SEO is a term that most business owners avoid like the “plague.” They just don’t understand it; they don’t know what Google’s algorithms are; they have heard of “keywords” perhaps, but little more. The smart ones realize that they need help and employ the services of SEO specialists who have become experts, who know what “clues” Google looks for in determining the value and usability of a website or blog posts to visitors. These “experts” know that value can come from content but also several other elements, such things as helpful URL’s, sitemaps, meta tags and more.
Content Management Systems
There are three major content management systems (CMS) in use today – WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. By far, WordPress has been the “favored child” because of the vast number of plugins that support SEO, probably the most common being Yoast. All of these plugins have eased the “pain” for those who really don’t understand SEO – tools that will do it for them. And while Google considers high-level content as a favorite in its page ranking, there are several other ways to increase a page rank too. These come in the form of apps and plugins, and Joomla developers have hopped onto these with some powerful plugins.
Meta-tags are critical SEO elements. They tell Google what is contained on a page. If the meta-tag looks valuable to Google, then that will impact page rank. This plugin will automatically generate a meta description from your first few sentences of text, as soon as your page is loaded. If you write really engaging first sentences – sentences that directly relate to what is on the page – this plugin will work well for you. You also have options to alter the meta tag that SEOSimple generates, but for those who use their first chunk of text to capture a reader, this “on the fly” generation is pretty cool.
Having a sitemap is another good SEO tactic. The most popular one was Xmap; however, its developer abandoned it, and its features have all been incorporated into OSmap, developed by Joomlashack. It does everything that Xmap once did, creating both HTML and XML sitemaps. It’s easy to download and install from the Joomlashack site, and then install it through your Extension Manager. (if you had the Xmap extension, make sure to uninstall it first). Once installed, this plugin will, by default, create a sitemap based on your menu. You can also de-select menu items you don’t want to be included.
You can also create great image sitemaps with this tool if you use the pro version. If images are important to your site, you should have an image sitemap. This will also help images to be included in the Google Image Search.
URL’s need to be search engine friendly (SEF). This cool extension will rewrite your URL’s so that they are clearer to users and to search engines. When users are comfortable with your URL’s, actually, so is Google. And keeping Google “comfortable” with your site means higher page rankings. This particular extension also auto-generate meta tags, so if you don’t have SEOSimple, this is a great alternative.
Another great feature of this plugin? If you have a site with an international reach, and you have multilingual sites, JoomSEF will generate localized, search engine friendly URL’s for those sites as well (in conjunction with JoomFish).
Some important features of JoomSEF include the following:
- Automatically re-writes original Joomla URL’s
- Enhances site SEO rating
- Manages and auto-generate meta tags
- Provides support for UTF-8 URL’s and URL translations with JoomFish
- Helps in the handling of 301 re-directs
- Has a Google Analytics connector
This has been an extremely popular Joomla extension for a long period of time. The plugin is pretty comprehensive and does what many of the other extensions mentioned here already do as well as much more. Probably the most important feature is the ability to track social sharing and to utilize Google analytics through Joomla’s back end development. Among its many features include:
- URL rewriting
- Automatic 404 redirect to the most relevant pages
- Support for Twitter Cards
- Google Tags support manager
- Ability to add social media buttons anywhere on your site
- Automatically removes duplicate URL’s
- Uses Project Honey Pot to protect forms and contact pages from spam
- Controls access from suspicious domains (uses IP blacklisting)
- Provides standard install of lots of third-party SEF plugins
This is an all-encompassing plugin for those who are new to this whole SEO management and need easy and automatic methods for improving SEO without having to go to the backend. This is a relatively new plugin and has not yet been fully rated by Joomla users. However, it is quite possible that this may be the answer to WordPress Yoast. The extension offers the following:
- A Backlink Checker
- Keyword Suggestions
- Calculation of keyword density (2 – 5% please)
- Keyword Position
- Social Analytics
- A Page-rank and Plagiarism Checker
- An SEO Analyzer
Content – this is the biggest SEO enhancement that any site can employ. Google continually crawls sites for new and valuable content. For this reason, sites have blogs. And Those blogs must continually be updated with new content. Suppose, for example, that you have an e-commerce site that creates resumes and CV. You will want a blog with posts that provide the newest trends in these documents or that perhaps features an IT on your team. It is easy to run out of topics to keep your blog current, and that is where Article-Generator comes in.
As a Joomla extension, this tool will automatically generate new articles for you, based on feed sources and/or keywords you provide. And you have the ability to control the images that might be used, along with many other elements. By default, there are backlinks included to the developer, but these can be removed with a click, and you can add your own backlinks to other pages on your site or to related past posts. Among Joomla users, this extension, although a bit pricey, has a 100% rating in functionality, ease of use, and support.
Do Your Research
If you check the Joomla Directory of Extensions, you will find virtually hundreds of plugins that are helpful for SEO strategies. Many have free basic versions, but the pro versions are preferable for their enhancements. Some are for “newbies” in SEO, and some require significant understanding of back-end development. Read the reviews and ratings carefully, so that when you choose those SEO extensions to download (and pay for), you are selecting those that match your level of expertise.
This article is written by Nelma Lumme. She is a freelance content writer for GetAcademicHelp.com. Originally from Finland, she now lives in Chicago, IL. Nelma studied sociology at the University of Tampere, and now she helps people with career and motivation questions, providing useful tips through her articles. Her topics of interest cover mostly psychology, career development, education, self-improvement, and relationships. Follow her: Facebook | Twitter | Google+.