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Search Engine Optimization

SEO Basics

Keyword Selection

One thing before we start selecting our keywords: Google recently aims to be less keyword-driven, but more toward themes or topics. Google will usually be able to define your topic from the text you write, not just from the same keyword repeated over and over. This does not mean keywords are not important, but you should create diversity, by playing with synonyms and alternative terms.

Start off with just using common sense and build an initial list of keywords. From there, expand it with synonyms or single / multiple variations. Also, use the search suggestions that Google offers at the bottom of the search page: it offers frequently searched phrases, as you can see for these suggestions as alternatives for the search phrase joomla seo:


H1 - H6 Headings

Making sure your readers have no issues reading your text requires you to structure it. Especially larger pages should not be written as a massive block of text. Structure it with paragraphs and split them in nicely readable chunks using HTML headings. Ideally, the main heading should be an H1 (this is the <h1> element in your HTML) and subsequent headings H2's. If you need more hierarchy, you could even use H3's, but don't go deeper than that.

This structure is good for your readers but also helps Google to find structure and hierarchy in your pages. The most important thing to do is to make sure there is a logical structure in your headings. Ideally, start with a H1, but starting with a H2 will not kill your SEO rankings either. The next heading-level should be either an H2 or H3, whatever comes next, similar as you would normally do when you build a Word-document.


URL Structure

By carefully creating a logical category structure both people and search engines will find it easier to understand your site structure, and it also helps to maintain the site. What can often help is to make sure the category structure and the menu-structure are set up in a similar way. On Joomlaseo.com, I have the categories for Checklist, Performance, Extensions and Blog, and you can easily see that this is exactly how I have set up my menu.

Avoid going too deep with your URL structure. You should not go further than 2 levels deep. Going deeper then this is first of all confusing for users, but also makes the purpose of the site less visible for search engines.

Avoid more then 7 menu-items per menu

As well as avoiding deep link structures, you should limit the number of items per menu. Users often get confused or bored when more then 7 menu items are visible in a menu, and confused users often leave the site (=increased bounce-rate = bad SEO rankings). Instead of stuffing all your menu-items in one menu, you should either use sub-menu's, or fly-out menu's (make sure they work on mobile devices).


Internal Link Structure

Linking internally is the practice of creating links within the same domain. This helps to create a hierarchy between pages. It also helps Google to determine what are the important pages in your site. Linking internally is almost as good as creating links from external domains to your site. However,many sites forget to make use of this, this is really an under-rated part of SEO.

Where for incoming external links you are depending on other site owners to create these for you, internal links are in full control of yourself. Make sure to link to relevant pages within your site, and especially make sure to use your anchor text wisely. Make sure to link wisely: emphasize the really important pages, do not just spread them around randomly. While many people not make use of this feature at all, others just create them blindly just for the sake of having them. Make sure to first determine the most important pages of your site or pages that already bring you a lot of traffic. You can easily determine these tools like Google Analytics.

Also you can use the URL-structure you created earlier: pages high up in the URL structure (like your main menu) are generally more important than pages depper in the site. Those are also good candidates for internal linking. However, this is just a rulke of thumb. In specific cases, when more relevant, of course you can link to any page that you think fit.


Use Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs supply an excellent method for automatically creating internal links. Also, both search engines and users love them, because they will never get lost on your site, especially if it is a large or complicated site. Especially sites with a deep URL structure (which of course you should avoid) are much easier to underrstand when you have a breadcrumbs module published. With Joomla, all you have to do is to publish the standard module that comes with every Joomla build.


Category structure

We already talked about the benefits of creating a URL structure using your categories. This also creates excellent internal links, p[rovided you set your articles to show the active category and also set it as a link.


Readable (SEF) URL's

SEF - Search Engine Friendly. Creating easily understandable URL's is very important. If you look at a URL, you should already be able to guess the subject of the page the URL is created for. Ideally, also the focus keyword for that particular page should be included in the URL. The URL is actually a quite important SEO parameter, so pay attention to this. In many CMS's, like Joomla, it is very important to choose a base-configuration for your URL-creation. Getting this right from the start is extremely important. Having to change this in a later stage can cause you all kinds of trouble!


And So Much More...

I intended this to be a concise guide to SEO, but there is no such thing as shortcuts when it comes to being a warrior in the search engine arena. To be sure, these practices and tips will work wonders for your website. Just remember that the competition is either doing more than you to win in search engine results or he is doing less. It is a balance between what will satisfy and how much time/money you are willing to invest in Search Engine Optimization.

Take a moment and really look at our site here at PCBest.com. We practice what we preach, from our page URLs to our image mouseovers. Yes, it takes a little extra effort. Personally, we believe that it is worth doing even if it adds labor and cost to the project.

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