Are you having trouble getting your Joomla website ranked on Google? If so you’ve come to the right place.
This article is going to give a top level overview of some of the most important things you can do to your Joomla website in 2019 to help it rank in Google.
But before we get stuck in I must start off by saying that it’s not going to be easy.
Because unfortunately in 2019 Joomla still has some pretty serious SEO flaws and definitely doesn’t compare WordPress on the SEO front out of the box, which is why the majority of new business websites are being built in WordPress
And although there’s probably someone out there that’s going to say “Technically Dan… Joomla has the ability to do everything WordPress can do” – the reality is that it’s going to take way more time and be much harder to achieve for most people.
With that being said, I have been able to produce some serious SEO results with websites built on Joomla. Because as the old adage goes “Content is king” and “where there’s a will there’s a way”.
So let’s get stuck in and tackle the number one most important thing I see on Joomla websites that aren’t ranking in Google…
Ensure Your Website Can Be Indexed By Google
This one step could be a complete game changer for you if you are getting zero traffic from Google. Because it is by far the most common reason I see Joomla websites not appearing in the search engines at all.
To put it simply, there is a setting in Joomla that can literally tell the search engines not to list your website.
This is known as the “robots” setting.
The robots setting on your website must be set to “Index, Follow” if you want to rank on Google.
To do this go to System > Global Configuration and scroll down to where you see the Robots select box.
Click on the Robots select box and ensure you have “Index, Follow” selected.
Lastly, scroll back up and click the save button.
Ensure You Have Unique Meta Descriptions
Another common problem a lot of Joomla websites have is they will have a global meta description set for a large amount of their pages.
The whole point of your meta description should be to get people to click on your page from Google – so you 100% want to be writing unique and compelling meta descriptions for all pages.
I would even go as far as saying you are better off leaving the meta description filed blank than having a duplicate.
So if there is any generic meta description set when you go to System > Global Configuration, you want to get rid of it ASAP.
After you get rid of the duplicate meta description issue on your Joomla website, you will want to go into each menu item individually and enter in a manual meta description that better suits the pages and gets a higher CTR (click through rate).
Turn On Search Engine Friendly URLs & URL Rewriting
This is another big issue when it comes to Joomla websites performing in the search engines.
We know for a fact that the URL of your website page massively impacts it’s position in Google.
And by default, Joomla doesn’t give us much to work with on that front.
The URLs aren’t going to be what you expect them to be and they won’t do to well in Google.
To fix this, go to System > Global Configuration and make sure that both the “Search Engine Friendly URLs” and “Use URL Rewriting settings are set to “true”.
And voila – you will now have clean URLs that are set by your menu item alias.
Submit Your Joomla Site To The Google Search Console
When you submit your Joomla website to Google’s Search Console you gain the ability to get pages indexed faster and gain vital data to help you iron out any technical SEO issues that are preventing you from getting the Google traffic you deserve.
If you are unsure how to submit your website to the Google Search Console, Hubspot have created a great tutorial on how to do so here.
Install A Sitemap, Then Submit It To Google’s Search Console
When you create a sitemap and submit it to the search engines, you are literally telling them where your pages are. Which makes it easier for them to find them and in turn index them.
The 2 go to plugins for Joomla sitemaps are: OSMap and JSitemap – I usually prefer to use OSMap, but there are some websites that struggle to work with OSMap and when that problem arises, JSitemap is usually the solution.
When you have your sitemap created, don’t forget to go back into Google’s Search Console and submit your sitemap.
Remove Meta Keywords
This setting won’t necessarily improve your website’s SEO, but it is definitely worth doing.
A lot of Joomla developers still include the meta keywords tag in their websites code. And although their intentions are good, the results can be disastrous.
Because the meta keywords tag hasn’t been used by Google for over a decade, and all putting it there actually does for you in 2019 is give your competitors a way to see what keywords you are targeting in Google.
As you can image, there are some things that you want to keep to your self, and highly profitable keywords that you are making money from is one of them.
To do this, go into System > Global Configuration and make sure that there is nothing inside the “Site Meta Keywords” input field.
Optimise Your Images & Stop Joomla From Preventing Them Being Indexed
The standard robots.txt file on a Joomla website will automatically prevent search engines from indexing the images on your website.
This can cause disastrous results for companies who offer services where people like to look at images before buying (think conservatories, kitchens, clothing etc.)
Some may argue that the intent behind Google image searchers is not to buy products or hire services. But the truth is, any marketer who accurately tracks conversions will know that this is simply not the case.
I actually believe that Google’s image search is one of the most underestimated places to get free traffic. Because if someone is looking for kitchen design inspiration, and they look through Google’s image search at kitchens and like the look of one of your images – you’ve just acquired a highly qualified visitor to your website.
And there is some serious traffic to be had!
Here’s an example of what optimising for Google’s image search can do for you:
Is Joomla Preventing Your Images Being Indexed?
The standard robots.txt file in Joomla will look like the following:
# If the Joomla site is installed within a folder such as at # e.g. www.example.com/joomla/ the robots.txt file MUST be # moved to the site root at e.g. www.example.com/robots.txt # AND the joomla folder name MUST be prefixed to the disallowed # path, e.g. the Disallow rule for the /administrator/ folder # MUST be changed to read Disallow: /joomla/administrator/ # # For more information about the robots.txt standard, see: # http://www.robotstxt.org/orig.html # # For syntax checking, see: # http://www.sxw.org.uk/computing/robots/check.html User-agent: * Disallow: /administrator/ Disallow: /cache/ Disallow: /cli/ Disallow: /components/ Disallow: /images/ Disallow: /includes/ Disallow: /installation/ Disallow: /language/ Disallow: /libraries/ Disallow: /logs/ Disallow: /media/ Disallow: /modules/ Disallow: /plugins/ Disallow: /templates/ Disallow: /tmp/
Go to yoursite.com/robots.txt to see if your robots file is the same. If it is – your images will not be indexed by Google.
There are three folders here that are being blocked that will likely contain images you want to get indexed by Google. These are the “images” folder, the “media” folder and the “templates” folder.
To stop this file preventing them from being indexed you’ll need to access your website files via an FTP client like Filezilla.
Connect to your website through FTP and look for a file called “robots.txt” in the root.
Edit this file and place a “#” before the line.
Your Joomla website’s robots.txt file should now look like the following:
# If the Joomla site is installed within a folder such as at # e.g. www.example.com/joomla/ the robots.txt file MUST be # moved to the site root at e.g. www.example.com/robots.txt # AND the joomla folder name MUST be prefixed to the disallowed # path, e.g. the Disallow rule for the /administrator/ folder # MUST be changed to read Disallow: /joomla/administrator/ # # For more information about the robots.txt standard, see: # http://www.robotstxt.org/orig.html # # For syntax checking, see: # http://www.sxw.org.uk/computing/robots/check.html User-agent: * Disallow: /administrator/ Disallow: /cache/ Disallow: /cli/ Disallow: /components/ # Disallow: /images/ Disallow: /includes/ Disallow: /installation/ Disallow: /language/ Disallow: /libraries/ Disallow: /logs/ # Disallow: /media/ Disallow: /modules/ Disallow: /plugins/ # Disallow: /templates/ Disallow: /tmp/
Then simply save and upload your updated robots.txt file to make your images indexable through Google.
You can learn more about image SEO in Joomla by watching this video I shot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3VMm4Q1kuM
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