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Mastering Joomla SEO: A Complete Guide to Optimizing Your Website for Search Engine Rankings

Updated on April 4, 2023

16 Min Read
mastering joomla seo

Joomla is a powerful content management system (CMS) that enables users to build websites easily. However, creating a website is just the first step. Optimizing your Joomla site for search engines is crucial to make it visible to potential visitors.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a practice that aims to improve the quantity and quality of traffic to your website from search engines. It can help boost your website’s ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs) and increase the chances of attracting more visitors.

In this guide, I’ll share some of the best Joomla SEO practices that you can use to improve your website’s visibility and attract more organic traffic. So let’s get started!

Benefits of SEO-Friendly Joomla Website

seo audit elements

SEO Audit checklist

Optimizing your Joomla website for search engines brings many benefits. SEO is often compared with PPC; while PPC does give quick wins, SEO delivers wins for a longer time. Here are a few benefits of optimizing your Joomla website for search engines.

1. Increase Organic Traffic

Any traffic that reaches your website without you having to pay for it directly is called organic traffic. From a business perspective, an optimized Joomla website can organically attract your target audience and prospective clients.

If you rank high on your target keywords, your visitors will likely do business with you rather than your competitors. And you’ll acquire that traffic organically, which means all increased traffic that you receive would be without paying for it via, let’s say, advertising or PPC.

2. Cost-Effective Marketing

A Joomla website optimized for search engines is a cost-effective way to market your business. That’s one of the most efficient ways to reduce customer acquisition costs (CAC). SEO efforts pay off for a longer time. That should be enough motivation to optimize your Joomla website.

3. Improve Brand Visibility

Websites that rank high on the SERPs appear credible. That’s because Google’s algorithm doesn’t promote websites that aren’t optimized for users. So ranking higher is a signal that you’ve worked hard and put up true information that adds to the betterment of your users.

And when your brand’s perceived credibility increases, you can be sure it translates into better profits. Or accelerated achievement of business goals. This luxury is missing with a paid medium where your site disappears from searches when your ad budget exhausts.

Joomla SEO vs PPC: A Quick Comparison

Let’s have a quick review of Joomla SEO vs. PPC so that you can better understand what’s better for your Joomla website.

Metric SEO PPC
Key Concept Optimize your website’s content, structure, and technical elements to show higher on the SERPs. You pay to make the search engines display your site/landing page on top.
Costs SEO requires time and effort more than monetary resources. You’ll need to spend on tools and some resources to get better results. You’ll have to pay for every click on your link. It’s a bidding war, and your costs can increase depending on your niche’s competitiveness.
Traffic SEO delivered results in the long run. You can expect consistent organic traffic if you get to the top SERPs. You’ll only get paid traffic, which will likely reduce in numbers once your campaign ends.
Conversion Rate Percentage-wise, the conversion rate is lesser with SEO because people with different intentions visit the site. PPC has a higher conversion rate because it targets the bottom of the funnel visitors with an active intention to buy.
ROI SEO wins the game here. Once optimized and ranked, your content can bring in traffic and conversions for months and years without additional costs. PPC is a budget game. The moment you stop injecting money, you stop getting leads.

Both these mediums have pros and cons of their own. But if you are in it for the long game, SEO is the path to tread. Let’s jump right in and look at how to ace Joomla SEO.

How to Perform SEO Audit for Joomla?

The journey to ace your SEO starts with the website audit. Auditing the website will highlight the weak areas you can work with to get quick wins. While a website audit is a vast domain, you must cover maximum ground.

The best strategy is to audit your website against Google’s Core Web Vitals. There are several areas of your Joomla website to address when auditing your site. Those are:

  • Is your website loading fast or not?
  • Is the content quality right or not?
  • Is the media uploaded optimized?
  • Are the design and navigation user-friendly?
  • Where is the website ranking currently on SERPs?
  • What are the sources of website traffic?

When you address these questions, you’ll have problems highlighted that you can fix for easy results. There are some powerful SEO tools available that you can use for website auditing. Some are:

  1. Google Page Experience Checker: It assesses your website on several parameters and gives you scores. I did a test run to better explain to you how it works.

google page experience checker

– Page Experience Checker by Cloudways

It’ll take a few seconds and then show you the results. You’ll get a thorough audit report about your site’s pluses and negatives. You can use the data to resolve the negative points and boost your SEO efforts.

