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Search Engine Friendly

One of the most critical initial steps is to ensure SEF URL's (Search Engine Friendly Uniform Resouce Locator.  AKA... website page address) are implemented for your website. If it is performed at a later stage then search engines could have already indexed your website pages with the unfriendly link type. Page links should be in the more human readable, clean looking with a friendly type of format called SEF.  

Without SEF

Using SEF

Below are instructions to implement SEF for a Joomla website


Ensure the .htaccess  file in the website directory (folder) is configured. Part of the script code inside this file instructs the web server on using SEF and is a part of the Joomla! installation procedure. The script code inside the file does not need to be modified unless there are incompatibilities with the web hosting environment, but this should not occur if your web hosting service has declared they are Joomla! compatible. Only the name of the file should be changed.

 Step 1.   Log into your cPanel web hosting control panel, or whatever system is being used, and select the  File Manager  to display all the files in your website directory (folder).cPanel File Manager Menu


Step 2.   Locate the   htaccess.txt   file that will be in the root directory (folder) of your Joomla! website. This is for Linux type web servers. For IIS web servers it is the web.config.txt

htaccess file name


Step 3.   Click on the file name and rename it to    .htaccess    Note the new name has a period mark  (full stop)  at the beginning and the  .txt  on the end has been removed. For IIS web servers it is the  web.config.txt  to  web.config

htaccess file renamed


The following describes the code script inside the file that instructs the web server for SEF. You should not need to modify anything. The  .htaccess  file is also used for other reasons such as security and modifying the behaviour of the web server. This is a critical system file and should not be modified by somebody who is not competent in this area of expertise.

Inside the file the script code turns the rewrite engine on so that URL rewrite rules can be performed. The only change may possibly be the  # RewriteBase /     if your Joomla! site is not in the root directory of the domain but in a sub-directory  (sub folder) .  e.g.  If not  mywebsite.com   but   mywebsite.com/joomla   then the line of script should be   RewriteBase /joomla    Note that the  #  commenting symbol has been removed and the sub-directory name has been added.  A sub-directory should not really have been used when installing Joomla to a website (unless for a good reason) because it makes all the URL's include that subdirectory name.

htaccess mod rewrite on script code


Looking at the script below you can see the ## Begin - Joomla! core SEF Section.
This script is automatically written by Joomla! when you turn SEF on.
See below instructions on turning SEF on.

htaccess SEF script code


 Step 4.   From the Joomla! main menu open the Global Configuration section.

Joomla Global Configuration Menu


Step 5.   Select the "Site"  tab to display the  "SEO Settings". Turn  "Search Engine Friendly URLs"   to YES.  Turn "Use URL Rewriting"  to  YES. Then "Save"  the settings.

B seo settings


Step 6.   From the Joomla! main menu select the  "Extensions" menu and then the "Plugins" menu item.

Joomla plugins menu


Step 7.   Search for the  SEF  plugin.  Ensure it has been turned on with the status showing as a green tick. Then click on the SEF plugin to edit it in the next step.

SEF plugin for Joomla


Step 8.   Enter your  full "Site Domain"  name in the text box and "Save".

joomla system SEF


Step 9.   Create some content for your website and test that the SEF URLs are working as expected.

Search engines will now index your website pages with the friendly versions. Never turn off SEF as this will break your website. As a side note, ensure you plan how you will create content such as menus, categories and articles because this will be how your SEF URLs will be indexed by search engines such as Google. If you modify the content structure the URLs will also change and any indexed URLs will be broken. Your site visitors will see a "404 page not found" error if they have been searching on-line with search engines such as Google. If it is essential to modify the structure then you will need to ensure you submit a modified sitemap to Google as soon as possible, but this will not come into effect immediately.



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