Is Joomla! good for SEO? Part 2

 

"Improve the structure of your URLs"

 

This is a tricky bit. While Google doesn't explicitly say that dynamic-looking URL is bad, it implies that human-friendly URLs are also good for search engines. It also says that easy-to-read URLs are important because they will be displayed in the search results, and the keywords will be highlighted, if your URL contains any.

 

It also might be a bit tricky to configure this in Joomla! as it may require making some changes to your web server. But yes, Joomla! is totally capable of making URLs user-friendly. If your URLs look like this: "/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4&Itemid=106", or "/index.php/xxxx", read this carefully and use search engine friendly URL.

 

First, go to Site -> Global Configuration. There's a section called "SEO Settings" on the top left. There are three parameters of which you should be aware.

Joomla! SEO options

Search Engine Friendly URLs

 

This means using the menu alias name as part of the URL string. For example, if your URL looks like this:  "/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4&Itemid=106", it will become something like this: "/index.php/your-article-title".

 

This is already a good improvement, even though it still has unnecessary string "index.php". You can at least tell what the article is about by looking at the URL. Some people are OK with just setting this parameter, but I prefer removing "index.php" as it doesn't have any positive utility. So, let's look at the next option.

 

"Use URL rewriting"

 

This removes the "index.php" part so that your URL finally becomes "/your-article-title". If you are serious about making professional-looking, human-friendly URLs, I think you should go for this option. The problem is that making this option work might take some other configuration as it uses web server's "rewrite' feature.

 

If you are using Apache HTTP server, you should enable ".htaccess". You can do this by allowing "AllowOverride " and "Options". Alternatively, you can copy & past the related content of htaccess.txt into your apache config file. If you are not sure what the rewriting feature is, you might just want to enable .htaccess. Apache mod_rewrite is known for its brain-teasing configuration :P

 

Now, if you look at the tool tip of this option you will realise that it's only available for Apache or IIS 7. But the truth is, you can also use other web servers as long as they have rewriting features. For instance, I am using nginx and it works perfectly. I will write other post to explain this later.

 

If you are not familiar with how web servers work, this discussion might appear fairy complex. If this  is the case, just contact your server administrator and they will be happy to help you (hopefully).

 

"Add Suffix to URL"

 

Finally, this options adds ".html" suffix at the end of the URL. So "/your-article-title" will become "/your-article-title.html". I doubt that it will make huge differences in terms of SEO. But personally I prefer to set this option "yes". I might be old-fashioned but I feel more natural if a static-looking page has - even if it's technically dynamic - ".html" at the end of its filename. This is the reason why this page you are currently reading has a ".html" suffix.