  1. Ahrefs: An excellent tool for your website’s content auditing. It can also help you identify flaws with your technical SEO. The tool shows where your site ranks on different keywords, and you can use that data to make necessary amendments and improve results.
  2. Google Analytics: A free tool by Google that helps you analyze your website’s performance and user behavior. You must integrate it with your Joomla site and track real-time results.
  3. Screaming Frog: Another great tool to audit your Joomla website’s SEO performance and make necessary amendments for better results.

These tools can offer great SEO results. And remember, even if you are starting a new website, you’ll need these tools to monitor your website’s performance. By constantly monitoring the performance, you can catch the problem areas early and fix them ASAP for better performance.

Another great place to look for flaws in the website would be your Joomla backend.

home dashboard joomla

– Joomla Backend

The notification bar and the other segments there will tell you if any action requires your attention. In the picture above, for instance, you can see that the notification bar shows no anomalies. If the site had an issue, it’d be highlighted there.

Note – don’t rely only on the backend notifications. As mentioned above, you’ll need to look at other areas for a thorough website audit.

Best SEO Practices for a Joomla Website

Optimizing your website is getting the basics right. It has different aspects, such as technical SEO, Keyword research and optimization, content servicing, etc. Also, if you already have a Joomla website, it’s wise to audit it for SEO before proceeding.

Auditing the website will highlight your problem areas, and fixing them can help you achieve quick wins. If it’s a new website, it’s best to build it on the SEO guidelines. I’ve thoroughly covered each aspect; implementing them will help you succeed in SERPs.

A word of caution, though – SEO is a slow process that can take two to twelve months to give results. Sometimes even more. Ensure you don’t step in with unrealistic expectations and get disappointed when those aren’t met.

Let’s go through some tips to help you with Joomla SEO.

1. Technical SEO

Google and other search engines have sophisticated algorithms for their web crawler bots. With technical SEO, you can optimize your website for search engines and assist the bots in ranking your site better.

Here are some elements of technical SEO to watch out for when optimizing your website for search engines.

1.1. Optimized Joomla Template

Choosing the right one is crucial for your SEO strategy. You don’t always have to choose the most exuberant theme but the one that enhances the user’s experience and is appropriate for your niche.

Here are some things to consider when choosing a Joomla template:

  • It should be customizable so that you can make the necessary changes and offer a better browsing experience to your visitors.
  • Ensure that it meets the business requirements. Many choose beautiful themes to realize later that they don’t fulfill the business requirements.
  • Make sure that it’s not unnecessarily heavy. That will increase the load time and negatively impact your rankings.
  • Check for compatibility with the latest version of Joomla.
  • Check for support. Many theme builders help you set up the website and run it smoothly.

1.2. Mobile-Friendly Website

According to Statista, 60% of all the traffics websites receives comes from mobile devices. So if your Joomla website isn’t optimized for mobile traffic, you are making a grave SEO mistake. Make sure that it’s mobile-friendly.

That means it should load fast on the phone, be compatible with their screens, and have a navigable site layout. You should also keep mobile-friendliness in mind when choosing your Joomla template.

1.3. Page Load Time & Speed

How fast your site pages load is proportional to your rank.

Load speed is an important factor to consider when formulating your Joomla SEO strategy. Here are some things to do that’ll give immediate results.

  • Choosing a fast hosting provider for your Joomla site.
  • Compressing and optimizing the images on your site.
  • Removing unnecessary data and pages from your site.
  • Optimizing your HTML and CSS codes.
  • Enabling browser caching.

There are several other measures that you can take to improve your site’s load speed. Implement them, and you can surely ace the Joomla SEO for your website. You can also use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to test out the load speeds of your website pages.

pagespeed insights

– PageSpeed Insights

Fast Joomla Sites Rank Higher.

Cloudways offers Joomla-optimized hosting so that your sites load faster and offer a secure experience to your visitors.

