Content Management Systems – Joomla and SEO Integrations

Featured Image Joomla versus WordPress

If you feel that WordPress a bit restrictive in its functionalities and limits your ability to execute your creative ideas, then you may want to take a look at the Joomla platform.

Similar to the WordPress platform, Joomla has the potential to outperform its competitors with its extra functionality, inbuilt SEO integrations as well and outstanding Extension system. All things considered, Joomla is a fantastic Content Management System that rivals the likes of the popular WordPress, but if you’re hesitant to switch your website to an entirely new platform, let’s go over some of Joomla’s standout features and see what makes Joomla a worthy contender as a CMS for your business.

Best of Both Worlds

It’s no secret that Joomla shares a lot of features with WordPress. The most obvious example is the content builder/editor. If you’ve become accustomed to how you produce content through the WordPress platform, then you’ll be happy to know that the experience on the Joomla side is almost identical. The builder/editor comes equipped with all the necessary tools you’ve become familiar with through Wordpress, or rather any other CMS on the web. Having such a familiar and standardised content builder is extremely handy if you ever choose to switch platforms. It also saves a lot of time of not having to learn an entirely new system to produce content, rather you can jump into it right away. However, for the most part, most of the similarities between the platforms tend to end here. The more time you spend with the platform, the more you start to notice some other features that aren’t present within WordPress. You may have noticed things like their categorisation that allows a more fluid navigation for the user or their Extension system that allows a collaboration of various third party tools that build upon the Joomla platform. Lastly, there are their integrated SEO capabilities that are immediately available from the start, without the need of installing another plugin. Above all, the greatest part of the Joomla platform is that it can cater to all types of content creators. If you happen to be starting your career as a content producer you can easily start producing content with the existing tools and features. But if you happen to be working for a large scale enterprise, then the Joomla platform can easily provide an apt experience. Their advanced features, as well as their extensive Extension system, allows larger scale enterprises to implement content in a more professional manner. Whichever side you as a content creator may lie upon, it’s undeniable the Joomla’s flexibility to provide an experience for any level of content production makes this platform a very worthy alternative to a Content Management System.

Joomla Builder / Editor

Content Management Systems - Joomla and SEO Integrations

 

WordPress Builder/Editor:Content Management Systems - Joomla and SEO Integrations - 2

 

SEO Capabilities From The Get Go

As many of you know, we’re big fans of SEO and what we love most from Joomla is that you given access to some of the most basic SEO capabilities from the immediate get go. Unlike some platforms *cough* WordPress *cough* having the ability to edit and modify the necessary elements for SEO can be extremely helpful. Out of the box, WordPress lacks any ability to edit or modify any favorable elements for SEO (meta title, meta descriptions etc.) other than renaming media assets or including specific keywords within URL links. But in Joomla case, those necessary functions are available from the start so you can easily edit those elements to further optimise your content for search engines. Past their content builder, you should see the Publishing Menu. This is where you’ll find some other features such as scheduling and assigning an author to the content post. But more importantly, you’ll find boxes to edit the all important meta tags.  If you know your way around SEO then you should be familiar with elements such as meta description, keywords, and Robot that’s conveniently located within. These editable elements allow SEO specialists to input valuable researched keywords to optimise content so they’ll become more favourable within search engine rankings. The fact that this simple feature is included from the start already puts Joomla above of the rest of the other platforms. You won’t need to install a third party app to edit and modify some of the most basic SEO capabilities *cough* WordPress *cough*.

That’s not the only SEO capability that we love about Joomla, rather the platform includes another SEO function you don’t typically see on other CMS platforms. A heated debate going on within the SEO industry is the importance of URL design. Some say that having a concise URL that includes certain keywords may have an impact on SEO. The way URL is perceived by a user, how easy it is to interpret and read the URL as well as having an important highly searched keyword being included in the URL can have an effect on how we look at URL design. Ideally, you would want a URL to include the specific keyword for that specific page. But sometimes, platforms tend to have their own visions for URL designations and on occasion, you’ll come across a URL that just baffles your mind. Have you ever encountered a website like this one:

www.seomelbourne.com.au/topic/post/3/?option=com_content&view=article532/buyer-behaviour/2

Platforms have to adhere to their own rules and guidelines so creating a neat and tidy URL may not be an option for some. Since that’s the case for some platforms, having a unoptimised URL may hinder your search ranking results. A lot of people have an opinion on this matter if a short and succinct URL affects search rankings, whatever the case we believe that covering all efforts for optimisation is a safe bet. 

