Search engine optimization…those three words are enough to bore even the most enthusiastic business owner or internet marketer. After all, we’d all rather spend our time designing beautiful websites or creating clever marketing campaigns. However, just because SEO isn’t exciting doesn’t mean we can ignore it all together.
Here are just a few of the reasons why SEO matters:
- Did you know that SEO leads have a higher close rate at around 2.6, while outbound leads, such as print advertising, email, or direct mail, have an abysmal 1.7 percent close rate? When compounded over thousands of interactions, that’s a huge difference.
- According to research, only 29 percent of website visits are the result of a user directly inputting your domain name into the browser bar. On the other hand, 47 percent – or nearly half of all visits – come from organic search results.
- Did you know that 75 percent of users never scroll past the first page of Google search results? In other words, if you don’t rank well for competitive search terms, the majority of your target audience will never find your website.
There are dozens of other research-based statistics and trends out there. The moral of the story is that you need to focus on SEO in order to maximize your Joomla site’s efficacy.
6 Joomla SEO Tips
If you own or manage a Joomla website, then you need to understand the importance of continual optimization and SEO tweaking to achieve the results you want in the search engines.
Here are a few of the top tips and best practices that you’ll find relevant in 2016 and beyond:
1. Speed Things Up
Page loading time and site speed will always be critically important components of SEO. While there are dozens of ways to speed up a website, one of the most helpful Joomla-specific tips is to enable Joomla cache.
When a visitor clicks on your website and loads a page, Joomla actually fetches content from a database and loads all of the necessary features and components to present the page to the end user. If there are a lot of different elements, this process can take a few seconds. While this process is required the first time, users can skip it later if you enable the Joomla cache feature.
2. Use Joomla SEO Plugins
One of the great things about Joomla is that there are plugins for everything – including SEO. While you’ll need to optimize your website for the basics, using the right plugins allows you to identify weak spots and vulnerabilities that you didn’t know existed. SEOSimple is one of the best, but there are plenty of other options to choose from.
3. Enable Search Friendly URLs
In your website’s Joomla Global Configuration, go ahead and set the “Search Engine Friendly URLs” and “Use URL Rewriting” to “Yes.” This will remove random codes from your URLs and optimize them so they rank higher in the search engines. It essentially clears things up so that Google and other search engines can understand what your URLs represent.
4. Choose WWW. Or Non-WWW.
Unlike WordPress, Joomla doesn’t automatically redirect your website to a specific “www” version of your site. This creates a canonical problem that needs to be manually corrected via your .htaccess file. It doesn’t necessarily matter which one you choose, but make sure you select one and make the other inaccessible. This eliminates any unnecessary confusion and prevents Google from thinking you have duplicate content.
5. Get Rid of 404 Errors
If there’s one thing that can negatively impact your Joomla site, it’s too many 404 errors. Google hates 404 errors because they ruin the user experience. While it’s impossible to avoid every error, you can create a simple and pleasing 404 page that helps users locate the information they’re seeking. Many Joomla templates will have 404 pages built in, but make sure you review them and verify that they add value to your site.
6. Create Quality Content
Quite frankly, one of the best things you can do for your site’s search engine rankings is consistently invest in quality content. Over time, quality content that’s relevant to your target audience will generate backlinks, attract visitors, and enhance the authority of your site. It’s a long-term investment that will yield long-term value. Here is a content marketing guide that should help you along in this journey. When I started my company Due, I invested in content. Now we're pushing out 3-6 quality blog posts a day. This has been a large factor in our growth to over 1+ million monthly users on our platform. It's the quality that has to matter and shine.
Don’t Ignore SEO Any Longer
If you’re currently ignoring SEO – or not spending much time on it – then you’re missing out on an opportunity to drive more traffic your site(s), grow advertising revenue, and increase conversions. While there’s nothing easy about SEO – and you should be wary of anyone who tells you they know Google’s secret algorithm – the tips referenced in this article are widely considered industry best practices. Reference them as you seek to improve your site’s performance.