How to enable SEO on Joomla

I know, there are many FAQs on Joomla SEO. I still want to point out the essential steps and related information here on Joomla has built-in SEO functionality.(SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization). The SEO tab in Global Configuration (in Administration backend)takes care of global SEO settings for your Joomla site. The tricky part is enabling search engine friendly URLs. If you are wondering what are those good for, here's an example: A non-sef URL: The Joomla SEF version of the previous URL:,com_weblinks/Itemid,22/ 
3rd party SEF extensions may display "friendlier" URLs, such as 
These URLs look like static sites for SE crawlers(which is good), and may be easier to memorize and more relevant to your human visitors(especially the ones like the last example). Aditionally, keywords in urls get you a higher search engine positioning in results.

Step 1: check SEF URLs requirements:

There are a few requirements for SEF URLs to work properly(the other SEO configuration options work regardless you have SEF URLs enabled or disabled): You need to run the Apache Web server. You need mod_rewrite module on apache. Most hosting companies have that module installed. Furthermore, you need Apache configuration to allow .htaccess files. You can easily check your Apache configuration (among other system settings) by going to System->System information and selecting the php info tab in your Joomla administration backend. There's an "Apache" section and a "loaded modules" subsection there. mod_rewrite should be listed among those modules. If all went well, you're ready for the next step.  

Step 2: Configure SEF URLs and rename the htaccess.txt

  This step requires a FTP client or a web filemanager. (such as cPanel's Filemanager). That will allow you to rename your htaccess.txt and/or revert to non-SEf URL's if something goes wrong. All you have to do is: open your Joomla Administration and enter global configuration, select the SEO tab open your FTP client or the online filemanager for your website, and rename the htaccess.txt file in your Joomla root folder to .htaccess (note that you MUST include the leading dot) A note to Windows users: Explorer does not allow leading dot filenames. To rename the file under Win32, you need to click Start->Run, then type cmd (this opens a command line when you hit OK) then change dir to your local joomla folder (e.g. cd "c:easyphpwwwjoomla" <ENTER>), and issue the following command: ren htaccess.txt .htaccess Switch back to your Joomla andministration web browser window, click on "Yes" on the "Search Engine friendly URLs" line, and push the "Save button". Click on Site->Preview site in new window to check the results and you're done. If unsuccesful, go to step 3. 

Step 3: I screwed up

Don't worry! It happens all the time. There is a great chance that you get 500 (Internal server) errors, if something does not work. Make sure you have the .htaccess file (with the leading dot) in your Joomla root folder. You can also check file's content with your ftp client or filemanager and see if the mambo header comments and the apache directives are there (RewriteRule lines, etc) If this is ok, your hosting provider could have the .htaccess overrides disabled, so you need to contact them. They may also have the override filename changed in apache config. Meantime, you need to get your site back online and working until those problems are solved.


Here's how it's done: open your filemanager or FTP client, and use it to rename your .htaccess back to htaccess.txt Next, open your configuration.php file (wich is also located in your Joomla root folder) and change the $mosConfig_sef = '1'; line to: $mosConfig_sef = '0'; Save the configuration.php and you're back to non-sef, but working URLs.

How to search engine optimize your Joomla CMS website in 10 steps.

1. Keyword Use in Title Tag - do not stuff keywords and make sure they are in the content part of the page and appear in the blue bar of your browser.The number one factor in ranking a page on search engines is the title tag. These are the words in the source of a page in Choose the title of an article very carefully. Joomla will use the title of the article in the title tag (what appears in the blue bar). It will also be the text used in any insite links (see #5 and 6) 2. Anchor Text of Inbound Link Anchor text is the text that appear underlined and in blue (unless it's been styled) for a link from one webpage to another. Try to get some inbound links to your article using the keywords you want to be ranked for. Two ways are to do this are through online press services such as or simply by networking. 3. Global Link Popularity of Site (PageRank) How many pages are linking to your page is called link popularity, or in Google, PageRank. The more sites link to you, the better. Joomla is a CMS that helps you add content quickly. Create one quality content page per day. Quality content is the most important factor to getting bound links. For a site that will perform well, you eventually need 200 odd pages of content. This is the important point. QUICK SEO IS DEAD. The only way to perform well in SEO now is to have a rich content site. 4. Age of Site When was the domain of the site registered? Nothing you can do about this, but there is evidence that suggests that how long you have your domain registered for makes a difference (spam sites are not registered for long). Go and extend your domain registration for a couple of years. 5. Link Popularity within the Site This is the number of links to the page from inside your own domain. Because of #2, it's critical that you link to articles from within your site using the right anchor text. Make sure that you: Use the linked titles setting Make good used of the Most Read, Related Items and Latest News modules. Have a sitemap component linked to right from your homepage 6. Topical Relevance of Inbound Links and Popularity of Linking Site It’s important that you get quality inbound links. This means they have to be from a site that is topically related to your, and one that has a high PageRank. It is worth submitting once to directories (then forget about it). Type “” into google and contact the top 20 returns for links. Link Popularity of Site in Topic Community Make sure you have a blog on your site, and network with others in your topical community. Make sure you frequently link to other blogs in your topical community. 7. Keyword Use in Body Text The keyword density of the phrase you are optimizing for in the content of the page. Still important, the German study from Sistrix identified some interesting results. Targeted keywords in the first and last paragraphs. There is a simple trick here, write your quality content, and then use the tool of your choice to find the keyword density. THEN, take the top three words and add them to the meta keywords in the parameters part of the page (in Joomla admin). This is somewhat backwards for some maybe, it optimizes a page for what you actually wrote, rather than trying to write a page optimized for certain words (which I always find difficult). Keywords in H2-H6 headline tags seem to have an influence on the rankings while keywords in H1 headline tags seem to be getting less valuable. Modify the output of the core content component through a template override file. Using keywords in bold or strong tags - slight effect, same with img alt tags and filenames. Additional notes: A couple of other factors at the bottom of measured/estimated influence. 8. File Size The file size doesn’t seem to influence the ranking of a web page on Google although smaller sites tend to have slightly higher rankings. Optimize those images! 9. Clean URL (Joomla SEF) Although Keywords in the file name (URL)  seem to have a positive effect, a URL with few parameters (?id=123, etc.) is important. Turn on Joomla SEF and make sure to use .htaccess file.   You will need to have mod_rewrite working. 10. Utilize Your Error Pages. Too often companies forget about error pages (such as 404 errors). Error pages should always re-direct "lost" users to valuable, text-based pages. Placing text links to major site pages is an excellent practice. Visit for an example of a well-utilized error page. To make the error page fit with the rest of the theme of your site, create an uncategorized article and then copy the source as viewed on a webpage, and put that into the 404 file.

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