One reason for this method for URL structure is due to the platforms ways of organizing and categorizing all the individual web pages. In most cases, it isn’t particularly useful and is often seen as a hindrance due to its structure and an illogical string of text. But Joomla takes care of this problem and restructures the URL to be more Search Engine Friendly (SEF). It may turn a long URL into something more manageable like

www.seomelbourne.com.au/post/buyer-behaviour/2

Having a URL that is SEF means that search engines can easily identify your targeted keywords for that particular web page. In the above example, you can clearly identify that the web page belongs to a topic of Buyer Behaviour. If that certain page keyword focus was buyer behaviour, having a URL consistent with the focus keyword contributes to the overall search engine optimisation efforts. The goal for most SEO tasks is to not just have included the focus keyword within your core content, but rather have a consistent keyword present throughout all favourable search engine elements, which includes URLs. I would love to say it’s as simple as flicking a switch to enable this function, however it’s going to need a little bit of tinkering to enable this helpful feature. For more on this matter check out Joomla’s official documentation. If you want to find out more on URL structure and their impact towards search engines and optimisations go check out QuickSprouts‘ analysis

Extensions and Their Purpose

Out of the box, Joomla performs as you would expect any content management system on the internet. It comes equipped with all the tools needed to immediately start producing content. But what if you plan on launching a new email newsletter but you need a method to acquire those important email addresses from your audience? What if you wanted to encourage your audience to share your content on other social media platforms? To achieve these sorts of functionality the need for third party tools are an absolute must. In the past, we’ve spoken how WordPress uses the plugin system to enable extra features and functionality to any WordPress website. The extra functionality those third party tools can range from adding a specific feature not offered by the current version of the platform or even transform your entire website to be more pleasing to the eyes. Joomla is no different, however, they take it to another level by having 5 different types of Extensions that can extend the life of the platform.

First off let’s try to understand what ‘Extensions’ are. Essentially these are additional tools or bits of software that add a specific functionality that is not present in the current version of Joomla. Say you wanted to include an email subscription sign up, but at the moment, Joomla doesn’t offer this feature. So in order to include an email subscription sign up feature installing an Extension is necessary. To achieve this, simply search the Joomla directory for an Extension that can achieve this feature. Install the Extension and enable it through the Joomla dashboard. And now your Joomla website has a newsletter sign up feature. But an Extension can be much more than just an additional feature. In fact, Extensions can be broken down into 5 different categories; Components, Modules, Plugins, Templates, and Languages.

Components are up first since they are possible the biggest and most complex out of the Extension family. They are often considered as their own application and their entire purpose is to present content in a specific way. For example, say you wanted to introduce a forum for your audience to engage and interact with one another. A forum structure presents content in an entirely different manner in comparison to say written content or an image gallery. Or say you wanted to turn your website online store and wanted an eCommerce functionality. Components set out to provide a new experience or function that can define an entire website. So you can understand as to why Components are referred to as their own ‘application’ due to the sheer complexity of the nature of some Components. 

Next are Modules and in contract add a smaller and simpler function compared to a Component. Instead of serving many uses, a module entire existence is to have one singular function. We’ve mentioned of wanting to include an email sign up box and this would be a clear example of a module. It has a clear and simple purpose of gathering those email address for the user. Some Modules also work in cohesion with a Component to add a function to the already complex Component. One major difference is that Modules are assigned a ‘space’ within a specified web page. Unlike Components being the core focus of a web page and thus typically reserving the center of a web page, multiple Modules can be assigned to difference spaces within a web page.

