Since working with quite a few online publishers and bloggers locally, I thought it would be fun to have a monthly get together to exchange tips and ideas. Before planning the event, I asked a friend of mine, Sahnya Shulterbrant, if she would be willing to cohost the event with me. I met Sahnya when she called needing some updates and modifications to her Joomla based site. As we have a lot of similar interests, that project led to a friendship. She and her husband, Gene, publish TexasontheGo.com which provide information and opportunities for doing business in Texas. They were recently recognized by the City of Austin for their efforts.
Besides Sahnya and Gene, Matt Russell with MTR Financial and Ellen Delap, a professional organizer, also attended. Both Matt and Ellen have written articles for me for the Kingwood Connection so I was familiar with their writing. I knew that Matt had a blog, but I didn’t know that Ellen had added one to her site as well until today.
Blogging Platforms and SEO
It was interesting that we had people using each of the three main blogging platforms. Sahnya and Gene use Joomla, Matt is on Blogger/Blogspot, and Ellen uses WordPress. I have sites on both Joomla and WordPress.
One of the things we touched on is SEO optimization for blogs and/or database driven sites. There is a widespread belief that if you use a content management system (CMS) or blogging platform that you don’t have as much control over SEO elements and are at a disadvantage. This is just not the case. Think about what those key SEO elements are: a unique page title, a title meta tag, a meta description, and meta keywords. There is no reason that a database driven web site can’t populate that data, it is just that most of the time a stock install doesn’t.
The easy answer to this issue is to make sure that your platform is set up to allow you to enter that information. Most people are familiar with the All-in-One SEO pack for WordPress that allows you to specify the title, description and keywords on a page or post basis. It is one of my stock plugins that I install on every single WordPress site I develop.
Not as many people are familiar with how to do the same for Joomla. I’m going to tell you my secret for developing search engine friendly Joomla sites . . . SEF Patch from Joomla-at-Work.com.
This component is even better than the All-in-One SEO pack for WordPress. Not only does it allow you to set the article title, description and keywords, but it also let’s you set the author meta tag and the robots index/follow setting for the page (you can do this with WordPress as well, but it’s a separate plugin.) It also adds the option in the site global configuration for the default description and keywords.
So far, all this is pretty similar to the WordPress plugin, but here is where it starts to pull away. If you have used a Joomla site before, you know that everything hinges around the menus. What is displayed is determined by the menu item’s settings. The SEF Patch ads the ability to set the meta information for any menu item, excluding an individual article link. So if you link to a category page, normally this would have the default meta information (WordPress does this as well,) but this component allows you to specify unique meta information including the page title. This has a huge impact on your site’s search engine rankings.
Trust me on this. There is quite a bit of competition for my Kingwood site, but if someone submits an article or press release to my site as well as the two other online community sites and newspaper sites, my site will rank #1 in Google for searches related to that article 75% of the time. Most of the time with a double listing. It just takes a site that is properly configured and some basic SEO tactics.
How much is this component? It is ridiculously inexpensive. There is even a free version, although you have to hack the core files to install it. The paid version is an actual component that you install through the standard Joomla installer. It is only € 14, so around $20 to $21 depending on what the U.S. dollar is doing. Compare that to what you would spend on a pay per click campaign if you can’t get your sites to rank organically.
We are going to hold the Bloggers’ Breakfast the first Wednesday of each month. So if you are in the Kingwood area, check the Facebook page for the next date. If you’re in the Greater Houston area, we would love for you to come. I promise we don’t bite. 🙂
If you don’t have a blog yet and aren’t sure where to start, contact me to start your blogging journey.