Best SEO Extensions and Components for Joomla
SEO is always a collection of techniques and different strategies that are aimed at pushing the website towards the top of search results by certain user queries. Depending on the selected platform the website is based on, you can use certain tools that help to automate SEO promotion and make the life easier by doing a lot of job automatically. In terms of CMS these are SEO plugins and extensions designed specifically for the chosen CMS. We will review the best SEO plugins for Joomla, one of the TOP three content management systems in the world (together with WordPress and Drupal).
What is Joomla?
First let’s define the term ‘CMS’. Content management system is a ready-made software engine for developing a website. You do not need to program the site from the ground up, you don’t need to be a programming guru at all in case of using a CMS. You can take a ready-made collection of code files and create a site, adapting the code for your own needs. Actually, it is not even required to dig in the code, as all settings can be done via a visual interface, usually called CMS dashboard, or admin system. The major role of a CMS is providing ability to create a website without deep technical knowledge and skills in programming.
However, it is not always true: serious, functional online projects usually involve a lot of code customization, as each such project requires unique features that are not always provided by ready-made extensions. This is a consequence of CMS evolution: people always want to get more than it is able to offer by default. In this regard, we provide free SEO analysis to determine whether you need some additional manual intervention for optimization.
The initial idea of Joomla was to provide people with ability to create a website easily, without a master tegree in programming. Just take the engine and setup it for your needs. There is a huge community of programmers, designers and users among Joomla, as it is an open source technology. It means that all comers can work on its improvements, infinitely extending initial features. As a result the basic Joomla engine can be significantly extended by numerous plugins that make this CMS suitable for websites of any type, from blogs to social media or e-commerce projects. Traditional niche of Joomla use includes:
- Corporate websites
- Small and mid-size commercial websites
- Personal pages
- School, university websites
- Online galleries and magazines
- Community portals
While WordPress offers maximum simplicity for being used by non-programmers, and Drupal requires serious qualification in web programming, Joomla is the golden middle between them. Perhaps, you will need slightly more programming when adjusting a Joomla site, but it will be definitely much less programming work than in using Drupal. Thanks to numerous Joomla extensions SEO can be much easier with this CMS than in Drupal. SEO-friendly CMS techniques play highly important role in future website success and monetizing. Choosing a CMS for the future site, you need to evaluate its SEO capabilities, as well as the range of features it offers.
Joomla vs. WordPress: what is best for SEO?
Speaking in short, WordPress wins the rate for its SEO capabilities. BUT it doesn’t mean that you cannot improve search engine ranking, if you have a Joomla-based website. Some Joomla SEO extensions can seriously improve the situation. In order to fight the shortcomings of your CMS, you need to know about them. So let’s review the major SEO characteristics of both CMS systems.
Before Joomla 2.5 version it was a disaster to tune proper SEO performance on a Joomla engine. Then developers decided to improve this aspect, and since 2.5 version the most of nightmares became a thing of the past. If SEO does matter for you, it’s time to add proper Joomla components to support your SEO profile and optimize the site code and structure for incredible traffic increase.
By default there are some basic features for SEO in Joomla. It is possible to make SEF URLs automatically, enable/disable URL suffixes, enable SEO-friendly URL rewriting. There is a capability to setup global meta tags content (description, keywords), page-specific meta tags.
It is a secret for the most of Joomla users, but it really allows assigning specific menu items ‘nofollow’ and ‘noindex’ statuses. These are all basic SEO features offered by Joomla CMS. If you want to go further, be ready to make a lot of code customizations or choose some Joomla SEO component for proper optimization, avoiding worst SEO mistakes.
What about WordPress?
Yeah, it’s much easier to do SEO on WordPress. It is very simple to operate URLs, setup permalinks, etc. By default WP allows setting tags for posts. In Joomla it is possible only via an additional extension. Meta data in WordPress are easily setup from the admin interface for every page and every blog post.
All standard SEO means are on place, but again, to do some super powerful SEO tricks, you still need plugins. So the situation is basically the same, as with Joomla. Yes, WP offers handier management and setup, but in terms of SEO features it is not very well ahead of Joomla.
Some WP fans admit that Joomla engine works much slower making pages load longer and eat much more system resources for data processing. Actually, it is a myth. Experts who work extensively with both systems insist that to achieve superquick page load, WordPress and Joomla require equal amount of magic.
Making URLs SEO-friendly is a must for successful search engine rankings. Google and users do not digest URLs with a lot of numbers and letters that don’t actually reflect what is the page about. To be more accurate, such URLs either bring zero SEO benefits or even worsen the site ranks.
WordPress gives ability to setup a permalink to a post. Joomla generates URL based on the category name + menu item (this is a standard Joomla SEF URL structure). Better Joomla search engine friendly URLs are available only via certain plugins, as well as in WordPress.
Yep, images also take part in SEO game (check your SEO effectiveness with the best SEO tools), and Joomla completely didn’t take it into account until 2.5 version. Since Joomla 2.5.x tools for image optimization were finally released. Now it’s possible to add tags, titles, set dimensions. While all this can be automated in WP thanks to SEO Friendly Images plugin, Joomla tells search engines not to index its Images folder by default. This can be fixed by a small change in robots.txt file. Simply remove the line: Disallow: /images/
This is one of the keys of on-site SEO. Setting them up is easy with standard WordPress, and even easier with the use of plugins. In Joomla there is no interface to do that. You only need to do it manually in the code.
404 Pages customization
It’s not easy to make a redirect to a custom 404 page with Joomla. Even today it requires tweaks in the code. You need to write your custom redirect rules in .htaccess file. In WordPress there are plugins that can do it via a user-friendly interface.
