If you have ever managed an SEO campaign for a website that is based on the Joomla! CMS, you know how much of a headache it can be. Because Joomla! is database driven, it creates the ugliest URLs you’ve ever seen. Stop characters everywhere and not a speck of user-friendliness to be seen. Thankfully, there are SEF Extensions (SEF=search engine friendly) available that can clean these up. Here are 4 reasons why I love these life-saving extensions:
- It’s easy. Well, it can be easy if your servers are set up properly. Regardless, it’s a matter of downloading, then uploading the appropriate extension to your Joomla! software. You have to make sure your Joomla! download is configured to handle the SEF Extensions, then you create an .htaccess file to allow for the rewrite and redirect functions to work properly.
- For once, you have control. Most of the available SEF Extensions give you, the webmaster, control over what naming conventions end up in your URL string. You have 3 keyword-filled text opportunities – Section, Category and Article Name. Because you can quickly and easily edit all three of these within the Joomla! interface, you have 100% control over the final version of your site’s “pretty” URLs.
- It works. Once you’ve done the behind-the-scenes work and flip the switch, the SEF Extension really works. Your once nasty URLs are now search engine friendly and easy to read. You’ll likely find there is some additional clean-up work to be done, but you can rest assured that your URLs are prepped and ready to go for SEO.
- The 301 redirects are created automatically. If the Joomla! website you’re working on is of any real size, the prospect of 301ing hundreds of URLs is a daunting task. The good news? The majority of the Joomla! SEF Extensions automatically implement 301 redirects (thus the .htaccess work at the beginning of the process). Beyond the automatic creation of 301s, most of the extensions offer the ability to manage 301 redirects on the site going forward.
There’s a ton of these SEF Extensions floating around out there, but I would recommend JoomSEF by Artio. If you would like some further reading on implementing SEF Extensions for Joomla!, I would recommend you check out this Little Joomla SEO Book. All in all, Joomla! is a great CMS, and its shortcomings in the SEO arena shouldn’t keep you from using it. Rest assured that there are SEF Extensions available to help you clean up your site and URLs to kick your SEO campaign into high gear!