF URL (the top picture).
Many consider this component both a blessing and curse in disguise because it has amazing functionality in terms of on-site optimization but there can be many little bugs and conflicts that can pop up while installing and using SH404SEF and if you're not familiar with the component and how it works, you may have a few headaches along the way. Never the less, once you feel comfortable with it, it does some amazing things and is well worth the small investment to buy the component.
For smaller websites, installing SH404SEF should be fairly easy if you follow their installation instructions. For larger websites, I would suggest creating a duplicate development website and try installing it first there to see if there are any conflicts with other components. If you are not sure how to install SH404SEF or run into conflicts, you can hire a Joomla web development agency (like Savvy Panda) to help with getting it setup.
Ok, now that you have installed SH404SEF we're all ready to dive in on how to do basic on-page SEO optimization on your Joomla website.
Tip #1: Home Page Meta Description and Title
Go into SH404SEF URL manager and in the top right click the "home page meta". The two important fields to fill out are the Page title and description tag. The other fields are no longer really used in ranking search engine results.
Will look like this on Google search engine results
It is critical that you do not stuff keywords anywhere on your website, including in your titles and descriptions. Google recently launched a new update called "Penguin" which actually give you negative SEO scores for places that have a ton of keywords stuffed into it. To learn more about the "Penguin" update and how to properly write for it, please read my other blog: "Google Penguin Update: What is it & How it Could Affect You"
Tip #2: In Article and Blog Meta Descriptions
Next go through all your content manager content and any blog content and completely fill out the meta description field. Remember, the meta description is what is the 155 character text that is shown under each search engine result. So although it's important to have your keyword you want to rank for in the description, it's more important to make the description user friendly and get them excited to learn more.
Tip #3: In Articles and Blog Image Alt Text and Link Anchor Tags
After your meta description information is filled out in an article, the next step will be to go though and fill out the image alt text and link anchor tags for every image and link that is on your website.
The image alt text is a text which describes what the image is about to the search engines. It's important to keep the description accurate to what the image is about and not a jumbled mess of keywords.
Image Alt Text
A link anchor tag again tells the search engine a little more about the page that you're linking to. After the Google "Penguin" update launched, it is now extremely important to have a wide variety of link anchor text with a focus on branded keywords. You can learn more about how to properly divide up your internal and external link anchor text in my blog: "Key Factors of Local SEO: What You Need to Know"
Link anchor text
Tip #4: Your Footer and Footer Menu
It's very important to properly structure your footer so it maximizes the SEO benefit while also being user friendly. The footer should contain some very key things that will help with your on-site SEO.
- Link to Important Pages: You may not necessarily want to include your entire menu structure in the footer. Instead, I would suggest selecting 4-6 of your top pages you'd like to promote and link to them.
Google looks a links on a page to see what the website values as important content. However, the more links, the more "diluted" Google sees the content on the website. Focusing in on 4-6 key pages will tell Google those are really important pages to index.
- Include Business Citation: In the footer include what we call a NAP: Business Name, Address and Phone Number. Additionally, have the address follow linked to your Google+ Local Page URL and
Tip #5: Internal Follow vs No-Follow Linking
When a link gets created (internal or external) and pointed to "page A" on your website, the page linking to "page A" is sending what we in the SEO community call "Link Juice". With every link "Page A" will build up "Link Juice", however, every link that is on "page A" will pull link juice away from page A.
So it is important that you become very strategic when linking to other parts of your website and to other people's website. When linking to other parts of your website, make sure to use follow links to link to the most important parts of your website.
How to add a "no-follow" rel tag in Joomla
You can leverage no-follow links when linking to larger external websites such as facebook, twitter, google, Wikipedia, etc. If you are linking to a piece of external content, a tool, an infographic, another business, etc. be courteous and make it a follow link because there's a chance they will link back to you in the future.
Tip #6: Check for 404 Errors
After you have SH404SEF running on your site for a few weeks, go into their 404 requests manager area and view any 404 errors that are happening. For those of you who are not familiar, a 404 error happens when someone clicks on a link or visits a page that is no longer available. It's extremely important to fix these errors so people can find the content they want to view.
Managing 404 errors in Joomla
In the 404 manager, sort the errors by highest number of hits and start working though the errors, linking them to the proper page. To correct them, click the "Enter a Redirect URL" and
These are just a number of the many things you can do to help with on-page SEO optimization on your Joomla website. If you would like to learn more about how furture optimize your website for SEO, I would highly recommend watching our free webinar: "Supercharging Your Local SEO: The Complete Guide".