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Question Joomla "101"

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3 years 7 months ago - 3 years 7 months ago #161 by sozzled
Joomla "101" was created by sozzled
In another topic I rambled on about "SEO nirvana" and I know that I overdid it. So, I figured I would try to make things a little easier.

One thing we seem to take for granted is that we all know how to configure a freshly-installed version of Joomla, right? Funny as it seems, everyone has their own differing opinion about which things to change and which things to leave alone. After using Joomla for nearly 9 years, a lot of the "stuff" that we've always done since the days of J! 1.5 is so laughable, it's embarrassing to admit it. For better or worse - we're perfectly entitled to our own wrong opinions - people who have used Joomla for years will adhere to certain principles and nothing will change their opinions.

I figured it was probably a good time we had a discussion about some core "principles" in setting up a Joomla website. As a start, the following screenshot shows a slightly modified, almost-vanilla J! 3.5 global configuration screen.



"Out of the box", there are a few changes that people really ought to consider making. Of all the very important differences between J! 3.x and its predecessors (viz. J! 2.5 and earlier), the main one is that the Joomla router is simpler to configure sites to use semantic - we all know them as search engine friendy (SEF) - URLs ; and why would any of us these days do anything differently?

While it's true (to an extent) Joomla has always "enabled" SEF URLs, it's the form that the URL takes that is dependent on the second top-right setting shown in the screenshot above. Yes, it's important to use URL rewriting (if your webhost allows it) but we've got to remember that many believe Joomla is 3-clicks-and-hey-presto-instant-website and they don't read the instruction manual first. So, before people think that changing Use URL Rewriting = Yes is a plenary invitation to "HTTP 500 hell", remember to rename that file htaccess.txt to "dot"-htaccess.

The next thing that most people do is take the lazy way out and leave unchanged the setting Include Site Name in Page Titles = Before. I guess, if you're building a one-page, static website that's never going to change, perhaps this setting may not be too important. But let's say your website name is "The Lake Lakemba Ladies' Quilting Guild" and you have a page with the name "Tips to ensure your cross stitches align better", this is how Google would render your search entry:



So my advice is to change the setting Include Site Name in Page Titles = No

The next setting that people are invited to change Site Meta Description. Go ahead, hover your mouse over the label and what do you see?

"Enter a description of the overall website that may be used by search engines. Generally, about 20 words is optimal."

Apart from the clumsy English (there should be a full stop before the word "that" and the implication that this text "may be used by seach engines" should indicated as a separate sentence), here are the facts:
  1. If you're too darned lazy to write a better description in your menu items, categories and articles, the Site Meta Description will be used for everything on your site; and
  2. Perhaps 20 words is "optimal" but search engines truncate everything after 160 characters.

Lastly, the setting Show Joomla Version should never be changed. It's preferable to remove altogether the fact that your website meta data was generated by Joomla. Leaving the setting Show Joomla Version = No generates the following code in all your webpages:
<meta name="generator" content="Joomla! - Open Source Content Management" />

That, in itself is pretty bad news because it stands out like a large target advertising to "bad people" that you built your site with Joomla.

If, however, you change the setting Show Joomla Version = Yes, the following code is generated on your webpages (for example):
<meta name="generator" content="Joomla! - Open Source Content Management - Version 3.5.1" />

Now your site looks like a large target, with lurid neon arrows inviting people to "attack me, please!".

There are many discussions on the internet about why it's a good idea to remove the meta "generator name" altogether and techniques on how to remove it from Joomla. I recommend that people say "bye-bye" to the Joomla meta generator bait; takes about a minute to do it. That's for a further topic of discussion.

Read my blog and
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3 years 7 months ago #162 by Laurie
Replied by Laurie on topic Joomla "101"
I've always added the site title after. Better for SEO?

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3 years 7 months ago - 3 years 7 months ago #165 by sozzled
Replied by sozzled on topic Joomla "101"
Nope.

As I said, unless you have a one-page, static (virtually never-changing) website, adding the site title in the global configuration is, in my opinion, lazy and doesn't really help the SEO.

It all depends on what you want your SERPs to look like. Using nothing more than the global configuration option, you could display all of your indexable content (and browser page titles) like

<site-name> - <menu-item>

or like

<menu-item> - <site-name>

or, for each indexable item[/i], you could have something like

<site-name> » <menu-item> <subject>

To give you a "for instance", look at this entry from Google



There's no precise science on this.

Read my blog and
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