Joomla is a powerful CMS, used by over 20 of the world’s 10,000 most popular websites. With Joomla on your side, you’re more than capable of building the best site around, but what use is a great site if nobody’s going to see it? It’s common knowledge that Joomla lets itself down when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). Limited and slow, there’s precious little you can do, SEO-wise, in Joomla core.
To boost your unique visitor numbers, get seen on Google, beat the competition and, ultimately, make more money, you’re going to need to fortify Joomla with the right extensions. We explore 15 of the best SEO extensions for Joomla below. All but the last four in this list are completely free, so there’s absolutely no reason not to give them a try.
While free extensions provide a range of lightweight, quick-fixes to annoying SEO problems, commercial solutions tend to offer a comprehensive suite of SEO tools, packaged in a really slick way.
Tips: If you are using WordPress, please check out our previous article about WordPress plugins that increase your search engine rankings.
For the best SEO results, it’s vital that your meta descriptions contain text relevant to each page’s contents. Filling in descriptions for every page can be a real chore, which is why many Joomla experts incorporate SEOSimple into every site they build. It automatically uses a chunk of text from the top of each page as its meta description. Downloading and installing this plugin takes no more than 2 minutes, but it could save you hours in the long-run.
2. ARTIO JoomSEF
ARTIO JoomSEF is designed to make your URLs perform better. Not only will this extension make your URLs search engine friendly, it will make them comprehensible to humans too, boosting your visitor numbers. It provides support for multilingual sites (thanks to Joom!Fish internationalization), letting you format your URLs differently for different languages.
3. Missing Metadata Module
Missing Metadata Module is a fantastic tool for making sure that every article you publish has appropriate meta description text. Once installed, this extension adds an extra panel to your Joomla Administrator interface, listing any articles lacking appropriate meta info. You’ll be shocked by how many of your pages are suffering from a lack of meta data.
Joomap, an extension that’s really simple to configure and use, lets you create a sitemap and submit it to all major search engines. Suitable for both beginners and experts, it displays the normal Menu Structure, Content Categories, Sections and Virtuemart Categories in a hierarchical tree or a Google sitemaps list. We’ve heard no reports of errors with this extension, but there’s no general forum, so help is a little hard to come by.
Auto-Frontpage ensures that your site is updated regularly, which Google and other search engines love. It automatically publishes all of your new articles, saving you time and effort. When there’s nothing new to add, it republishes one of your old articles, keeping both visitors and search engines happy. If you’re not changing the content of your site on a regular basis, you’ll never achieve the best page ranking results.
6. Website Name
This extension lets you display your website name in the title on each page, which is vital for effective SEO. Simple, but effective, it can be installed within 30 seconds and set up even more quickly. You can even configure it so that your website name is displayed to the left or right of your page title.
This great extension automatically puts all the right keywords in all the right places for superb SEO. It’s highly customizable, letting you decide exactly how you want your meta keywords, descriptions, titles and heading tags to appear. Show or hide your site name, change the number of keywords in a title, change the length of a title or specify bad words to be excluded from your keywords list.
8. SEO Canonicalisation
Once installed, SEO Canonicalisation redirects all users to your chosen hostname, regardless of the domain name they used. It completely negates the need for fiddly .htaccess redirects. With relatively few bugs reported and an inbuilt Check Settings option, this extension comes highly recommended.
9. Title Manager
Like Website Name, Title Manager makes it easy for Joomla users to customize their browser titles, adding their site name to the right or left of each page name. Available in Turkish, Dutch and German besides English, this extension is easily accessible to everyone.
10. Unicode Slugs
With Unicode Slugs, you can easily add accents, capital letters, glyphs and foreign characters to your Joomla URL, making it easier for users, the world over, to get to grips with your domain name. Rest assured, Google has absolutely no problem deciphering Unicode Slugs-generated domain names either.
For SEO and brand awareness, you’ll want all visitors to your site to end up on your primary domain, otherwise things can get very confusing. If you need to redirect several domains hosted on a single server to one main domain, then this extension is the one for you.
12. iJoomla SEO
iJoomla SEO is the most comprehensive and polished extension in this list. It offers far too many tools to mention, but the best one in my opinion is Keyword Manager. In an instant, the Keyword Manager gives you a snapshot of your Google performance (rank and change in rank) based on all of the words you’ve specified in your title meta tags. At $99, iJoomla SEO doesn’t come cheap, but it offers the whole SEO package.
Article Generator ensures your site is frequently updated with fresh content. This extension, which costs 9.99 euros, generates articles based on keywords and sources that you specify. You can set up Article Generator to create articles with links removed, author removed, links deleted, advertising added, expiration and even the original article integrated with a lightbox effect. Perhaps the best thing about this extension is that it’s very well supported. Questions are always answered within 24 hours.
Price: 9.99 euros
RSSeo! is well worth its 49 euro price tag. Besides letting you monitor your own site’s SEO efforts, it lets you monitor those of your competitors. You can easily index all of your site’s pages; change meta keywords, descriptions and titles on the fly; get an SEO grade for each individual page; create sitemaps; and set redirects for old links. Essentially, it does everything!
Price: 49 euros
sh404SEF is by far the most popular Joomla extension for URL management. Download it and you’ll quickly see why. With ease, users can create short-and-sweet search engine- and human ear-friendly URLs. They can also remove duplicate URLs, customize page titles and descriptions, and satisfy Google SEO recommendations. What’s more, sh404SEF offers complete protection against flooding attacks, spamming of input forms, malicious page requests and other things which make web development a misery.
Price: $35 per year