Joomla’s inherent structure is unique and very different from wordpress or any other CMS. The use of graphics to display content on a Joomla website makes its optimization an uphill task.
1. Design a visually appealing and engaging website
The golden rule of SEOing any website is a STRONG visual appeal. It can be regarded as the most important aspect of your website. An interesting and enticing webpage can enhance user experience (UX) exceptionally. Some suggestions:
- Use predesigned Joomla template and themes. Designing a website from scratch can prove to be a tiring activity. A customizable template can ease your burden by providing extreme flexibility with amazing quality.
- Keep the boring text brief. Keep your content to the point, succinct and attractive. Embed videos and infographics to get your point across.
- DO NOT display text in form of images. It is not selectable, not searchable, not zoomable, not accessible, and not friendly for high-DPI devices. Alternatively Use CSS3 effects and Webfonts in place of unnecessary images.
- Complexity drives customers away. Have a single focus and make it easy for your user to take desired action. Use CTA and instructional videos.
- Usability and compatibility- Your website must be user-friendly and compatible to run on different platforms. Use Responsive Web Design (RWD) to cater to the mobile and tablet users.
2. Plugins- Expand the functionality of your website
It is a small but significant block of code that manipulates a default Joomla function before displaying on the page. Plugins provide functions which are associated with trigger events. The Joomla plugin architecture follows the Observer Design Pattern which calls all plugins related to a particular event in case the event is triggered.
Some most widely used Joomla plugins are:
- Akeeba backup- Its purpose is simple and important: Create a site backup that can be restored on any Joomla capable server. It can also be used for site transfers or deploying sites on your client’s servers.
- Breezing Forms- A flexible an agile tool to create forms for your Joomla website. Its application ranges from a simple contact form to a full fledged form app.
- Google Maps by Reumer- Plugin for displaying embedded Google Maps within the content with pin location for specific addresses.
- AcyMailing Starter- An extension for Newsletter and email marketing for Joomla. Capable of managing unlimited number of subscribers.
- Event booking- An event registration extension for Joomla. Allows to create free and paid events, alongwith the payment processing via online payment gateway.
3. Optimize your web page for faster loading
The pain you had to go through to get your website designed is miniscule as compared to the post designing activities. This is where the real Search Engine Optimization begins:
- Host from a good Server- DO NOT go for a home based or cheap hosting service. Get a fast, reliable and Joomla friendly server.
- Compress and optimize your high quality images using online/offline tools. Your high quality images might rat least have a size of 5-6 MB. You need to compress the size to at least few hundred KB.
- Image optimization- Choose the correct format (vector/razor) to display images. Optimize accordingly using SVG in XML and Gzip encoding for vector images. Reduce the “bit-depth” of the image from 8 bits per channel to a smaller color palette for raster images.
- Compress images using lossy or lossless format. Lossy eliminates some pixel data and hence has smaller file size and lossless compresses the pixel data. Select the appropriate image referring the chart below.
- Keep your links updated- It disastrous for the SEO of a website if it has broken links to dead pages or shows 404 error.
4- Submit sitemap to Google and Bing Webmasters
Creating a sitemap makes it easy for search engines to recognize and organize the structure of your website displayed in its search results.
You can create a sitemap using online tools, a dedicated offline application or a plug-in.
After creating the sitemap you need to submit it in Google Search Console (formerly webmasters tools) and Bing webmasters.
You need to verify your website and then upload a sitemap of your website or “property”
After submission Google sends its bots to crawl through your website page after page.
5- Making URLs Search Engine Friendly (SEF)
Simple tweaks in your Joomla website’s URLs can work wonders for SEO. Joomla’s old standard URL was not very SEO friendly. Bots check URLs in a human-like manner and they must be displayed in the same way.
By enabling SEF URLs in Joomla 3 and above, every internal link gets stuffed with an “index.php/” after the main domain. For instance http://randomsite.com/INDEX.PHP/randomlink/.
Get rid of that string, through FTP or File manager (in cPanel).
Rename htaccess.txt into .htaccess - find this file in public_html/ folder depending on your server.
- Edit .htaccess with a code editor
- Look for the line below:
# RewriteBase /
- Remove "#" and save changes:
Refresh your front-end. Your URLs must not include index.php/ now.