Get the Best of Your Joomla Website – Onsite SEO Tips

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Being one of the most popular content management systems in the world, Joomla is used by more than 30 million website owners. What makes Joomla so popular is its features for communities. If you are such website owner, you should consider making your website more attractive for search engines.

Although, there are many extensions for search engine optimization, I just want to share the best among those I had tried and some helpful information about them. In this way, I hope to save you some time and help with the overall process.

The Very Basics

Even if you do not have a clue what SEO is, you’ve probably already heard or read somewhere about its basics. They usually include properly optimized body content, page titles and META descriptions.

To start with, I would like to mention that in order to avoid keyword stuffing do not place your main keyword on the particular page more than 15 times. This includes the headings, the title, the description and the body of the page.

Now, it is time to mention the first module to help you with this task – SEO Generator. This simple module will allow you to automatically create descriptions for all pages on your website by just pulling it from the content. The best thing is that this plugin analyses the keyword density of your page and based on this makes the tags for all of them. You also have 6 different layouts for page titles, and you can easily choose the one you like most. The plugin is available for free download here.

SEO Friendly Redirection

Depending on what server you’re using to host your Joomla website, there are different ways to solve the most common SEO issue – www to non www or vice versa redirection. Here is how to do it depending on whether you are using IIS or Apache:

  • IIS 7+ Redirection – To make the redirected work you will need to have URL Rewrite module installed and use the following code to make it work:

<rule name=”Redirect to WWW” stopProcessing=”true”>
<match url=”.*” />
<add input=”{HTTP_HOST}” pattern=”^$” />
<action type=”Redirect” url=”http://www.{R:0}” redirectType=”Permanent” />

You can check out the source here to learn how to solve Canonicalization and implement SEO friendly URLS on your web server.

  • Apache For Apache web servers to make those important redirects is a lot easier. However, before making any changes in your .htaccess file, make sure you have the original version saved first.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^
RewriteRule (.*)$1 [R=301,L]

After implementing those basic redirects, you can install Source Redirect Plugin. With this plugin, you’ll be able to implement more complicated redirects all over your website. Some such examples are from desktop to mobile versions or displaying different language versions based on the user’s location. If all this is not enough to make you choose this module, check out its page at Joomla and learn more about its other features.

Sitemap, Headings, SEO Friendly URLs and More

After fixing the basic onsite SEO issues on your website, you are probably eager to get started with the advanced stuff. I do not want to keep you waiting, so here is the next module I recommend using – SH404SEF.

Although, this module first started as a free one, today you can get it for 35$ per year. This might seem a lot to spend, but with its help, you’ll be able to improve a large majority of SEO factors, which are likely to influence your positions on Google. Some of the features of the SH404SEF are:

  • SEO friendly URLs
  • Removed duplicate URLs
  • Automatically creates URLs for your content
  • Allows you to access Google Analytics from your Joomla administrative backend
  • Ability to insert H1 Tags into the Joomla content-heading and component-heading headings

You can still download some older versions of the module free online, so if you are not using the latest version of Joomla you might avoid paying for it. Furthermore, for Google analytics there are plenty of other modules to choose from such as the Google Analytics Tracking Module and J!Analytics.

Now it seems that the only thing left to do is to implement a sitemap on your website. That way you will ensure that Google is indexing your website properly. The modules I recommend are XMap and JM Sitemap, since they work with all versions of Joomla. With both modules, you’ll be able to exclude particular pages from your sitemap, which is important for websites that sell goods or allow user registration.

Today, it’s also very important to add ALT tags to all images on your website. Since the search engines are unable to read images, it is a great idea to provide them with keyword rich descriptions. To achieve that in Joomla, you can try iJoomla SEO. Despite the fact that it can be used as a replacement of the SEO Generator, you can automatically add ALT tags to all existing images on your website with just a couple of clicks.

