Simple Methods To Improve Your Joomla Website’s SEO
Do you have a beautifully designed Joomla website that looks and functions better than you could have ever imagined, but receives little to no visitors from Google? Are you trying to get your business noticed online, but only ever see 1 or 2 visitors per day through your Google Analytics account? If you answered yes to either of those questions, you are not alone. Because although we all love Joomla, the reality is - it is not built for SEO.
There is some good news though, because this article is going to shed some positive light on the situation. By the time you finish reading this article, you'll be able to get your Joomla website setup and ready to start attracting the maximum organic visitors from Google, Bing, Yahoo and more.
Optimising your Joomla website for the search engines is not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination, but it's something you are going to benefit from for many years to come.
You could hire a team of Joomla experts to implement the necessary changes to improve your websites SEO, but if you would rather do it yourself for free - many of these changes are very achievable for even the biggest technophobe.
So if you're ready to increase traffic to your website, generate more sales and leads and grow your business - you're going to want to pay close attention to the following steps.
Set Robots to “index, follow”
This may seem like an obvious one, but if you're robots setting in Joomla is incorrectly set to no index the entire website - you will literally get no traffic at all from Google.
This might just be the number one most important thing for your website's SEO if you have this set up wrong.
So go to System, Global Configuration and find the Robots option. Make sure this is set to “index, follow”.
Delete your meta keywords
The meta keywords tag used to be the go-to tag for SEO’s across the world. Can you believe SEO used to be as simple as putting your keywords into a tag? Well it was… but it got abused and so Google removed the functionality of the meta keywords tag completely.
It doesn't get you penalised in the search engines, and so many people argue that there is no harm in having it in there. However, any marketer that has ever perform keyword research, found an opportunity and ranked for it will tell you that you do not want to go telling your competitors all about the keyword you found.
Why? Well because if they knew about your awesome keyword that's bringing you in a ton of customers, they'd be stupid not to go after it too, right?
And leaving your keywords in the meta keyword tag literally allows your competitors to see exactly what keywords you are going after in a matter of seconds.
Don't give away your keywords. Go to System, Global Configuration and delete everything inside the “site meta keywords” field. Then simply click save.
This is of course a more preventative measure to take to prevent you from losing any traffic you may be having, but the results of not doing this could be quite devastating for your business.
Enable gzip compression
Another huge ranking Factor in the eyes of Google and the major search engines is your page load times. Google is checking how fast your website is loading, because now more than ever having a fast loading website is of the utmost importance.
Google has noticed what many marketers have noticed over the last few years, which is that most people are visiting websites on mobile devices. We are now in an age where you can use the internet and visit any website you want from anywhere you like. However, most 4G internet connections are still pretty slow, and if your website isn't very fast loading - visitors are going to hit that back button and find something else.
Google has always said that its priority is to deliver searchers with the best results they can, and one of the main things they are looking at is how fast your page loads.
One of the easiest ways you can speed up the load times of your Joomla website is to enable what's called gzip compression.
Gzip compression decreases the size of your websites files, which means it will load faster for your users.
To enable gzip compression go to System, Global Configuration, Server and set gzip page compression to yes.
Make your URLs friendly
One of the biggest faults in Joomla out the box is it's unfriendly URLs. We've all seen the studies on page URLs and rankings in Google, but for some reason, Joomla still decides to make the URLs unfriendly out of the box.
Luckily for us, there is a quick change you can make inside your Joomla settings to rectify this issue.
Visit System, Global Configuration and set search engine friendly URLs to true. You’ll also want to set use URL rewriting to true as well.
This makes your URLs reflect the menu item alias you set for the page. Giving you cleaner, seo-friendly and user-friendly URLs.
Google Search Console
If your website has not been submitted to the Google Search Console, stop everything you're doing and do it right now. The Google Search Console is one of the most underestimated tools that any webmaster needs to be utilising.
The search console will give you valuable information about how your pages are performing, what keywords you're getting clicks and impressions for and more. It also gives you the ability to get pages indexed in a matter of seconds!
Plus, if your website has any technical issues, the search console will pick up on many of them.
You also want to set up a sitemap and submit it to the Google Search Console by installing a plug-in like OS map.
Remove duplicate meta descriptions
Why oh why does Joomla give us a global meta description? That's a question I've been asking myself for many years. Google have directly stated that we should not set duplicate meta descriptions, and it is in fact better to have no meta description then it is to have a duplicate (you can watch what Matt Cutts from Google had to say about it by clicking here).
Your meta description needs to be written in the same way you would write an ad. Because your click through rate directly affects your positioning in Google. And so if you want to rank higher, you need to get more clicks.
A good rule of thumb is to remove any duplicate meta descriptions you have on your Joomla website, and write out unique, cleverly crafted meta descriptions that encourage high click through rates for the important pages.
Go to System, Global Configuration and remove anything out of the sitewide meta description field.
That will remove the majority of the duplicate meta descriptions your Joomla website will have generated, but you may also want to crawl your website through something like ahrefs or screaming frog to make sure there are no other duplicates.