Joomla SEO DIY Guide to SH404SEF

blogSearch Engine Optimization

Confused and don’t know which Joomla component/module you need to use for Joomla? This topic will cover search engine optimizing a Joomla 1.5 website.

If you build it they will not come!

The web or shall we say Google is filled with billions of results. These results are based on search engine algorithms which take into account, title tags, content, backlinking, typography tags and more.

If you have not enabled any type of SEO on your joomla installation you are probably getting really weird URLs like this.


If you have enabled the native Joomla SEF URLs option then the above URL is probably the following.

A few points Joomla SEO out of the box is lacking below:

  • No Title Tag Support – You cannot customize your title.
  • You cannot customize the Meta Description per page
  • You cannot point duplicate urls to one url
  • URL’s cannot be customized
  • Sitemaps are not built in
  • NON Existent built in 404 pages.

And tons more options that are needed to optimize your joomla site.

Requirements for Joomla SEO

  • Joomla 1.5 installed in a Linux environment
  • Ftp Client we suggest Filezilla (its free)
  • Sh404 component (not free but a must for anybody trying to do seo)

After you have completed these tasks you will need to log into your joomla admin panel and follow these steps below.

Enabling Joomla SEO

  • Click the top left menu icon labeled “site”
  • choose “global configuration”
  • On the right hand side you will see three options
  • Select yes for “search engine friendly URLs”
  • Select yes for “use apache mod_rewrite”
  • Leave “add suffix to URLs” at no
  • Next open up Filezilla
  • At the top of Filezilla you will see a menu item called “file”. Click on file and you will see a link called “Sitemanager”
  • Once in Sitemanager click “new site”. Your host will be your domain name (ours would be without the www.)
  • From the drop down labeled “logontype” choose “normal”.
  • Put in your username and password. You can get this from your hosting company if you do not know what it is. If you have cpanel or plesk then try and use the username you use to log into your web hosting account. Next you will hit connect.
  • Once connected you will browse into the root of your hosting account or where you installed Joomla (“public_html” and sometimes “/html”). You will know you are in the right place when you see folders labeled “includes, administrator, images, media,libraries,componenets”.
  • Look below the folders and you will see a filed labeled “htaccess.txt” you need to right click this file and click “rename”. Rename this file so it reads “.htaccess”. Yes put a period in front of the word “htaccess” so it reads “.htaccess” and hit enter. If you are on a windows hosting solution then you will have to keep reading to find your solution.

Congratulations out of the box Joomla SEO is complete.

Installing The SH404SEF Component

The configuration options below are for a contextual type of Joomla website. We will be posting more for eocmmerce and other sites like jomsocial, magaizne and news websites.

  • Log into your back end administration panel
  • Go to the menu item labeled “extensios”and click on “install/uninstall”
  • Click browse and search for the zipped sh404 componenet file you downloaded from the web
  • Choose that file and hit “upload file & install”
  • This is the basic install and you are ready to start configuring the component

Configuring the SH404SEF Component

  • Go to the menu item labeled “components” and click on the SH404sef component
  • Below you will see buttons, click on “sh404sef configuration”
  • ON this page you will see quite a few options and we are going to cover a basic joomla install seo setup
  • Choose yes on the radio button labeled “Enabled”
  • Next scroll down and make sure file suffix is “.html”
  • below that choose “index.html” as your default index file
  • Choose a 404 page on the next row. You might want to go back and create a error page in your articles manager. This is usefull for when someone lands on your website and the page is no longer available, they will still be able to find their way around your websitee

Plugins Tab

  • Go back up and choose the tab labeled plugin’s
  • You have allot of options here and we are only focusing on SEO for your content. Every option has a question mark next to it, please read each one. Some of these options you might want to set to yes depending upon the type of site you are setting up
  • “Use Title Alias” should be set to no
  • “Use category alias” should be set to no
  • “Use section alias” should be set to no
  • “Use menu alias” should be set to no
  • “Show Section” should be set to no
  • “Show Category” should be set to no but can be set to yes if you would like to have the categorey displayed as a folder previous to the url. FOr example
  • “Insert content table name” should be set to no
  • “Default table views name” should read Table
  • “Insert blog view name” click the question mark and act accordingly
  • “Activate multipage article smart titles” should be set to no unless your articles have multiple pages.
  • Back up top, if you are having multiple languages on your website then you will need to click on the “languages tab” and read the info question marks.

Advanced Tab

  • Activate Url Cache should be set to yes and will help with page load times
  • Leave the cache size where it is
  • Now onto the more advanced features of SH404SEF. This is how your urls will be written. If you are using Linux and you did the basic out of the box joomla seo setup, then you should choose the drop down labeled “with .htaccess (mod_rewrite)
  • If you are on a windows platform then you will need to choose one of the other two. Test either one out until it works right. I can’t say for sure unless I know exactly what type of configuration your host has for the IIS env.
  • Next choose yes for the “301 redirects from non-sef to set URL” this option is pretty much a safeguard against duplicate content and it makes sure your URLs are all re-written
  • Choose yes for “301 redirect from JOOMLA SEF to sh404SEF” Same explanation as the last point except this will convert the ‘OUT OF THE BOX JOOMLA SEF URLs” to SH404SEF URLs. Did i confuse you?
  • Choose yes for “301 redirect www/non-www”. This is very important. Go to google and type and look at your sites URL’s. If they are all “” then you are good to go. If they are “” then choose no. If you get a little bit of both then you need to create a “google web master tools account” and follow the instructions here to change your “preferred domain”.
  • Choose yes for “record duplicated URL” this will be good for identifying what URL’s are being duplicated.
  • Choose yes for “log 404 errors”
  • The rest of these options are optional and you should read the info question marks.

Skip to the Meta/SEO Tab

  • “Activate Meta management” set this to yes.
  • Remove Joomla Generator tag set this to yes
  • Use table-less output set this to yes
  • Insert h1 tags set this to yes. Unless you have already setup your template to have only 1 “h1” tag on all of your Joomla pages.
  • Change multiple h1 in h2 should be set to yes. Having one h1 tag on each of your pages is a best practice. Multiple H1s is kinda like spamming.
  • Insert title in Read more should be set to yes. This will add keywords to the “read more” link when you hover your mouse over it. This is good for seo and keyword density on your page.
  • Insert outbound links symbol should be set to no unless you want symbols on your internla pages that show links going outbound. This is normally used if multiple novice users are adding contnet to your website, you can in turn click through their articles and remove links that go to other websites or add “no follow” tags to the links.
  • Outbound links color should be set depending on your template color. Black should go on white and vice versa.
  • Insert before page title – we do not use this, you want each of your page titles to be unique and different.
  • append to page title is where you can do your localization or branding of each page title. For instance i might append “houston,tx” to the end of each page title for SEO Purposes. Or a brand name / tagline can be added.

404 Page tab

Create a 404 page and go back to the main tab and choose the drop downlabeled “default 404 page”

Our next post will cover the rest of configuring your Joomla website.

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