Now the next Extension may confuse those who are familiar with WordPress, just remember that even though they share the same name/term they function entirely differently from one another. With that being said, the next Extension is the Plugin. Plugin’s often worked alongside with information inputted by the audience and turned into meaningful information. For example, let’s say you’re working on your Contact Us Page for your business. It has all the necessary information you would typically see, but what if you wanted to add a little map so that someone can easily identify your location and perhaps use that map as a guide. Google Maps by Reumer does a great job of included a Google Map insert into your Joomla website. While they don’t produce any significant in terms of functionality, they still serve a purpose by enabling these smaller but helpful features you won’t see with the vanilla version of Joomla.

Templates are pretty straightforward and work just like a Theme. They define how a Joomla website looks both in terms of design and aesthetics. As we’ve previously mentioned how design elements can affect the user experience. The importance of how a website looks can be a deciding factor when it comes to readability, how the audience consumes content as well as the overall speed of the website (how fast it can load on devices etc.).

Lastly, there are languages and they do what you would expect. They essentially translate the entire Joomla website to any compatible language package.

SEO Extension Support

At the time of writing this, no content management system available on the internet provide a ready to go experience whereby a creator can easily implement simple SEO techniques. A lot of platforms come close, implementing certain SEO elements from the immediate get go. Joomla does a wonderful job, by having the basic ability to edit meta tags such as descriptions and titles, and we applaud them for that. But every CMS available on the internet requires the use of additional support with their SEO. Until SEO becomes a requirement as is standardize throughout all content delivery systems, the necessity of these useful extensions/plugins will always be in demand. So let’s take a quick look at some of the more popular Extensions available for Joomla.

EFSEO (Easy FrontEnd SEO)

To be able to craft perfect meta tags optimised for search engines takes some skill. First, you need to have a great understanding of how search engines operate and the relationship they have with meta tags. From that point on, crafting an apt meta tag that suits both the content creators preference as well as adheres to search engines guidelines will require some learning. But if you just happen to be short on time, or you’re relatively new to the industry than Easy Front End SEO may be a perfect entry point into understanding how meta tags works. We know that Joomla offers the ability to edit meta tags as soon as you start producing content. EFSEO takes it a step further and helps to automate the creating meta tags process by generating an appropriate meta tag based on the provided content. The Extension works by crawling through the content you’ve provided on a specific page. It combs through all the keywords and phrases used and identifies which keyword should be the ‘focus’ of that specific page. Then based on the content provided it generates a meta description and title that adheres to search engines favorably. It makes sure to include the specified keyword as well as keeping under the character constraints (160 for description, 55 for titles). While we don’t recommend the auto-generation feature to become in-charge of your entire website, we do understand the appeal of having this automated process clean up meta tags in a matter of minutes. But seriously, though, take a weekend to understand how meta tags work and learn how to start to draft an ideal meta description for your desired web pages. You’ll thank yourself in the long run.

JSiteMap

So by now, we’ve talked about the many different elements that influence how websites rank on search engines. You can spend time working on your keyword integrations, making sure your assets all adhere to specific keywords or even making sure all your meta tags are in order. Another important consideration for ranking better on search engines is having a sitemap for your website. If you’re unaware, a Sitemap is a file that represents your entire website. Its purpose is to communicate towards search engines and tells them whether you’re website has been updating or how often it is frequently updated. All these important bits of information is taken into consideration by search engines and used as one criterion for your search ranking results. The JSiteMap completely automates the generation of your sitemap for you. Taking the time needed to create a sitemap as well as the ongoing maintenance for the sitemap will require some time and effort, so by removing the hassle of generating one for your Joomla website is always appreciated and welcomed by many.

 

So let’s do a quick recap. We went through the similarities shared between the ever popular WordPress and Joomla, citing similarities with their content builder/editor. But we then started exploring the other features not offered by WordPress, things such as their SEO capabilities and their superior Extension system. Those elements alone make this platform a strong contender that is able to deliver a Content Management System that is worthy of any business regardless of scale or experience. We then discovered some of the popular SEO Extensions for Joomla. With a carefully curated combination of selected Extensions, Joomla can be a powerful platform that favours a lot of SEO efforts. Sadly we’ve only covered only a small fraction of Joomla’s capabilties as a content platform. Hopefully, in the future, we’ll have another opportunity to cover some of the more advanced features and concepts. But for now, we’re going to examine the next platform, Magento and see if this platform has what it takes to compete again the popular WordPress and the mighty Joomla.