1.4. Use Structured Data

Adding a structured form of your Joomla website’s data will help search engines understand your website better.

It’s a systematic code that you can produce via a schema generator like a generator from Technicalseo.com. Search engines love websites that use structured data. The algorithms fetch additional data and display additional information such as ratings, features, pricing, etc.

And guess what that’ll do? Improve your probability of fetching higher results in the SERPs.

It’s a systematic code that you can produce via a schema generator. Search engines prefer websites that use structured data. The algorithms fetch additional data and display additional information such as ratings, features, pricing, etc.

schema application

The link shows additional information – a picture of the product and its categories. So, don’t miss out on structured data for your Joomla SEO. The eventual result will be better ratings, clicks, and a higher chance of better conversions.

1.5. Create a Sitemap

sitemap example

– A simpler understanding of Sitemap

Creating a sitemap is crucial for your Joomla website’s SEO.

What’s a sitemap? It’s a file where you put up all the pages in an order you want the search engines to index. A sitemap helps search engines understand the structure of your website and index the pages. In a way, you help the search engine understand your website pages better.

And it’s not a complicated process. There are several tools and extensions available online that you can use to generate the sitemap of your Joomla website. Let me explain to you how to do it using https://www.xml-sitemaps.com/.

  • Step 1: Visit https://www.xml-sitemaps.com/, and you’ll see a window like the one below. Enter the link in the URL bar and click the Start button.

xml-sitemaps website

  • Step 2: The site will process your query for a while and generate the result for you in a few seconds.

sitemap details

  • Step 3: Click on the “View Sitemap Details” button to take you to the next step, as shown below.

sitemap download

And that’s pretty much all the technical SEO that you’ll need. Now let’s look at the other SEO aspects that you should look over.

1.6. Check for Broken Links

Google doesn’t want people to come to your website and click on links that don’t give results. Broken links are URLs and hyperlinks that are tied to nonexistent pages. This is usually a common problem with websites that have lots of pages. But seeing 404 on your pages will signal algorithms that your website isn’t maintained.

As a result, your chances of ranking higher get slashed. But there’s an easy fix for that. There are several Joomla plugins that you can download from the backend and fix broken links. You get there via the following path:

  • Systems → Extensions → Install from Web → Search and install the plugin.

extension installation joomla

– Joomla Backend

2. Keyword Research and Infusion

Any SEO strategy is incomplete without keywords. There are 2 steps to this – conducting the research and then incorporating them into the content.

2.1. Conduct Keyword Research

Finding the right keywords is crucial. That’s because your website will appear when your content has keywords matching your audience’s search queries.

And for that, you’ll have to research the right keywords. There are ways to do that. The first is to conduct keyword research with the help of tools.

You can use several top-quality options such as Ahrefs, Semrush, Moz, KWFinder, etc. These tools also help you analyze your competitors’ keywords and show you where they rank. You can use that information to craft your keyword strategy.

These tools will also tell you other metrics, such as the global search volumes of your keywords, how difficult it is to rank on those keywords, etc. Let’s see an example from Ahrefs. You can go to the “Keywords Explorer” section and begin there.

ahrefs interface

Ahrefs Interface

Once you enter the keyword, you’ll get a lot of information you’ll need for your keyword strategy.

ahrefs example

See, it shows several useful metrics like keyword difficulty, search volume, other keyword ideas, etc. All this will be super helpful for your keyword and content strategy. Another strategy is to use search engine suggestions.

google search results

– Google’s suggestions

bing search results

– Bing’s suggestions

Punch in a keyword, and the search engines suggest other related keywords people search for. You can also use these suggestions to create a list of relevant keywords to your content.

Note – while researching for the keywords, be mindful of your audience’s search intent. Different intentions are behind different keywords – informational, navigational, transactional, and commercial.

Be clear about the purpose of these keyword searches so your audience can find exactly what they are looking for. That way you’ll have better chances of ranking high and fulfilling your business purposes with your Joomla website. Once your research is done, it’s time to infuse them.

2.2. Keyword Placement and Optimization

How you place your keywords will impact your website’s performance.

Gone are the days when stuffing keywords was a strategy to rank higher. Sadly, many websites still follow this practice of mindlessly fluffing keywords. As a result, their site never makes it to the top SERPs, and their efforts go to waste.