Finally, you should create a robot.txt file and place it in your root folder. Depending on what you want, you can:

Allow the indexation of everything:

User-agent: *

Prevent the indexation of particular folders or files:

User-agent: Some Bot
Disallow: /folder/
Allow: /folder/file.htm


After installing and configuring all the modules I’ve mentioned on my list, you are now ready to compete with all the other websites in your niche. Here are the most common SEO issues covered:

  • SEO friendly META Description and Page Titles
  • Proper Keyword Usage in the body of your pages (including the H1 Tags if you had used SH404SEF or you had entered them on your own)
  • Your website redirects from www to non www or vice versa
  • You had removed the duplicate URLs from your website
  • All of the URLs of your website’s pages are search engine friendly
  • You have properly configured and have working sitemap
  • You have working robots.txt file
  • You can track the website’s traffic in Google Analytics
  • Your website shows different language versions based on the user’s location
  • The mobile version of your website is properly separated from your desktop one

My last tip is for organizing the whole SEO process. You can either use Woorank to check what onsite SEO factors you’ve covered, or try this basic SEO analysis framework to check if all best practices are implemented properly.

Lyuben Georgiev
Lyuben Georgiev currently works as a SEO manager in a premium Bulgarian SEO agency - SEO PAL. His most favorite topics are onsite SEO and... Read Full Bio
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  • Anonymous

    Thank You Lyuben! I have a few clients with Joomla sites and they have been a thorn in my side! Especially for doing re-directs. You just made my job a lot easier.

    Thanks for sharing

    • ljuben Georgiev

      Glad to hear that. I know how hard it is to make all redirects properly and avoid creating loops 🙂

  • Ben Rollier

    Actually, since Joomla 1.5 (released in 2008) you’ve been able to setup SEF URL’s natively.  No extension required. (On Apache, that is)!_1.5

  • Wasim Ismail

    the SH404SEF Extension is amazing, it allows to change URLS,
    Titles, and Description tag for every single page.

  • Kaloyan Banev

    Most of this things are integrated by default in Jomla 1.6 and 1.7, the only thing needed is to enable it in Global configuration and rename .htaccess. It is a myth that Joomla based websites are not SE friendly. I am working with Joomla before the time of v.1. The only thing is that Joomla based websites are heavy and need good hosting, preferably VPS and above.

    • ljuben Georgiev

      You have a point, but still there are some modules you can use to take your website to the next level. I do not claim that the Joomla websites are not SE friendly, but just how to make them even more frienly 😉

      Also thanks for sharing those tips 🙂

      • Kaloyan Banev

        Don’t get me wrong, the components and hacks that you have listed are more than good, actually everything that one Joomla website need. I just want to extend this comment and say that it is good practice to use less component if possible and check vulnerable components. I believe that Joomla security issues are in the past, but it is better to be careful. Regarding redirection for Windows based server, my opinion is that better to deploy Joomla on Linux/Unix platform.

  • SEO Consult

    Thanks, some good tips here. Not sure where you got the 15 mentions of your keyword, that’s just an arbitrary number and not something people should follow. Also keyword density is not a factor for SEO or something people should be concerned with, and I’m a but surprised SEJ has let this slip through. Otherwise, some handy tips there.

    – Jon

  • SEO Professionals

    You have probably heard the news that meta tags are losing their importance as a part of search engine optimization. This is only partially correct. In the past meta tags were used to manipulate the search engines through the use of keyword stuffing. This was an easy way to get good search engine rankings in the early days of the internet. 

  • xgen seo review

    I believe that is among the so much vital information for me. And i’m satisfied reading your article. However want to statement on some common issues, The web site taste is perfect, the articles is in reality excellent : D. Good process, cheers

  • Thomas Wichmann

    its an old article i know but Joomla is great.
    The SH404SEF Extension is very powerfull and if its not properly setup then it can also damage your site very much. I have seen a lot of changes made by this component. If you are using joomla, then learn the basic and make the changes you need yourself