The conclusion is obvious: to make Joomla work well for SEO you need to use plugins that extend its standard functions. Otherwise there will be very poor SEO performance.
Contact us to get help in customizing Joomla or any other CMS.
Best Joomla SEO plugins
Extendibility of Joomla is what you can do to boost up the SEO capabilities of your Joomla-based website. While the current version of Joomla is 3.x, there are many websites developed on Joomla 2.5. That is why we will consider both Joomla 2.5 and Joomla 3 SEO plugin solutions.
sh404SEF SEO component
This plugin has a long history among SEO solutions for Joomla. It now supports Joomla 2.5 or higher and is aimed at increasing traffic to the website by enabling a range of SEO-related settings, such as:
- integration with Google Analytics with displaying full site statistics from there
- Efficient caching system to improve the site usability and load speed
- Canonical URL support
- Duplicated URL removal
- Generating redirections
- SEF URLs generation
- Support of Google News URL format
- Adding social buttons to the site (Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and others)
- Social sharing statistics tracking
- Short URL (shURL) generation
- Meta data management for each page
- URL setup according to Google recommendations
- Navigation improvements (Next, Prev links in pagination)
- Custom 404 error page generation
Besides SEO-specific features sh404SEF Joomla 2.5 seo plugin offers efficient website security options, such as protection from XSS-attacks, malicious queries, flood attacks, access restriction by IP, etc. The disadvantage of this plugin is the absence of any external link management settings. The most of SEO is concentrated on link exchange, and here you will not find anything related to such important part of SEO profile. See the LinksManagement backlinks features to deal with the problem.
This extension is made for easy and correct sitemap generation. It really helps Google to index the Joomla site pages properly. There is nothing difficult in using this plugin. It offers:
- Generating both HTML and XML sitemaps
- Displaying statistics like number of links and visitors
- Adjustable CSS for the sitemap
- Caching options
- Ability to disable displaying of specific Joomla articles on the site
- Ability to visually underline the links to external sources
This is a simple component focused on sitemap creating. It can be its advantage (if you only need to make a good-looking sitemap) and disadvantage (if you require a complex, multi-purpose SEO plugin).
SEO Boss plugin
This plugin is dedicated to the management of numerous SEO features on a Joomla site. Many developers call it the best SEO extension for Joomla, as it helps to manage many aspects of SEO via a simple interface. It is very flexible in price – you can get it in free basic version or purchase a PRO version with additional functionality. Let’s consider free version that includes the following features:
- Meta tags management – changing meta tags for every Joomla page manually or their automatic generation, detecting weak or incorrect meta tags content, custom meta tags generation.
- Keywords management – SEO Boss displays the report about keywords used on the site together with the site position in Google results by each keyword.
- Pages management – shows the density of keywords in the content of specific page.
- External links hiding – the plugin allows masking external links as internal ones that are once clicked redirect a user to an external website.
There is one more useful feature that is available only in Pro version – detecting and removing duplicate content. This is how the plugin looks in Joomla editor when installed:
SEO Boss’s external links masking feature can be a problem, as it may seem like tricking users and Google that is why our link building service highly unwelcome in building a successful SEO strategy.
This extension helps to manage meta tags from the front-end. It helps to make meta description that is usually used in search results pages relevant, taking a piece of text right from the page.
IMPORTANT: It actually doesn’t save generated meta tags content in standard meta data fields of the Joomla editor. The values from Joomla editor override the values generated by SEOSimple.
The basic plugin features include:
- Automatic generation of meta tags
- HTML page title management
- Setting category pages ‘noindex/follow’ status to avoid penalties due to duplicate content.
As with any other Joomla plugins, make sure to download Joomla SEO extensions only from trusted sources with proven reputation to avoid any malware and not to harm the website.
Plugins for backlink management
As you see from the review of the best SEO plugins for Joomla, all of them are mainly targeted on the on-site SEO that is only a half of successful website promotion. Without off-site SEO it will be hard to achieve any good result in Google or other engines. The core of the offsite SEO is backlinks – links to your site from different external sources. It is very important to diversify the backlink sources maximally, in order to have the ingrowth of traffic from numerous places and audience segments. Moreover, backlinks must lead from relevant sources so that you could attract audience interested in your content.
Unfortunately there is no ready-made Joomla plugins for this purpose. But it doesn’t mean that it is impossible to automate the increase of the backlink mass. You need to use specialized third-party services. There is no need to install any additional components to your Joomla website in order to generate backlinks. You need to get access to the backlink market, choose the backlink sources you are interested in and purchase backlinks there for as long, as you need. This is the easiest and the most reliable scheme for automatic backlink management. It is offered by LinksManagement service . It is simple and efficient, offering numerous options for backlink generation (check our case studies):
- You can buy backlinks from the sources of specific domain zone
- You can choose backlinks only from websites that belong to a specific geographic location
- Choose the backlinks of specific DA and PA
- Pay for the backlinks once or per month of use.
Additionally, there is a great opportunity to test your Joomla website’s SEO for free and define how many backlinks and what type of backlinks do you need. LinksManagement technologies allow all users to get the full website SEO review for free. Also, subscribing for LinksManagement backlink exchange, you get qualified assistance from experienced SEO masters. They will monitor your website’s SEO and give regular recommendations for improving it. This is definitely better than a plugin, as such solution combines unlimited resources for building backlink profile and ability to apply the best SEO knowledge to your Joomla site promotion. Try it for free!