Use the keywords where they naturally fit and optimize them based on the searcher’s intent. Remember, Google is going big on E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness). This means it’ll promote content that best caters to the users’ needs.

Ensure you incorporate this in your keyword infusion strategy; this doesn’t stop at keywords. E-E-A-T should be the guiding principle of all the elements of your Joomla website, whether design, content, or whatever.

3. Content Optimization

Curating long paragraphs and stuffing your Joomla site won’t cut the deal for you. You’ll need to optimize your content to meet the user’s requirements and rank better. There are several ways to do that.

Before I get to it, there’s a complete section in the Joomla back panel where you can manage your content. You get there!

3.1. Publish High-Quality Content

It starts with writing high-quality content for Joomla websites. All your decorative and website designing efforts will come crashing if your content doesn’t hook the readers and conveys what you do. And that’s a bad omen for your SEO strategy.

To produce quality content, you’ll need content writing and copywriting expertise. Always focus on producing crisp and clear content for your audience. A few tips for doing that:

  • Keep it concise. Fluffy content can make your readers lose attention, and they’ll bounce off.
  • Keep it readable. Don’t focus on saying everything at once. Keep your content bite-sized so that your visitors can easily digest it.
  • Keep it clear. Don’t beat around the bush, and write web content that exactly communicates what you do and what you offer.

One tool that I highly recommend for your Joomla site’s content is Frase.

frase interface

– Frase Interface

The tool is extremely helpful. It analyses top-ranking results for your targetted query and does the content audit. You can then use this information to produce more relevant content than your competitors and rank higher.

3.2. On-page optimization

Any activity you do to optimize the content on your website is called on-page optimization. Doing this right can significantly improve your chances of catching higher ranks on the SERPs.

You can look after your on-page changes in the content section on the back end. Let’s take an example of how you’ll optimize your article on Joomla.

  • Go to Settings → Content → Articles → +New.

article section joomla

It will take you to this window. From here on, you can make the relevant changes. Some activities for proper on-page optimization include:

  • Fixing the meta titles and descriptions. Write them at recommended lengths – 60 for the title and 160 for the description. (You can fix this in the “Publishing” tab).
  • Choose the right alt texts and descriptions for your images. (You can fix this in the “Images and Links” tab).
  • Compress the images so they don’t slow down your load times.
  • Do strategic internal linking.
  • Keep a check on your content structure and ensure all the tags and headings are aligned well.

There are several other settings that you can explore on the backend and have top-tiered on-page for your content.

3.3. Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO means enhancing your website’s online presence to improve its ranking.

Several activities can be done for stellar off-page SEO, such as getting quality backlinks, guest posts, getting mentions on social media, etc. You can even look into influencer marketing options as a part of your off-page SEO strategy for your Joomla website.

3.4. Image Optimization for Joomla Websites

Catchy images and useful graphics are necessary for any website to make website welcoming and engaging.

Unfortunately, without proper optimization, your images can slow down the site and hurt your rankings. Data reveals that unoptimized images can make up for 75% of the page size, slows down sites, and decreases conversion rates.

Your image optimization goal should be having the highest quality images with the smallest possible file sizes. The Joomla platform also allows you to tweak your images from the backend. Here’s how you do it:

  • Settings → System → Global Configuration → Media.

media options joomla

You can explore the settings here and set them in a way that favors your Joomla SEO. You can even limit the settings for other users so they don’t put up media files that can make your pages heavy.

3.5. Database Optimization

Optimizing your Joomla database is crucial to rank higher online. You can do it via the platform and by going into the backend of your hosting and handling it. Here’s Cloudways’ backend as an example.

cloudways backend

– Screenshot from Cloudways’ backend

Database optimization will make your website fast. That’s because it reduces the time your website responds to queries by optimizing the use of resources. You can also optimize your database from the Joomla backend. Here’s how you get there:

  • System → Global Configuration → Database (Under maintenance section).

maintenance database joomla

4. Joomla SEO Settings Change

Now, there are some settings that you should consider making on the Joomla platform that can enhance your SEO efforts.

4.1. Enable Search-Friendly URLs and Use URL Rewriting

The first one is to make your URLs search-friendly. You do that by doing the following:

  • Settings → Global Settings → Site → SEO.

joomla seo settings

You can enable “yes” on the Search Engine Friendly URLs option. Also, by default, Joomla inserts index.php in your URLs, but that’s not something you need there. You should also consider enabling “yes” on the Use URL Rewriting option.

These changes are necessary because URL structure is crucial for Joomla SEO.

A clean and understandable URL will help search engines understand the content context better. It’s always better to manually set your URLs without anything generated randomly, such as numbers, index.php, random characters, etc.

4.2. Gzip Compression

Another great way to improve your Joomla site’s performance is Gzip compression. That’s a platform-native option as well.

By turning Gzip compression on, you tell your server to compress the files and pages before your audience sees them. This means faster load times and better SEO performance. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Settings → Global Configuration → Server and toggle to Yes.

global configuration joomla

Joomla SEO Extensions Tried and Tested

Choosing the right Joomla SEO extensions can help you with the SEO game. Here are some of the best ones to consider for your SEO strategy. These are highly recommended SEO extensions by the Joomla community and platform developers.

  1. EFSEO: A very easy and intuitive extension for updating metadata. You can use it to update the data manually and automatically as well.
  2. Google Structured Data: It’s a superb extension to handle your Joomla SEO. This tool supports several data content types, such as articles, videos, reviews, etc. It can also help you with several other things, such as rich snippets in JSON format, articles schema data, business listings, etc., without the need to know any code.
  3. Canonical Links All in One: A great tool to avoid penalties for duplicate content.
  4. 4SEO: A great tool for your SEO automation needs.
  5. RSSEO: An awesome SEO tool to manage many SEO elements such as sitemaps, error pages, redirects, etc.

You can easily install them from the Joomla backend. Here’s how you do it:

  • Settings → Extension (Under Install) → Extensions.

extension installation joomla

You can install the extensions manually. Or you can go to the “Install from Web” option and install the plugins inside the platform.

Monitor Your Joomla Performance Regularly

Monitoring your website regularly is crucial to identify flaws at the earliest possible and get them fixed ASAP. This is similar to auditing your website regularly. You can use all the tools that I discussed in website auditing.

The difference between auditing and monitoring isn’t much; while auditing, you try and figure out all the areas that need improvement, whereas, with monitoring, you hunt for anomalies and address them at the earliest.

Also, you’ll actively need to monitor your website’s uptime, its security against online attacks, traffic, rankings, etc. Negligence can take down your SEO efforts and hurt your SERP rankings.  The Joomla backend also offers several options to monitor from inside the platform.

system dashboard joomla

Summary

Joomla is a popular platform that’s easy to manage. But without SEO, you’ll have limited visitors to your website, and keeping a website up and running won’t be sustainable.

However, when your SEO efforts start giving results, you’ll love it – your website will rank on top, your business will flourish, and you can generate leads with minimal customer acquisition cost (CAC).

Implementing the above tips can be a big boon for your Joomla SEO. Also, know that SEO is a continuous process. You’ll have to keep up with updates from search engines and make necessary changes to stay on top.

Q1. Why is Joomla SEO important?

Joomla SEO is to help search engines display your Joomla website on the top when your target audience searches for a query.

Q2. How to use Joomla for SEO?

There are several Joomla-supported extensions that you can use for Joomla SEO. You can also implement several manual SEO, platform, and server-level changes for better results.

Q3. What is the best SEO agency out there?

There are several SEO agencies out there that are doing amazing work for their clients. We’ve covered a list of some top-tiered SEO agencies that we’ve covered. Check them out here and see if you see someone fit enough to handle your Joomla SEO.

Q2. Does anyone still use Joomla?

Yes, Joomla is still a popular open-source CMS that powers about 1.8% of all the websites on the internet.

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Raza Aslam Lakhani

I'm a digital content producer at Cloudways. I'm also a hodophile- always ready to explore new places and cultures. Other than that, I play guitar and love to indulge myself in deep, meaningful conversations. Always looking for opportunities to learn new things.

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